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Mizoram Assembly passes Sinlung Hills Council Bill

Mizoram

Mizoram Assembly passes Sinlung Hills Council Bill

Aizawl, June 27: The Mizoram state assembly on Wednesday passed the Sinlung Hills Council Bill after a prolonged deliberation involving at least 14 members including house leader and chief minister Lal Thanhawla.

Formation of the proposed Sinlung Hills Council (SHC) is the result of the peace accord signed between the state government and the Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) on April 2, to replace the existing Sinlung Hills Development (SHDC), which came into existence in 1997 as a result of the peace accord between the Mizoram government and the erstwhile Hmar People’s Convention (HPC) in July 1994.

Home minister R. Lalzirliana, who introduced the bill said it envisages the establishment of an authority in the name of the SHC, which would be accorded more autonomy than its predecessor SHDC.

He said that the council shall be within the framework of the constitution.

The home minister also thanked the Hmar militants for extending support to the government towards establishing peace and tranquility in the state by giving up arms and demand for an autonomous district council.

He said peace talks between the state government and the HPC (D) were held under mutual trust and understanding and the state government is committed to implement the Memorandum of Settlement as earliest as possible.

According to minister, as envisage in the bill, an interim council will be formed for six months after which formal election will be conducted.

He added that the government has already approved appointment of council members proposed by the HPC(D).

The proposed SHC will have a general council and an executive council. The general council will consist of 14 members of which 12 will be directly elected and 2 will be nominated by the government. ). The term of office of the general council will be five years.

The council will be headed by Chief Executive Member (CEM). Besides it will have chairman, deputy chairman and four executive members to be nominated by CEM.

The bill envisages establishment of council headquarter at Sakawrdai village in Aizawl district or any place within the council area. There shall be a secretariat at the headquarters, which will be headed by a secretary.

Among others, the council will have an executive power to formulate plan, schemes, prepare its own budget, make bye-laws and rules and power to impose, levy and collect taxes within the council area.

There will be 12 constituencies in the council area for electing members to the general council and the council will receive fund directly from the state government.

Three years after a deadlock in 2013, the Mizoram government and HPC(D) revived peace talks in August, 2016 which culminated in the signing of MoS on 2 April. Altogether 114 HPC(D) leaders and cadres laid down arms in a home coming ceremony held on April 13 at the Central Training Institute at Sesawng village near Aizawl.

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Mr. Khojol is a journalist based in Aizawl, Mizoram. He writes for various national and regional media houses. In his free time, he can be caught reading books and watching movies.

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