GUWAHATI, May 25 � Former Deputy Mayor of the city Balendra Bharali has resented the failure of the State Government to implement the 74th amendment to the Indian Constitution, which vested powers to the urban local self-governing bodies (ULBs). At present, Bharali is a councillor of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC).
Bharali, in a letter to the Guwahati Development Department (GDD) Minister of the State, regretted that the failure of the State Government to implement the 74th amendment has made GMC a non-entity in matters of urban planning, regulation of land use and building construction, planning economic and social development, among others.
The GMC has also been made a non-entity in matters of construction of roads and bridges, undertaking water supply schemes, running fire services, conserving urban forestry and environment, urban poverty alleviation etc.
The 74 th amendment to the constitution has placed all these subjects under the jurisdiction of the ULBs and uplifted the status of these bodies to that of the constitutional ones. The Article 243 (Z) (f) has in an unambiguous term calls for repeal of any act or rule which is inconsistent with Part IX-A of the Constitution within a period of one year.
Despite the elapse of over two decades of time after the said amendment to the constitution, the State Government has not made any effort to comply with the constitutional obligations proposed by Part IX-A. On the other hand, over the years, erosion of the authority of the GMC at the behest of the State Government has been observed, he alleged.
It is also observed that several State Government departments are functioning without any coordination with the GMC, thus resulting in a mess and loss of revenue for the GMC, Bharali said.
He also referred to the recommendations of the Third Assam Finance Commission which called for steps to allow the GMC to exercise its powers and functions in specific constitutionally mandated areas. Significantly, the State Government also accepted those recommendations of the Third Finance Commission.
The Government has not bothered to amend the 1971 GMC Act to ameliorate this situation by strengthening the GMC in the manner suggested by the 74 th amendment to the constitution, Bharali said.