A press note issued in the name of Madhya Pradesh government is doing the rounds in WhatsApp groups. The press note states that the tenure of Sarpanchs (Decision makers of the villages) has been extended by five years in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. The press note states, “S. No. 1603 / Chief Minister / 22 / Note 23/2020- Since the economy of the state is critically hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, the state administration in the wake of a decision taken in the cabinet meeting, hereby, declares that under the clause (3) (b) of section 94 of MP Panchayat Raj & Gram Swaraj Act 1993, the tenure of Sarpanchs and Panchs, has been extended by five years.”
We received this claim on our official WhatsApp number for a fact-check. The claim is a picture of a press note allegedly issued by the Madhya Pradesh government regarding the extension of Sarpanchs’ tenure by 5 years.
As we begin investigating this claim, we first performed a Google search using the keywords “मध्य प्रदेश में सरपंचों का कार्यकाल पांच साल बढ़ा” and we found a report published by Hindi news outlet ‘Patrika’ along with other information.
The report published by ‘Patrika’ informs that some miscreants have forged the signature of the government officials and the press note is fake. The report further states that the ‘fake’ press note has created a ruckus among the village administrative officials and the top government officials have rubbished the press note, calling it ‘fake’.
We also found a report published by ‘Patrika’ on 13th March that states that the tenure of Pradhans has ended hence Sarpanchs will now take over as Pradhans. Generally, when the tenure of decision-makers of the villages ends, the government appoints an official as the decision-maker but in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the state government has decided to allow the Sarpanchs to take the charge.”
We also checked the official website of the ‘General Administration Department’ of the MP government but we didn’t find any mention of any such press note. The same can be viewed here.
We then contacted an official of the ‘General Administration Department’ of the MP government who informed us that no such press note has been issued by the government. “The signature on the press note is forged and is intended to create rumour. We have notified the officials who work closely with the Gram Panchayats about the ‘fake’ press note. We are trying to trace the source of this misinformation,” said the official.
We have previously debunked one such ‘fake’ order that was issued in the name of the MP government claiming that the houses of trespassers of the lockdown will be locked by the government. Our fact-check report on this claim can be viewed here.
Hence, it is evident from our fact-check that the viral press note is ‘fake’ and the MP government has not issued any such press note.
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