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State Amends Panchayat Laws

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the Panchayat Polls, the State Government has amended three Panchayat Laws to punish the candidates, who give false information in the affidavit filed for the rural polls.

Department of Law has issued an Ordinance amending the Odisha Grama Panchayat Act, 1964, the Odisha Panchayat Samiti Act, 1959 and the Odisha Zilla Parisad Act, 1991.

As per the ordinance, a candidate who files false information in his/her affidavit to win the poll will be punished with imprisonment for a period of six months, or with fine, or with both.

“A candidate who himself or through his proposer, with intent to be elected in an election gives false information which he knows or has reason to believe to be false or conceals any information in his nomination paper or in his affidavit shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both,” read the Ordinance.

Similarly, any elected member of the three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) will be disqualified, if he/she has not furnished an affidavit containing particulars relating to his criminal antecedents, assets and liabilities and educational qualification at the time of filing of nomination.

As the State is facing natural disasters like cyclones frequently, the Government has inserted new provisions to the Grama Panchayats and Panchayat Samities Acts for proper disaster management at the village, Panchayat and Block level.

Now the Grama Panchayats and Panchayat Samities can prepare their own disaster management plans at village, Panchayat and Panchayat Samiti level, carry out and facilitate relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in disaster affected areas in accordance with State plan and district plan. The two institutions can also undertake other measures necessary for disaster management. However, this provision has not been included in the Zilla Parisad Act.

For the purpose of this clause, the expression ‘disaster management’ shall have the same meaning as assigned to it under clause (e) of section 2 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Government said in the Ordinance.