In a major relief to the Naga Mothers Association (NMA), who had been pressing hard for the state government to implement 33% women reservation in the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) polls, Nagaland chief minister T.R. Zeliang on Thursday announced the decision of the Cabinet to go ahead with the elections to the Urban Local Bodies/Town Councils under Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001 by granting 33 per cent women reservation.
Addressing the state level watershed conference organized by Land Resources department at NBCC convention hall, Zeliang informed the gathering that the decision to this effect was taken during a Cabinet meeting held on August 10. Zeliang said that the government would soon notify on the dates to conduct the election.
Pointing out that while the apex tribal organisations in the state were against women reservation, the state cabinet after thorough deliberation, decided that elections would be conducted to the ULBs with 33 per cent women reservation. He said “we should allow the women-folks to participate in the municipal councils and see the outcome of their participation and if things go well, the reservation may be increased.”
Zeliang said NMA’s Joint Action Committee on Women Reservation was fighting in the Supreme Court for 33 per cent women reservation, which has also led to withholding of the elections to the ULBs.
Meanwhile, a CMO media cell press communiqué also stated that the Cabinet decided to strengthen the Municipal Cadre in the state. The cabinet in this regard has asked the department to work out their minimum manpower requirements and send fresh proposal after following the laid down procedures. It was also decided that there was no need for a separate Municipal Commissionerate in the state and directed that the matter be taken up for review before the Guwahati High Court through the Advocate General.
CMO media cell said that the Cabinet also took a serious view of the assurance made by the Department of Municipal Affairs through its Counsel before the Guwahati High Court in PIL 71/2015 without the approval of the Government. the government has directed that an inquiry be held to identify the officer(s) responsible for the lapse for further appropriate action, it stated.
The Cabinet further approved the proposal of the Department of Municipal Affairs for setting up of nine Town Councils for Bhandari, Chozuba, East Dimapur, Longkhim, Mangkolemba, Pungro, Tening, Tizit and Tobu towns and setting up of five Urban Station Committees for Athibung, Chessore, Chuchuyimlang, Tsudikong and Yisemyong towns in Nagaland. It also approved the creation of six new Sub-District Industries Centres at Atoizu, Mangkolemba, Meluri, Noklak, Tizit and Tuli by redeploying the existing staff under the department of Industries and Commerce.
It may be mentioned that the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment, on April 5 ‘revived’ the 2011 ruling of the single bench Guahati High Court of Kohima which had ruled in favour of Joint Action Committee on Women Reservation and directed state government to hold elections to local bodies with implementation of 33% reservation.