Shillong, January 6: The Meghalaya cabinet today for the fourth time extended the term of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC). The term of the Garo Council has been extended for another six months and will expire on August 18 this year.
The State Government rescheduled the polls by extending its tenure thrice hoping for an amendment of the Constitution. GHADC polls were scheduled to be held earlier last year.
According to Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma the central government is in the process of bringing an amendment during the next budget session of the Parliament.
“The amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution is at an advanced stage and it is ready to be placed during the budget session,” District Council Minister, HDR Lyngdoh told reporters after the cabinet meeting today.
The strength of the GHADC is 29. It was slated to rise to 40. This increase in seats is linked to the signing of the peace agreement with the Achik tiol Volunteer Council (ANVC).
Changes incorporated in the GHADC would also be applied to the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in Khasi and Jaintia Hills.
Meanwhile, Dr Sangma said that the government will engage with the Centre to see that the process of amending the Sixth Schedule to increase the number of seats in the GHADC is done at the earliest possible time.
Dr Sangma also said that the government would also lobby with the political parties to see that the amendment goes through.
Militancy: Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma said that the aim of the state government is to ensure that militants joining the mainstream have a sustaible livelihood. “The government will provide them with skills and provide support for sustaible development,” Dr Sangma said.
According to Dr Sangma, the State government was giving an opportunity to militants to come over ground by taking advantage of the government’s offer, adding “Beyond this there is no agenda to talk to them.”
“We have told the Centre that this is the strategy of the State government,” the Chief Minister said. He also informed that since the HNLC is a banned outfit, the State government and the Centre need to jointly decide the pros and cons of the Khasi outfit’s offer.