Residents of town panchayats in the Nilgiris urged to boycott elections

The Coonoor Consumer Protection Association has called on residents in town panchayats in the Nilgiris to boycott the upcoming urban civic body elections to force the government into downgrading them to village panchayats so that they will be eligible for more Central government schemes.

In a press release, S. Manogaran, president of the association, said the 11 town panchayats in the district did not fulfill the criteria to be notified as town panchayats. He said because of this, town panchayats like Devarsholai in Gudalur, where the majority of residents are from tribal communities, did not get access to Central government schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Scheme.

The association said most of the residents of town panchayats were small farmers, tea growers and agricultural workers. “We estimate that around 40% of people living in these areas fall below the poverty line, and that if these areas are downgraded to village panchayats, more Central government funds can be allotted to these areas and help pull people out of poverty,” said Mr. Manogaran.

He added that relatively more developed areas with larger concentrations of populations located near Coonoor, such as Adhigaratty, Yedapalli and Hulikal were still administered as village panchayats, while many town panchayats had far less public infrastructure.

The association brought the issue to the notice of the district administration, he said, adding that people living in these areas had been urged to not vote in the elections.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 3:51:48 am |