TODAY -

On the brink of irrelevance ?

Ninglun Hanghal *

 Polling at Sandang Senba Maring, Sadar Hills for ADC election :: June 1 2015
Polling at Sandang Senba Maring, Sadar Hills for ADC election in June 2015 :: Pix - Bishwarjit Taorem



The neglect of the tribal hill districts in Manipur is obvious. The local self-governance which is purportedly hyped as the base and soul of democracy remains merely on paper. The rural hinterlands and grassroot democracy continues to be overlooked, underrated, marginalised without any tangible signs of ‘autonomy’ or ‘republic’ in the truest sense of the term on the ground.

Contrast to the bottom-up concept, everything comes from the top. The most visible indicator of this is the continued delaying of the election to the six Autonomous District Council ( ADC). The last election was held in June 2015 and the five-year term of its members ended this year.

Voters, the members, and intending candidates are still awaiting permission from ‘authorities concerned’ and the higher ups in the Government for holding polls, even as it is well over six months after the expiry of the term.

Until now, there seems to be no hurry and elections are unlikely to be held any time soon. Even though the latest circular of the Chairman of the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) on 8 October proposed and recommended to the State Government to hold the ADC election.

In early January this year, the HAC had recommended to the State Government for extending the term of the ADC members for six months - from June to November. It is quite interesting that the committee seems to have foreseen the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic, or it did so after keeping the annual monsoon rains in mind.

Whatever be the reason, the HAC had recommended postponing the election and sought extension as early as in January, more than six months before the scheduled end of term.

Subsequently, in March, the State Government in its Cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister decided to defer the election on grounds of proposals from the HAC. The reason was reportedly that June-July being "rainy season" it would not be ideal to hold election then.

In August, when the extension period was gradually ending, the State Election Commission urged the State Government to issue notification for publication of the draft of electoral rolls of the district councils of each constituency in order to enable the Commission to conduct the election on time–that is in November.

The Commission though remarked “However, the opinion of the State executive’s committee of the State Disaster Management Authority, Manipur may be taken into account regarding holding of election during this time of Covid-19 pandemic”.

The priority seems clear. While monsoon rains or the pandemic are being cited as a hurdle for conducting ADC polls, the same problems do not seem to matter for the Assembly by-election. The preparations for the first phase by-election to five Assembly Constituencies in November are in progress. All together 13 Constituencies are vacant after mass resignation and disqualification of MLAs.

Perhaps, empowered by the announcement of the by-election, intending candidates for the six District Councils under the “Forum for ADC election intending candidates” banner, have called for dissolving of the present ADC , which would pave the way for conducting polls in November.

Formed in early October, the forum insists that the incumbent ADC must be dissolved for a free and fair exercise, and the election must be held on time. It has warned that if the State Government fails to meet the two demands, they shall resort to a democratic agitation and the State Government shall be held responsible for any untoward outcome.

All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur also echoed the demand for holding the ADC election. The student union alleged that if the State Government is not serious, they are ready to take up 'any mode of agitation'.

It may-be recalled that the six district councils – Churachandpur, Chandel, Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Senapati, Sadar Hills, was established under the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971. Beginning from 1975, four elections were held until it was boycotted from 1990. The reason being the demand for implementation of the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution in the District Council areas.

Meanwhile Naga areas had also boycotted the District Council election in demand for a solution to the Naga political issue. After a gap of 20 odd years, the District Council was revived and election was held in 2010.

Initially though, as the district councils were limping back to life, there were not much public response, while Naga areas still witnessed boycott with most of the candidate elected un-contest or nominated.

The following 2015 election saw a wave of public response. Since then there has been some activity and momentum in the hills, given that the district councils are grassroots governance and have direct touch with the masses. It generated public interest and hope.

And yet, the ADCs are not without grievance and those are genuine ones. The ADCs, being the lowest level of governance are left at the mercy of the State Government and its legislatures. The council members and general public are left high and dry due to lack of financial resources and autonomy.

There has been disenchantment over the devolution of power. Elected members have sent representations and memorandum, umpteenth time, demanding for devolution of powers particularly financial powers.

In fact, in the true practical sense the ADCs are merely implementers of projects for rural development. The council members were not empowered to have their own development plans or financial budgets. The only power they were entitled were of customs and cultural matters.

In tribal societies wherein traditions are still prevalent and the custodians are the traditional institutions such as the Chief or village authorities or clan-base, the district councils and its members are unlikely to be powerful in this matter. Moreover there have been no reported incidents or cases wherein the members of the district councils intervene in any case related to custom or culture.

There is no doubt therefore, that the ADC as a unit of local self-governance in Manipur’s tribal hill districts are unable to function as desired. It is time to review the role and function of the Hills Areas Committee of the state government.


This article has appeared in The Statesman


* Ninglun Hanghal wrote this article which was published at The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on October 22 2020.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Chiuluan village, Tamenglong #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Genuine Peace or Politicking : FNR
  • Disability is not limited to the body
  • Online interaction session with law students
  • Education and the 'cultural hegemony'
  • Nongpok Sekmai- best Police Station
  • World Disability Day held at RGU
  • Keeping ST status demand off the spotlight
  • Fate of Act East Policy after RCEP
  • Langban Lam-Haiba @ Andro #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn the Manipuri script
  • Governor & IM may trigger bigger crisis
  • Overview of Crime & Mental Disorder
  • International Day for Abolition of Slavery
  • Kaleidoscope of life :: Poem
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Chain sequence of violating SOPs
  • Radio Drama In Manipur #1
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Meeting with CM [Dec 1] :: Gallery
  • Chaningkhomba, Shehhaothang: eMing
  • Ending AIDS is human right to health
  • Online Essay Writing Competition (2020-21)
  • Stomach Cancer: Cases very high in NE
  • Time to read between the lines
  • Filmmaker Haobam Paban Kumar #3
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • December Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Winter Relief conducted in Imphal :: Gallery
  • Survival story of displaced fisherfolks told
  • Admin / Business Support at DCS
  • Civil Engineer at R-Square Design
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Winter Relief conducted around Imphal
  • Raising ST demand ahead of Shah's visit
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #8
  • El Diego dies just to be etched in history
  • Coffin of 'pre-Hinduism' era found at Malom
  • Divine soulmates :: Poem
  • Phanek Mayek Naiba with computerised m/c
  • Night curfew to combat COVID-19
  • Sory Wahengbam - Actress Gallery :: eRang
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Naga Peace Solution and Manipur
  • RNYO & RNSO expound on its position
  • Tips for farmers on using pesticides
  • Ambitious Indian women- myth or reality ?
  • Last Day : Sangai Fest 2019 #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Celebration Of Constitution Day
  • Enrollment for Science Olympiads 2021
  • Equally in pandemic
  • Indian Constitution: A document that protects
  • Webinar: Sports Coaching Education
  • Haunting Imphal based media
  • NE Indigenous Women Peace Congregation
  • Ramification Of Manipur's Merger With India
  • The Dying Green Gold of Manipur: Bamboo
  • Ima Keithel - A Lament :: Poem
  • Working whether from office/home is important
  • Beauty care for the winter bride
  • Date with Shah : Not just another visit
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Thanga #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur State Journalist Award #2: Gallery
  • Manipur War Heroes deported to Kalapani
  • One match & two Man of the Match
  • Capacity building program for Juvenile Justice
  • Filmmaker Haobam Paban Kumar #2
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Significance of Ningol Chakkouba festival
  • Stigma, Pandemic & Mental Health Issues
  • Executive Meeting, National Sports University
  • Licypriya wins TN Khoshoo Memorial Award
  • ADB Univ pays tribute to Tarun Gogoi
  • Amit Shah's impending visit to Manipur
  • Muhammad Abdur Rahman: His life & works
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • 9th Loktak Arson Commemoration Day
  • Brown manuring for effective weed mgmt
  • Possible education trajectory after COVID-19
  • Memo to Union Education Minister on MU
  • Mantra of test, trace, treat
  • Something is still fishy
  • Mera Houchongba @ Konung #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • National Unity Day 2020 : Gallery
  • Marriage is no child's play
  • Lady of the House :: Poem
  • A musing on BJP's social upliftment cell
  • Solution must not be undone by dissolution
  • Meitei Inclusivity & Arrival of Thadou Kukis #2
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • SRISTI-GYTI : Young Tech Innovation Awards
  • SITARE-GYTI : Projects in biotechnology
  • Irang : A bridge not too far
  • Become an NTSE scholar
  • Toll Free Helpline for Children Counselling
  • Condemns move to impose Sanskrit
  • Unwanted season again for no good reason
  • By-election @ Wangoi AC #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Retired IPS officer recounts violent period
  • Rural Dreams :: Poem
  • Understanding issues of foreign prisoners
  • AFSPA - Armed forces special power Act
  • Reiterate demand to rollback PDA decision
  • Date with Amit Shah on Nov 29
  • The making of a New India
  • Filmmaker Haobam Paban Kumar #1
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #5: Gallery
  • Land Commission essential before 6th Sched..
  • A little nobody trying to save everybody
  • Why some people get more acne in winter
  • 95 more positive cases found at Wangoi AC
  • Center losing track on Naga Peace Process
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur State Journalist Award #1: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba: Thailand Ningol letter
  • NE Indigenous Women Peace Congregation
  • CSI State Student Convention, Assam
  • What I saw from my window ?
  • Growing number of infected & deaths
  • Are we ignoring our courageous mothers
  • Ningols on way to mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Kuki Nationalism & Political Aspiration : Report
  • COVID 19 patient delivers a healthy baby
  • Amur Falcon - A thanksgiving! :: Poem
  • Gender sensitization with law may prove good..
  • House of Poumai in Senapati : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Licypriya to address at Mock COP26 UK
  • Social Media and Negativism !
  • Career option in jewellery designing
  • Condemn arrest of student leader in Manipur
  • Morning walk wisdom
  • 'Roll back tax levied on petroleum'
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #7
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Ningol Chakkouba : A beautiful tradition
  • Ramification Of Manipur's Merger With India
  • Traditional medicinal herb 'Nong-mang-kha'
  • Education and employment
  • The Ani Thokpi culture of the people
  • Potsangbam Tomal Singh (1903 - 1999)
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Stop the practice of locking of offices'
  • Delights of Diwali :: Poem
  • World Diabetes Day 2020
  • Bond is dead, long live James
  • Make this festive season more memorable
  • By-election @ Wangoi AC #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Let difficulties know that you are too difficult..
  • Buy local this Diwali
  • Assam-Mizoram inter State border dispute
  • Beauty tips for the perfect Diwali look
  • Rolling out the red carpet for COVID-19
  • Fulfill the promises Mr. CM
  • CM to be taken into confidence ?
  • Chiuluan village, Tamenglong #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Swearing-in of MLAs [Nov 12] : Gallery
  • Cut off and castigated
  • Apathy makes MPSC immune to accountability
  • 'Roll back increase taxation on petrol'
  • Saving democracy
  • Radio Play: social awareness media #2
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Veg-in-a-Basket for Ningol Chakouba
  • Academic Council Meeting, NSU, Imphal
  • Lung Cancer: Most common cancer worldwide
  • Disaster risk reduction as career
  • National Education Day at RGU, Doimukh
  • Shopping for Covid ?
  • Left or Right: complex politics of India
  • COVID patient cast vote @Wangoi : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Swearing-in of M Rameshwar : Gallery
  • Consequence- massive flouting of protocols
  • Ramification Of Manipur's Merger With India
  • English Bye :: Poem
  • Conflict situation & investment atmosphere
  • Four out of five in by elections
  • Significance of the By-election result
  • By-election @ Wangoi AC #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Being vegetarian- hope for a brighter future
  • Observance of National Legal Services Day
  • General Manager NF Railway meet CM N Biren
  • One Rank One Pension (OROP)
  • Demand withdrawal of unjustified fees
  • Politically crucial by polls for some
  • Something needs to be added at RP act
  • Meitei Inclusivity & Arrival of Thadou Kukis #1
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Nov : Govt of Manipur
  • Children celebrates b'day by distributing PPE
  • Can E-government curb corruption ?
  • Extempore Speech Competition at Bengoon
  • Sinking boat :: Poem
  • Multiple Positions wanted at SAS Manipur
  • By poll over, now focus on the virus
  • Covid Block at Raj Medicity : Gallery
  • Ningthoujam Raghumani in 2% Indian Scientist
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #6
  • Autumn rain :: Poem
  • Devil inside my head
  • Dedicated Covid Block at Raj Medicity
  • Radio Play: social awareness media #1
  • IBSD Director, listed among top 2% scientist
  • Gyanendro Ningombam : Hockey India Prez
  • Fix it or be as it is
  • Manipur comes first any day
  • Out Surchandra, in Rameshwar
  • Shifting of Rani Gaidinliu Museum
  • Mera Houchongba @ Konung #2 : Gallery
  • Poster Distribution on COVID-19 : Gallery
  • Champu-Khangpok pledge to protect Loktak
  • What a life ? :: Poem
  • Can India achieve a $ 5 trillion economy
  • Preparing for post Covid era
  • Free and fair by-election: a blatant lie
  • Longa Koireng in Autumn : Gallery
  • Training on mushroom @ Moirang : Gallery
  • Meitei Pangal's 4% Reservation in Hr Edu
  • ADBU Prof listed among Top Scientists
  • Beauty benefits of amla
  • NH7 Weekender announces lineup
  • DESAM, AIMS, ANSAM on target
  • Ramification: Manipur's Merger With India
  • Untimely demise of Ksh Borish : Gallery
  • Admission- MSc Food Tech at CFTRI Mysuru
  • Is the inevitable on its way ?
  • Blood Donation Camp at Loktak Project
  • Mind, Body, Soul- Let there be imbalance!
  • Condemn Police delay to arrest in rape case
  • Play the Pena !
  • Demise of Ksh Borish, student at IISER, Pune
  • Winter Vegetable Seeds Distribution : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @ Konung #1 : Gallery
  • General strike at Minuthong #2: Gallery
  • Bhagyachandra Anniv @Nabadwip : Gallery
  • Tarao Laimanai in Chandel #3 : Gallery
  • Yubi Lakpi Manipur indigenous game: Gallery
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021
  • COVID Care Centre @UNACCO #2: Gallery
  • Brahmacharimayum Roji: Actress #2 : eRang
  • 'Zehara' - Manipuri Movie :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS