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Councils seek Jagat help

Imphal, Jan. 24: Frustrated with the state government’s “failure” in devolving power to the six autonomous councils in Manipur’s hills, the Autonomous District Council Coordination Committee today sought help from governor Gurbachan Jagat.

The committee also started a campaign among political leaders. A six-member delegation submitted a memorandum to the governor highlighting the “failure” of the Okram Ibobi Singh government in devolving power to the nearly three-year-old councils.

The committee is demanding separate budgets for the district councils and devolution of powers in respect of centrally sponsored schemes in the hill areas and in accordance with the District Councils (Third Amendment) Act, 2008.

The memorandum, while urging Jagat to send a report to the President about the government’s failure, asked him to direct the state government to give the required financial and administrative powers to the district councils.

“The governor assured us that he would look into the grievances of the district councils and do the needful. We have faith in the governor and we will wait for his actions,” Ngalangzar Malue, convener of the coordination committee, said.

The meeting with the governor came after a sit-in at the District Council Bhavan here on January 17 elicited no response from the government.

The delegation later met veteran Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Rishang Keishing here and sought his help. It has sought appointments with members of the Hill Areas Committee of state Assembly who are the MLAs from the five hill districts.

“We need to reach an understanding with the hill MLAs on the need to devolve power to the district councils. We are not asking anything illegal. We are asking for something that has been given to us by the district council act. Our demand is justified,” Malue said.