People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 10, 2007
Decentralisation Carried Further
ADCs , Panchayats Entrusted With More Powers
IN an ongoing drive for development and decentralisation of power, the Left Front government has decided to entrust the charge of seven state government departments related to human and natural resources to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC) and the three-tier panchayats which is vital to the development of the rural and ADC areas of Tripura. The decision was taken on May 22, 2007 in a meeting of the state cabinet. The state government has made a well-planned and prolonged endeavour to make the ADCs and the panchayats, a dynamo of development and democracy at the grassroots level in the state.
Stating the cabinet decision, chief minister Manik Sarkar said that his government aimed at implementing the decision to hand over the primary and the social education departments to the village panchayats and the departments of forest, horticulture, animal resources, fisheries and water resources to the ADCs by the end of next month. The fund management as well as the deployment of manpower, student admission, mid-day-meal and purchases shall be entirely looked after by the panchayats and the ADC respectively, while appointment of employees shall continue to be in the hands of education department, the chief minister clarified. So far as transfer of employees is concerned, the panchayats shall forward proposal to the state government.
The Left Front government has long been following a well-prepared roadmap towards devolution of departmental duties to the ADCs and the panchayats that are already participating in the several sectors of primary education including mid-day-meal scheme. Now the panchayat is going to directly handle the primary education department, stepping up democratic decentralisation as well as development through increased coordination.
Chief minister Manik Sarkar stated that the cabinet decision was a sequel to the state government’s long experience in this regard, and that still more powers and responsibilities shall gradually be vested in the village panchayats. Replying to questions, he also referred to the formation of 40 blocks and creation of a separate set up at district magistrate and sub-division magistrate levels with a view to paving the way for administrative decentralisation as well as development. Additional block development officers (ABDO) shall be appointed at each block and steps have been taken to streamline the administration by need based reshufflement as well as recruitment of employees, Manik Sarkar stated.
Meanwhile, as part of almost a daily phenomenon of the state’s extremist youth returning to the mainstream of life through laying down of arms these days, seven members of the outlawed extremist organisations NLFT(BM) and ATTF surrendered to the security forces laying down 700 grams of high power explosive with two detonators, a grenade, a wireless set and total of 47 rounds of live bullets for various sophisticated fire arms. Surrenders to the BSF of Ambassa, Dhalai district and to Khowai police station, West Tripura district, took the latest tally of such surrenders this year to 75, in the perspective of a total of 91 militants having returned to the mainstream last year. According to them, due to extreme sufferings and frustration, aggravated by relentless crackdown of the para-military and the people, in sharp contrast to the surge of democracy and development going on in the state, a huge member of misguided militants are at present returning to the mainstream from their hideouts at the slightest possible opportunity, although the handful of extremist leaders are still safely and sumptuously sheltered in the neighbouring Bangladesh where arms training had first been imparted to the misguided militants
Incidentally, with the state assembly polls due in February next, a last-gasp effort by the extremists leadership for a resurge of the insurgency aimed at destabilising the pro-people Left Front government cannot be ruled out. The politically seasoned people of Tripura are, however, armed with experience to foil any such efforts. (INN)