JAP writes to PM and others demanding Panchayat Elections in Hills

Kalimpong, 10 Apr:

All India Jan Andolan Party has sent a memorandum demanding Panchayat Elections to the Prime Minister, President, Home Minister, PRD development, Law and Justice, Governor of West Bengal, CM and others. This was informed by JAP Bureau, Yusuf Simick today.

"We are in favour of Panchayat Election in Hills and we have written to the highest authorities of the Country and State demanding the same," he stated.

"It has been fourteen long years since 2005 that our people living in the hill areas of Darjeeling and Kalimpong have been deprived of their rights under the Panchayati Raj system. The obstacle to this has been a piece of now redundant legislation under Article 243M [3] in Part IX of the Constitution of India which excluded the application of the Part relating to Panchayats at the district level to the areas under the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Act," the memorandum states.

It further adds that when the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was agreed to be created, it was also agreed to that the three tier system of Panchayat would be restored, as borne out by the the tripartite agreement signed on the 18th of July, 2011.

Further stating that, "grassroots' democracy in GTA areas has remained a mirage and access to livelihood options are denied to mountain people", the memorandum demands restoration of Panchayati Raj in Darjeeling and Kalimpong at all three tiers.

The memorandum has been signed by party president, Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri.