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Bernard flags encroachment on tribal areas, fund misuse

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SHILLONG, June 18: State BJP vice president and Tura MDC, Bernard N Marak, has accused the urban and municipal board of violating the jurisdiction of the Sixth Schedule by encroaching on tribal areas and misappropriating funds intended for local residents.
Marak alleged that the Urban and Municipal Board proposed projects outside the municipal areas without consulting the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) and local MDCs. “The Urban and Municipal Board has grossly violated the jurisdiction of the Sixth Schedule by intruding into tribal areas and snatching away funds meant for the local people,” Marak stated.
In a letter to the Director of the Urban Affairs department regarding the 15th Finance Commission, Marak requested that the Tura Municipal Board (TMB) projects be put on hold, as most are planned outside the municipal area. He revealed that an RTI query disclosed that the TMB had already prepared and forwarded project proposals to the state government for approval.
Marak expressed surprise that projects undertaken in 2020-21 had not been communicated to him. He criticised the high costs of these projects, noting they did not benefit the public, citing examples such as the renovation of the Tura Municipal Board at Rs 54 lakh and the reconstruction of a boundary wall at a dumping ground at Rs 70 lakh. He also mentioned being unaware of previous funding installments.
Highlighting specific areas like Doldegre, Walbakgre, and Dakopgre, Marak claimed these fall outside the original boundary of the Tura Municipality Board. He asserted that the Municipality’s extension into these areas violated the Country and Town Planning Act since no No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) were obtained from GHADC or the Akhing Nokmas, infringing on rights under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
He urged the Director to instruct the CEO to consult with local authorities before finalising any proposed projects.

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