Agartala, June 2: The Tripura government has decided to hold by-election to fill up a large number of panchayat and village committee seats, which fell vacant either due to resignation or death of the members, in July next. Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Debbarma, who also holds the portfolio of Rural Development, told reporters on Saturday.
Tripura has 591 village panchayats with a total of 6,111 seats. It also has 5,897 village committees with 4,597 seats. Village committees are part of panchayats in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) area.
Over 2,000 seats in the panchayats and almost a similar number in the village committees fell vacant due to large scale resignation of the members after the formation of the BJP-IPFT coalition government, defeating the Left Front.
This has created a large vacuum in the rural areas and all kind of development works came to a standstill, as for every expenditures at the panchayat level the signature of the pradhan and the panchayat secretary is a must. While the pradhan is an elected member, the secretary is a government employee.
The State government has already promulgated an ordinance empowering the Block Development Officers (BDO) to spend the money jointly with the secretary in the absence of a pradhan. The ordinance was promulgated to continue the essential works in the villages.
Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Debbarma said due to the ordinance all development works, including the employment generation schemes, have been resumed in the villages. “But the government felt that it is not a healthy arrangement and has decided to hold the by-election in the vacant seats to handover the panchayat works to the elected representatives,” Debbarma said.