By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 20: With the five-year terms of some of the gaon panhayats (GPs), anchalaik panchayats (APs) and zila parishads (ZPCs) having expired and a number of others going to expire by March-April and May, all eyes are on Assam State Election Commissioner (SEC) HN Bora for the announcement of panchayat poll dates.
The situation in the State has come to such a pass that the State Panchayat and Rural Development (P&RD) Department has already issued a notification asking the administrative officers to take charge of the GPs, APs and ZPCs whose terms have already been expired. GP, AP and ZPC get dissolved automatically as and when their five-year terms expire, paving the way for the administrative officers to take charge. For the GPs the administrative officers are their respective BDOs, for the APs the administrative officers are their respective district ADCs or Circle Officers and for the ZPCs the administrative officers are their respective DCs or Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). In all, Assam has 21 ZPCs, 185 APs and 2,202 GPs. Districts enjoying autonomy under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitutions are not under the Panchayati Raj system.
Meanwhile, a section of deputy commissioners in the State has made it clear that since a large of number of officials in the State have been engaged in NRC update, holding panchayat poll in the State now will be a tough job.
However, holding the panchayat poll in time is a constitutiol obligation. State Chief Election Commissioner HN Bora is supposed to hold a meeting with Dispur on all issues – panchayat poll vis-à-vis NRC update – this week to sort them out.
Meanwhile, putting all speculations on pachayat poll in the State to rest on Monday, the SEC said: “The panchayat poll will be held in April-May this year after the Rongali Bihu. The poll will be held in three phases. The NRC update work in the State has been impeding preparations for panchayat poll.” Panchayat polls are due in Assam and Rs 145 crore has been sanctioned for it by the State government. The last panchayat elections in the State were held in December 2013.