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Telangana weighs alternative for outgoing sarpanches

Telangana weighs alternative for outgoing sarpanches
Highlights

The team of senior officials led by Chief Secretary S K Joshi made it very clear that there is no alternative except appointing person incharges in...

Hyderabad: The team of senior officials led by Chief Secretary S K Joshi made it very clear that there is no alternative except appointing person in-charges in place of village sarpanches whose term is coming to an end.

The team briefed Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao about the process of replacement of outgoing sarpanches and informed him that the outgoing sarpanches, in accordance with the provisions of the law, cannot be appointed as person in-charges, and even the courts may not agree to this.

The officers concerned have undertaken an exercise for appointing person in-charges in place of sarpanches whose term will be over on August 1. There are demands that the outgoing sarpanches should be appointed as person in-charges. In this context, the Chief Minister held a review meeting in Pragathi Bhavan on Tuesday afternoon.

The team included Chief Secretary SK Joshi, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister S Narsing Rao, Panchayat Raj Principal Secretary Vikas Raj, Municipal Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar, Panchayat Raj Commissioner Neetu Prasad, Mission Bhagiratha Chairman Vemula Prashanth Reddy and others.

The officers briefed the Chief Minister about the exercise being done regarding the appointment of person in-charges. The officers also briefed the Chief Minister about the reasons for appointing officers as the person in-charges in accordance with the law. With new Panchayat Raj Act coming into existence, 4,383 new panchayats have been formed.

As per the promise made to the Scheduled Tribes (STs), Girijan Tandas and Adivasi Gudems have been converted into panchayats. In 1,500 village panchayats only STs will become sarpanches. The Act will come into force immediately after the term of present gram panchayats comes to an end. Accordingly, from August 2, new gram panchayats will come into being. For a long time, the STs have been requesting that they shall be made sarpanches so that they would be able to govern their villages.

If the present sarpanches continue after their term is over as person in-charges, the village panchayats which are allotted for STs will not come into existence. This means there will not be any benefit to any Schedule Tribes. The topography of the present village panchayats has been totally changed. There are 300 villages which have been converted either as municipalities or merged into one of the existing municipalities. Under any circumstances, it is not possible to make the outgoing sarpanches as person in-charges for the villages which either have become municipalities or merged into municipalities.

Some of the hamlets have also become separate village panchayats. All these will henceforth be village panchayats with effect from August 2. The State government decided that along with tandas and gudems, new gram panchayats would come into existence and new governance would begin in villages. With this objective, it preferred elections ahead of schedule to the Panchayat Raj institutions. However, due to court cases, it has not become possible to conduct elections. Before the court pronounces its judgment, it is the responsibility of the government to bring into effect the new panchayats as per the Act.

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