The Mizoram Assembly on Wednesday passed the Sinlung Hills Council Bill after a prolonged deliberation, involving nearly 14 members, including chief minister Lal Thanhawla.
Formation of the Sinlung Hills Council 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 Council, which came into existence in 1997 as a result of the peace accord signed between the Mizoram government and the erstwhile Hmar People’s Convention (HPC) in July 1994.
Home minister R. Lalzirliana, who introduced the bill, said the Sinlung Hills Council would be accorded more autonomy than its predecessor.
The home minister also thanked HPC (D) cadres in helping the state government establish peace and tranquillity by giving up arms. He said the state government is committed to implement the memorandum of settlement signed with HPC (D) as early as possible.
Lalzirliana said according to the agreement, an interim council will be formed for six months after which election will be conducted. He said the government has already approved appointment of council members proposed by HPC(D).
It 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 two will be nominated by the government. The term of the general council will be five years.
The council will be headed by a chief executive member (CEM), besides a chairman, deputy chairman, and four executive members nominated by the CEM.
The bill envisages establishment of the council headquarters at Sakawrdai village in Aizawl district or any other place within the council area. There shall be a secretariat at the headquarters, headed by a secretary.
The council will have executive power to formulate plans, schemes, budget, make bylaws and rules and impose, levy and collect taxes within its area. The council area will be divided into 12 constituencies and it will receive funds directly from the state government.
After a deadlock in 2013, the Mizoram government and HPC (D) revived peace talks in August 2016, which culminated in the signing of the memorandum of settlement on April 2 this year. Altogether 114 HPC (D) leaders and cadres laid down arms in a homecoming ceremony on April 13 at Sesawng village near Aizawl.