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Centre seeks Tripura’s response on proposed amendment
Correspondent
 AGARTALA, Nov 17 - Before making a Constitutional amendment to increase the powers of the autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the North East, the Union Home Ministry has sent a detailed questionnaire to the Tripura government seeking its response on this matter.

The reply of the State government will be taken into consideration while finalising the draft of the Constitutional amendment. The letter seeking replies to the questions was sent to Tripura Chief Secretary U Venkateswaralu recently.

The Union Cabinet had approved the Constitutional amendment in January this year.

The Centre’s move assumes importance as the elections to Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) is scheduled in April next year.

Six tribal BJP MLAs have jointly addressed a letter to Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, enclosing their suggestions regarding changes to be made to increase the powers of the autonomous district council (ADC) in the State.

They have also requested the Chief Minister to direct the Tribal Welfare Department to prepare a concrete proposal in this regard in a Cabinet meeting.

The Congress has already sent a bunch of proposals for strengthening the tribal council.

“We have sent as many as nine proposals to the Parliamentary Committee constituted to do the groundwork for bringing the amendment,” said Subal Bhowmik, convenor of PCC ad-hoc committee.

Bhowmik said direct funding of the tribal council was the main focus of the letter sent by the Congress.

“The budgetary outlay of TTAADC is less than that of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC), which is very unfortunate. Moreover, the three-tier Panchayat system is not yet introduced in the tribal council, depriving it of special assistance from the Finance Commission,” he said.

Bhowmik further said that the party has proposed to increase the number of elected members of the council from 28 to 56 and that of nominated members from two to four.

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