‘Dissolve Hill Tribes Council’

SILCHAR, Dec 24: Cachar Hill People Federation (Returnees) and All Assam Tribal Sangha have in separate memorandum to the Chief Minister of Assam reiterated dissolution of the Barak Valley Hill Tribes Development Council which was set up to resolve the various grievances of the hill tribes. But, the memorandum pointed out that the Council has come to be in the limelight not for its constructive activities but for financial irregularities and nepotism since 2000.
The memorandum has documented these anomalies and irregularities for critical examination and scrutiny in order to cause dissolution of the Council headed by Ngursunthang and its reconstitution with more powers, functions and financial support from the State. Corruption, it noted, has mounted to such an extent in the Council that several organizations have exposed it in their own way in recent times. The allegation centres round misuse and misappropriation of development funds earmarked for the socio-economic uplift of the hill tribes. This calls for thorough investigation into the affairs and functioning of the Council.
The memorandum of the Sangha and the Federation have admitted the good gesture of Cachar Hill People’s Federation in reaching peace settlement with the Government of Assam. The Federation however noted with pain that none of the CHPF returnees and the inhabitants of jhumland permission areas are represented in the Council and that no work has been done for their welfare. They have insisted on more representation to the returnees and the Barak Valley Headmen’s Association in the reconstituted Council.
Though the Council at times is embroiled in controversies, it remains the best executive body for the development and welfare of Hill Tribes in Barak Valley. Both the federation and the Sangha have forcefully pleaded for upgrading the Council by giving it autonomous status through enactment of suitable legislation in the State Assembly. In the absence of autonomy, it has come in the way of planning, formulating and implementing policies and programme related to the socio-economic, educational and cultural advancement of the hill tribes of Barak Valley. Both the organizations submitted their memorandum to L Phangchu, IAS, Commissioner and Secretary of WPT and BC Department, Government of Assam, during his recent visit to Lakhipur in Cachar. (SentinelAssam)

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