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Haldwani villagers oppose delimitation, fear livelihood loss

Villagers in Haldwani do not want their areas included in the Municipal Corporation limits as that would mean loss of jobs that they get under the national job guarantee scheme

dehradun Updated: Mar 21, 2018 21:25 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times, Haldwani
Uttarakhand News
The national job guarantee scheme is meant for rural areas and the villages.(File/AFP)

Villagers in Haldwani do not want their areas included in the Municipal Corporation limits as that would mean loss of jobs that they get under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The scheme is meant for rural areas and the villages. It is not applicable in urban body limits.

This came to fore while officials were going through applications submitted by the locals objecting to the inclusion of villages in municipal limits.

Incidentally, called for a hearing, the villagers who had raised the objections denied being labourers or beneficiaries under the MGNREGS and said that they had only signed the applications provided to them by the gram pradhans and the Block Pramukh.

Senior officials, including Nainital chief development officer Prakash Chand and Haldwani sub Divisional Magistrate AP Vajpayee told the media that the village in Haripur from where most objections were raised, had no MGNREGS job card holder. The scheme was not in operation there. They, however, said that no case of would be filed against the villagers and their objections would be analysed.

Earlier this month, the Uttarakhand High Court had quashed the extension of municipal corporation area and the inclusion of new villages in the civic body limits. The court had directed the government to hear objections raised by the people living in the said villages.

The process started in Haldwani on Wednesday with the people of Harinagar presenting 64 objections.

Congress leader and Haldwani Block Pramukh Bhola Bhatt tied to obstruct the proceedings by barging into the hall of the cooperative building where the hearing was being held. Congress activists and villagers raised slogans against inclusion in the municipal corporation and said that they were happy living in the panchayats.

Bhola Bhatta said the government wants to include 23 gram panchayats out of 83 in Haldwani municipal corporation area. The move would not lead to any benefits for the said 23 villages. “People would have to dependent on safai karmcharis for cleanliness while at present the gram sabhas have an efficient system of waste management,” he said. Most farmers would sell their agricultural land after getting the nature of land converted, he said.

Manisha Tiwari, who hails from Harinagar, said that she did not have a job card under the MGNREGS as stated in her objection and she had merely signed the representation without reading. She, however, said that their village would become as filthy as the other areas under the municipal corporation if it was included in the local body. She also said that at present they were not paying any taxes but would have to pay house tax, water and sewer related tax if the villages were included in municipal corporation.

Chief development officer Prakash Chandra said that the people who had raised objections were called one by one and their grievances analysed. “The process is being carried out as per the directives of the high court,” he said.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 21:25 IST