Chattisgarh govt enacts rules under PESA to enhance power of gram sabha, says CM Baghel


Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel on Tuesday said the state government has enacted rules under Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) in the interest of tribals and it will enhance the power of gram sabha.

A statement issued by the state government on Tuesday said that “Though the PESA act was in force in the state, the tribals were deprived from being benefitted and hence the state government had passed the act in cabinet and had notified it in the state gazette on Monday”, the statement issued by the state government on Tuesday said.

However, the tribal rights lawyers and activists claimed that the PESA rules framed was not what they had expected.

“The Rule 12(4) provides that just 10 persons can seek review of any gram sabha decision. Further, another rule allows any government department to take objection on any such decision. Moreover, rule one gives sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Revenue power to sit in appeal on any decision of gram sabha. This was not expected,” said Sudeip Shrivastava, a lawyer and tribal rights activist in Chhattisgarh.

The enforcement of the rules will enhance the power of gram sabha. The rules provide 50% representation to the tribal community in the gram sabha and out of this 50%, half (25%) will be women members, the chief minister said.

The state government is committed to protecting and conserving the tribal culture and tradition, he added.

Baghel further said his government has declared a public holiday on World Tribal Day.

He added the state government has given community forest and forest rights certificates to tribals and forest dwellers. They have also procured 65 minor forests produce in support price.

However, Chhattisgarh leader TS Singh Deo, who had quit as the panchayat and rural development department minister, had said in a letter to the chief minister saying that important points in the draft rules under the PESA Act prepared by the panchayat department sent to a cabinet committee were changed without taking him into confidence.

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