“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”
– Vincent Van Gogh
The observation made in the memorandum to the Prime Minister by the delegation of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) and North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC) is very important for the people of the three hill districts. Although the Autonomous Councils are the most powerful ones among such local government structure but the dual power centres as pointed out in the memorandum under which the two Autonomous Councils have to function has been a cause of concern shown not only by the present set of BJP leaders in the council but by their predecessors whoever sat in the councils. In practice the two councils have to function under two masters, the Governor of the state and the state administration. The two power centres lead to invariable delay in policy implementation of the two councils and while making changes in the executive committee (EC) of the councils.
So the chief executive member along with his executive members have to keep running to Dispur for all decisions taken by the councils. Due to the inherent nature of Indian political system the two councils stand to lose a lot when it comes to political maneuvering which in turn translates to development on the ground of the two underdeveloped districts of the state. As of now a common party is in power in Diphu, Dispur and in Delhi. Even then, the two councils are having difficulty in functioning as clearly mentioned in the memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister. In case of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) four EMs were to be inducted into the executive committee of the council a good five months back, but nothing happened. In effect the councils have been used to express the pleasure and happiness of power nodes in Dispur. The councils have been also victims to power struggle among the members in the cabinet of Assam and will always have the chance to be so with the present constitutional arrangement.
Another sore point is the fund to the councils. The funds make its way to the councils through Dispur which is another point where the councils are arm twisted to comply to the wishes of the power centres in Dispur. The paralysis in certain departments under the councils are also not acted upon by Dispur who reasoned that they are not the one responsible as the issues are under the councils while the councils say that they can do nothing about it without the approval of the Governor. The arrangement have been used time and again by Dispur to manipulate the duly elected Councils and turn it on its head overnight which have been ably demonstrated for several instances in last five years and before that as well. The present set of political infrastructure under which the councils have to function is so red-tapped that it is no wonder that the three hill districts are backward for so long. Bringing the sore point to the notice of the Prime Minister is a bold step taken by the councils which will certainly be already in the notice of Dispur by now. The people of the hills in Assam can wait for more interesting updates.