Thousands of villages going headless
Lack of gaon burahs hampering NRC update and official schemes in rural areas
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 19: Astounding as it may sound, 10,492 revenue villages in Assam do not have a gaon burah (village headman) at present.
Official sources said not a single village in eight districts - Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi, Dhubri, Goalpara, Kokrajhar and Chirang - has a headman.
The State cabinet had a few months back taken a decision to fill the vacant posts, but the appointment process is yet to be set into motion.
The absence of a headman, an important office in local governce, has had its baneful effect in the villages. The village headmen, appointed by the government at a fixed remuneration, play a vital role in implementation of government schemes, especially during identification of beneficiaries.
It is the village headman who identifies if a person hails from the village or not.
In case of any birth or death at the village, the gaon burah has to forward the applications for the official birth and death certificates.
The headman is also responsible for monitoring the distribution of relief and other aid in the village.
Of late, the village headmen in the State have been asked to assist villagers to enlist themselves in the tiol Register of Citizens (NRC), which is to be updated by January 2016. "In case of any error in mes in the voters list or 1951 NRC, a village headman has to issue a certificate to eble the person to rectify it. In case of women who migrated after marriage, a certificate issued by the gaon burah is a valid document for proving linkage," officials said.
Despite the importance attached to the post of village headman, the State government has kept the large number of posts vacant for reasons best known to it.