Villages to move court against Cabinet’s nod to expansion of ULBs
“Over two years remain for our (panchayati raj bodies) current tenure to get over while around three years for that of Haridwar’s...if the government goes ahead with issuing notification (for expansion), we will move the court to save our existence as well as that of the villages,” Ghanshyam Pal, president of the Raipur block village heads’ association, told HT.dehradun Updated: Sep 10, 2017 20:38 IST
DEHRADUN: The representatives of villages that will be brought under 35 urban local bodies (ULBs), plan to move the court against the government’s decision to merge their villages with the ULBs.
In April, the BJP government had announced its plan to include several peri-urban areas into the ULB limits, sparking off angry protests from local representatives including those from the ruling party. But it went ahead and gave the nod at the Cabinet meeting on September 6.
Several rural body leaders oppose the move, primarily because the five-year tenure of panchayati raj institutions will end only in 2019. Over 353 villages, which will be merged completely into the ULBs, and 44 others to be merged partially, come under the purview of the Cabinet’s decision.
“Over two years remain for our (panchayati raj bodies) current tenure to get over while around three years for that of Haridwar’s...if the government goes ahead with issuing notification (for expansion), we will move the court to save our existence as well as that of the villages,” Ghanshyam Pal, president of the Raipur block village heads’ association, told HT.
The last panchayat election was held in 2014, barring Haridwar district where it happened the next year.
“Not only is our tenure far from over, but also our villages will face many difficulties in executing civic works once we’re made a part of the municipal corporation, which itself is struggling to take care of existing areas. We have no other option than knocking the doors of the court for justice,” says Abhishek Pant, head of Danda Lakhond village on Dehradun’s outskirts. The government’s move will “endanger the existence” of panchayati raj bodies, he adds.
In Dehradun alone, representatives of 60 villages proposed to be included in the Dehradun Municipal Corporation had formed a ‘save village committee’ in June and protested for days against the merger.
Urban development minister Madan Kaushik says the government is open to addressing the concerns of the panchayat body representatives. “Our decision was aimed at providing better services to peri-urban areas…we will issue notification for the expansion process, but I assure we will not go ahead with the plan without hearing their objections.”
Kaushik adds the Cabinet gave a green signal to expansion of those areas for which proposals were received by the urban development department through the urban local bodies and the district administrations concerned.