No room for drunk revellers in Himachal’s welfare schemes, says gram sabha resolution - Hindustan Times
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No room for drunk revellers in Himachal’s welfare schemes, says gram sabha resolution

By, Shimla
Apr 04, 2023 09:25 AM IST

A resolution suggesting that anyone found creating a ruckus after consuming alcohol or failing to send their children to a government school will lose their welfare scheme benefits during a gram sabha meeting in Himachal’s Badgaon

After struggling with the longstanding problem of dissuading eligible persons from registering in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), state panchayats have turned to a novel idea to lower the burden — striking off names of alcoholics from the list.

Himachal panchayats have turned to a novel idea to lower the burden on welfare scheme — striking off names of alcoholics from the list. (HT File)
Himachal panchayats have turned to a novel idea to lower the burden on welfare scheme — striking off names of alcoholics from the list. (HT File)

A resolution in regards to the same was passed during a gram sabha meeting at the Badgaon panchayat of the Jhandutta sub-division in Bilaspur district, suggesting that any eligible person selected in two are found creating a ruckus after consuming alcohol or fail to send their children to a government school, their name will be struck off from IRDP/BPL sans notice.

The panchayat also decided to make wages earned under MNREGA mandatory for families looking to register under BPL. They excluded around 21 BPL families who were ineligible for the benefits, adding 22 others.

The meeting was held under the chairpersonship of panchayat pradhan Nikku Ram, who also enumerated works that were done during his tenure in 2022-23. Around 33 lakh was spent under MNREGA, 16 lakh under the Swachh Bharat Mission and 17 lakh under the 15th finance commission.

Cake-cutting stares at ban in Kinnaur

In another major decision, the panchayat in the tribal district of Kinnaur has completely banned the villagers from adopting modern customs for celebrations of birthdays, weddings and others. It has prohibited sehrabandi for the bridegroom, while also disallowing brides from getting mehendi (henna) on their hands during the wedding ceremonies.

Speaking of the same, vice-president of the Sumra panchayat — which is known for its distinctive culture — Chhering, said “For long, people in the region had been raising their voices against the youth mixing modernity with tradition. So we decided to seek people’s opinion of the panchayat and all agreed in a voice vote to stop all the modern customs during traditional marriages like cutting cake sehrabandi and putting mehndi on the hands.”

The Kinnauri culture, an assimilation of various tribal heritage, has lent the people of the region their own distinct identity. The population wear distinctive green caps with ornately woven shawls and speak a Tibetan-Burman dialect, Kinnauri, that makes them distinct from the rest of the Pahadi tribes.

Historically, Kinnaur, akin to Spiti, belonged to the ancient Zhang Zhung kingdom. Bon, an ancient tribal religion, was practised in this kingdom.

“We have our own culture and there is a need to protect it,” said Chherring, before expressing hope that other panchayats follow suit. “Pradhans of many other panchayats in Hangrang valley have called me. They would also pass a simialr resolution in the gram sabha,” he added.

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