Call to create 460 panchayats in Himachal

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The Department for Panchayati Raj has received requests for the creation of 460 new gram panchayats even as the government is still contemplating on the criterion to be fixed for undertaking the task.

The issue was discussed threadbare at the last Cabinet meeting and is likely to be finalised in the next meeting scheduled for February 25. Sources said the government was likely to adopt the population criterion rather than geographical distance for creating new panchayats.

There are 3,226 panchayats in the state. The last time the reorganisation of gram panchayats was done way back in 2005. The government has received 460 representations for the creation of new panchayats. The process has now been initiated as the panchayati raj elections are due later this year.

The government is likely to depend on the population criterion as the absence of the exact data regarding distance is a problem. Moreover, it is also not certain whether to take into account distance on foot, by road or aerial distance.

There are requests for reorganisation of panchayats in some cases where it is spread across two Assembly segments or even two different blocks. As such, people are keen that the panchayat is reorganised and it falls in one constituency or a block. They cite administrative problems in getting their work done in such cases.

However, the process of reorganisation of panchayats will be undertaken only after the Panchayati Raj Department will take a call on their creation. This will be based on the number of households population and whether there is enough justification for creation of a new panchayat.

Sources said it was unlikely that too many panchayats would be created. It was only once the Cabinet takes the final call on the criterion to be adopted for creating new panchayats that the Deputy Commissioners will invite objection and suggestions from the public.

As such the panchayati raj elections will take place on the basis of reorganisation, which is an exhaustive process.

Source : The Tribune