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Lapang to head panel

Move to empower, institutionalize traditional institutions

SHILLONG: The State government has constituted a committee to submit recommendations to empower and institutionalize the traditional institutions in the aftermath of the HC ruling.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma here on Wednesday with all the representatives and leaders of the villages, ‘durbars’ and various ‘himas’ and ‘elakas, whose roles and functions were questioned by the High Court’s ruling in December last year.
The committee, to be headed by Chief Adviser to the government and former chief minister DD Lapang, has been directed to ensure that the powers and functions do not get diluted during this exercise to institutionalize the traditional institutions.
The committee has been given three months time to submit its recommendation to the State government.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma later told newsmen that there was a consensus among those who attended the meeting which reflected the common objective on the need to institutionalize these bodies.
“Let us constitute a small committee, with representatives from all political parties, for empowering and institutionalizing the traditional bodies,” he said, after giving a patient hearing to all who aired their opinions.
The Chief Minister informed that the committee would comprise of members drawn from all political parties, ADCs, traditional institutions and civil societies.
“We have suggested that all of them to propose the names of their representatives to the political affairs department within 48 hours to ensure that the formation of the committee can be notified at earliest,” Sangma said.  Earlier, during the meeting the stakeholders including the political parties and public representatives impressed upon the State Government to approve the Khasi Autonomous District (Village Administration) Bill, 2014 at the earliest in order to end current stalemate in view of the HC ruling.
“The bill passed by the Council has been lying with the State Government for the past ten months. There is no reason for any delay to approve the Bill since the Council has formulated the Bill as per provisions mandated in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution,” KHADC CEM Adelbert Nongrum said.
Echoing a similar view, the leader of Opposition Process T Sawkmie also stressed on early approval of the said Bill.
Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong president Dr Werlok Kharshiing said that the need of the hour was to formulate a legislation to empower the traditional institutions.
On the otherhand, UDP working president Bindo Mathew Lanong said that the High Court ruling was a big setback to the State Government since the Government has been taking the assistance of the Dorbar Shnong on many issues including implementation of various developmental programmes.
He urged the State Government not to formulate laws to empower and define powers of the Rangbah Shnong
“As per Para 3 (1) (g) of the Sixth Schedule, the work headmen is already mentioned. Therefore, I am of the view that the power to formulate the legislation to empower the Rangbah Shnong should be left to the respective ADCs,” he said.
According to the UDP working president, the State Government can step in to formulate the legislation in extra ordinary circumstances by taking advantage to the Para 12 (a) of the Sixth Schedule.

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