Darjeeling pradhans resign over statehood

DARJEELING, May 29: To facilitate the Gorkhaland movement, panchayat pradhans and upa-pradhans of all the three Darjeeling hill sub-divisions submitted their resignation before the district authority today. “We are resigning from our respective posts as the panchayat has become an obstacle for attaining statehood,” said Mr Anjum Chauhan, pradhan of Pokhriabong gram panchayat.Elections to the 112 gram panchayats under the DGHC governed areas has been withheld since 2005 after the DGHC administrator Mr Subash Ghisingh raised the issue of dissolving the DGHC following which all the councilors had resigned. “We have been serving our posts voluntarily without honorarium. There was no accountability of funds allotted to gram panchayats during Mr Ghisingh’s tenure,” Mr Chauhan alleged.During the past one year though, the state government was implementing the 100-day employment scheme under the NREGS in these areas. “We were appointed president for the NREGS schemes but without any real power. The government managed the funds and the salaries of the workers,” said Mrs Tshering Bhutia, pradhan of Rangbull gram panchayat. Among the 112 gram panchayats, post bearers of 102 affiliated to the GJMM resigned today while the remaining 10 affiliated to the CPRM were absent. Altogether 63 gram panchayats from Mirik, Kurseong, Bijanbari, Sukhia and Takda blocks submitted their resignation before the ADM, Mrs Zimba in Darjeeling today. Remaining 39 gram panchayats resigned before Kalimpong SDO Mr Sherpa. (The Statesman)

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