After teachers' recruitment through panchayats, the State Government has now embarked on a novel mission to check crime at the grassroots- level by involving the elected representatives of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
All the PRIs have been asked to prepare a list of criminals operating in their respective areas and the nature of crime they were committing to provide timely inputs to the police. “They have been vested with enormous responsibilities in the Panchayati Raj Act and it is time they started shouldering them,” says the letter from the Home Department to all the district magistrates.
The PRI representatives have also been asked to play a pro-active role and try to solve smaller disputes at their own level.
“There are many petty cases which unnecessarily drag for years at the police stations. Once the PRI representatives start cooperating, it will also take the load off the already burdened police, which will be able to concentrate on serious offences,” says the letter.
The letter says that the representatives would keep a close watch not only on absconders in their areas, but also on suspected Naxal activists and terrorists.
“They will inform the local police station officers in-charge or the block development officers, who will pass on the information to the superintendents of police and the district magistrates. The two senior officers will subsequently inform the headquarters,” the letter says.
The Home Department has also warned of punitive action against those public representatives, who would not cooperate with the government machinery in containing crime and Naxal activities.
Referring to the provisions made in the Indian Penal Code, the letter says, ‘the offenders may be imprisoned for up to six months or penalised a fine of Rs 1,000 for not complying with the order.’