Plea for quota to women in panchayat bodies

The Times of India News Service

RANCHI: Women of Jharkhand are demanding more rights and representation. Take the example of Sukka Birijia. She wants the right to information. She is a Birijia, a lesser known group of tribes, and hails from Bishunpur in the Gumla district.

Sukka stunned the experts with her demand at a recent workshop on the role of social organisations and the Panchayat Raj Act, 2001. She said she had heard that since independence a sum of Rs 58 crore was spent on development programmes for tribals in her area. But the tribals, including the Birijias, continue to remain a poor lot. She wanted to know the details of how the funds were utilised.

While Sukka symbolised the mood of the workshop, organised under the aegis of Vikas Bharti, Bishunpur, others, including women participants demanded that one third posts of mukhiyas, pramukhs and zila parishad chairperson be reserved for tribal women.

The workshop also recommended that the posts of deputy mukhiya and deputy pramukhs be unreserved in the scheduled areas, and one third of such posts too be reserved for women. In areas not falling under the scheduled area too, one third of all posts of head of self-governing bodies be reserved for women, the workshop recommended.

For the past couple of years, women groups have been demanding right to property to tribal women which even the tribal leaders do not want to concede, their contention being that this would lead to land rights going away from the village once a woman gets married. Meanwhile, Mahila Congress leader Pratibha Pandey has announced to sit on fast-unto-death from July 8. She also sat on a 48-hour hunger strike to demand 33 per cent share for women in all the organisational posts in the Congress.

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Referred by: Mukandan CM
Published on: July 6, 2001
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