Maha govt allows holding gram sabhas as COVID-19 cases go down

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Mumbai, Feb 11 (PTI) The gram panchayats in Maharashtra have been allowed to start holding gram sabhas again by observing social distancing norms and other COVID-19 related guidelines, Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif said on Thursday.

An official statement said that with COVID-19 cases going down, the government had last month given permission to resume holding the meetings.

But the move was stayed as a precautionary measure after the emergence of a new strain of novel coronavirus, it added.

'COVID-19 cases have gone down and normalcy is getting restored (in villages). Considering this, permission is being granted to organise gram sabhas as in the past on the condition of observing COVID-19 related guidelines,' the statement quoted Mushrif as saying.

A circular in this connection was issued on Thursday, the statement said.

As per the Maharashtra Village Panchayat Act, 1959, it is mandatory to hold at least four gram sabhas in a financial year.

However, the Centre and state government had banned all social and political meetings in view of the pandemic.

Accordingly, organisation of gram sabhas, too, was stayed temporarily in the state. PTI ENM NP NP