Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Arunachal Pradesh Assembly passes bill to protect drinking water sources

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Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) | March 9, 2023 11:34:46 PM IST
The Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed three bills with voice vote.

The bills included the Arunachal Pradesh Goods Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the Arunachal Pradesh Protection of Drinking Water Catchment Areas Bill, 2023 and the Assam Frontier (Administration of Justice) Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Tax, Excise and Narcotics Chowna Mein, while moving the Arunachal Pradesh Goods Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023 for consideration and passing said that the bill is placed to amend the Arunachal Pradesh Goods Tax Act, 2005 and shall come into force with effect from April 1, 2023 for entire Arunachal Pradesh.

Public Health Engineering and Water Supply Minister Wangki Lowang informed the House that the Arunachal Pradesh Protection of Drinking Water Catchment Areas Bill, 2023 is to provide for the protection of drinking water catchment areas with a view to preserve drinking water sources and to make provisions for the same and matter connected therewith.

Lowang, while seeking support from the members for the passing of the bill, said that water is one of the most vital elements to human life and community, adding that development activities are being affected due to the lack of water supply.

He said that as the drinking water sources in the hill areas are diminishing due to denudation, the effect of global warming and unwanted human activities in the catchment areas, it has become necessary to take regulatory measures to protect and improve the environment and the catchment areas and thereby preserve the drinking water sources therein and augment the yield of drinking water from other such sources, springs, streams and rivulets.

Clarifying some of the apprehensions, put forth by the members, the Minister informed that, besides attending to the preservation and protection of natural resources, the bills, when put in place would activate people's participation in governance, thus empowering them at the lowest level as the government would work in line with the recommendation of the village community in this regard.

Earlier, participating in the discussion, Borduria-Bogapani MLA, Wanglin Lowangdong strongly called for the protection of water sources and catchment areas through various measures like - forestation, plantation of grazing land and other such activities to prevent soil erosion and degradation etc.

Supporting the bill, he emphasized on meeting up water scarcity in Patkai range as the Need of the Hour.

Kanubari MLA, Gabriel D Wangsu in his deliberation sought 'dedicated fund' as an incentive to the villagers towards their sensitization and motivation to come out for voluntary land donation of the catchment areas. This would secure the water sources and provide sustainability to deal with water scarcity, he said.

Acknowledging the significance of the bill, Aalo East MLA, Kento Jini spoke on adopting rainwater harvesting programmes and control of pollution in the catchment areas for better portable water for a longer period of time.

Participating in the discussion, Doimukh MLA Tana Hali Tara stressed notifying the catchment areas to avoid problems in future. While speaking in support of the bill, he called for extending benefits to the affected people of water projects.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu informed the House on Thursday that an amendment in the Assam Frontier (Administration of Justice) Regulation Act has been done in order to strengthen the traditional customary laws as practised in the state.

Calling upon the members to support the bill for passing, Khandu said that provisions would be kept for further reviews and amendments after due consultation with all stakeholders, including Law and Parliamentary Affairs department, Bar Council and CBOs.

He stated that the Assam Frontier (Administration of Justice) Regulation,1945 is one of the pre-constitutional and pre-independence laws which gives statutory safeguard to the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh for protection of age-old local traditional customary laws through the institution of Village Authority and the Assam Frontier (Administration of Justice) Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 is placed to make provisions for framing guidelines by the Government for election, selection, appointment, powers, functions and meetings of the Head Gaon Bura, Head Gaon Buri, Gaon Bura and Gaon Buri.

He said the proposed amendments bill envisages inserting some definitions under section 5 to include the institutions of HGB, Head Gaon Buri, GB and Gaon Buris and traditional village head under the ambit of village authority.

Many members including MLAs Nyamar Karbak, Kardo Nyigyor, Taniya Soki, Gabriel D Wangsu and Wanglin Lowangdong participated in the discussion and put forth their observations.

While Karbak opined for change in the nomenclature of Gaon Bura and Gaon Buri with the advent of modernity, their dress code to fit with the season and selection on basis of knowledge & experience, Daporijo MLA Soki suggested for use of the indigenous terms in the place Gaon Bura and Gaon Buri, besides strengthening the institution.

Advocating for the bill, Kanubari MLA, Wangsu opined for the inclusion of terms -Wangham, Lowang, Singpho and Khamti Chiefs to recognize the Chieftainship in the areas of its existence, adding that, this would facilitate authenticating the institution and avoid conflict of traditional judgments being practised since generations.

Besides Question Hour, the third day Assembly session also deliberated on the motion of thanks to Governor Lieutenant General Kaiwalya Trivikram Parnaik's address.

Moved by Taliha MLA Nyato Dukam, the motion was seconded by Pasighat East MLA Kaling Moyong. (ANI)

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