Civil Bodies and Community Groups Oppose Village Council Structure in Assam

Several factions of Karbi Students Association, Karbi Employee’s Association, Karbi Reawakening Organization and Karbi Unemployed Youth Association have opposed the government move to introduce a Village Council in both hills districts of Assam.

The organizations claim that the government move is actually aimed at establishing a Panchayati Raj system in the autonomous districts which will be disadvantageous for an autonomous district covered by 6th Schedule of the constitution.

Representatives of the four organizations held a meeting at the conference hall of Jirsong Asong (NGO) complex in Diphu to discuss the implication of the village council in the autonomous area of Assam.

Some speakers spoke on the need for modification of the draft bill of the village council and have expressed annoyance at the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council authority’s hastened clandestine deal with the state government. This secret approach did not take into confidence all the stakeholders. The house decided to send a fact-finding team to the KAAC to learn the authentic gamut of the village council.

However during the discussion it was not understandable in what comportment the village council may hamper the development and growth of the autonomous district, as the entire concept of the village council is fundamentally aimed at decentralization of financial and administrative power to the grass roots level.

Hill Districts Developmentally Backward

The speakers refrained from mentioning that, in both hill autonomous districts of Assam where even after 65 years of autonomous council’s management of developmental aspects, the entire region has remained practically a backward zone plagued by unparalleled corruption and almost no governance.

It is still complicated to understand why the KAAC and the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council even after gaining overkill amount of funds from the central government especially after 1995 failed to utilize the subsidized amounts for basic development.

Experimentation of the village council in both districts may not be detrimental altogether, as for the common people of both the hill autonomous district has probably nothing to lose where chiefly in absence of any economic growth and lam-governance insurgency and social disorder has become the order of the day.

Sushanta Roy is a journalist in Assam, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora of Assam, and the things that affect them.