<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cutting across party lines, Lok Sabha members today pitched for more financial and administrative powers for the autonomous district councils (ADCs) to ensure overall development of tribal regions, most of which are in the Northeast. “The Centre needs to have a relook at the functioning of the ADCs and find out whether they are meeting the aspirations of the people of tribal areas,” said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury while participating in a discussion on a private member’s bill seeking to amend the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Moved by Vincent H Pala (Cong), the Bill seeks to raise the number of members of ADCs from 30 to 40 and increase powers of the Councils to deal with land rights and other tribal issues. The autonomous district and regional councils were set under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to protect the custom, culture and traditions of tribal and ensure their overall development. Most of these councils are in the Northeastern region. Chowdhury said these district councils do not have adequate financial resources and suggested that funds should be made available to them to undertake activities to meet the aspirations of the tribal people. Ram Prasad Sarmah (BJP) demanded that the number of members in the ADCs should be increased to 40 and more such councils should be set up in Darjeeling in West Bengal to promote the development of the Gorkhas. Saugata Roy (TMC) said the government must assure the tribal people in the Northeast that their culture and identity will be protected. He said the Northeast has the potential to become the next Switzerland. “Education and Christianity had made the people of Northeast more advanced,” he said, adding the Department of North East Region should focus on improving infrastructure in the region. Roy said the issues of the Northeastern region should be dealt with “kid gloves” and utmost sensitivity. Participating in debate, Gaurav Gogoi (INC) said there was a need for a “bridge of dialogue and communication”. He also emphasised on preserving the languages of the Northeast by archiving them. Highlighting the problem of insurgency in the Northeast, Gogoi said “law and order cannot be just through gun and arrests, but also through diplomacy and dialogue. We cannot homogenise the Northeast but have to understand its heterogenity.” Nishikant Dubey, who supported the Bill, said the district councils of the Northeast have become ‘elite clubs’, while Rameswar Teli (BJP) highlighted the issue of under-development of the Northeast region.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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MPs seek more powers for district councils of tribals