LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT IN KOLABA DISTRICT, excluding the municipal areas is entrusted to the Kolaba District Local Board which is constituted under the District Local Boards Act (VI of 1923). The area administered by the Board is 2,681.1 square miles and according to the census of 1951 the population served by the Board was 8,28,764. The Board is wholly elected. It is composed of 42 members. Two seats are reserved for women, four for scheduled tribes and three for scheduled castes. The term of office of the Board is for four years extensible by the Divisional Commissioner, Bombay, by one year.

The headquarters of the Kolaba District Local Board is at Pen instead of at Alibag, the district headquarters at present. Formerly in the late thirtees it was at Alibag. Alibag is not a centrally situated place and it was not connected with the rest of the district by a direct route as it is now. The Dharamtar creek over which a bridge has subsequently been constructed had to be crossed to reach Alibag. So the Board shifted the headquarters from Alibag to Pen in 1938-39. It was reshifted to Alibag in 1941-42, and again shifted to Pen in 1942-43. Since then it is at Pen, housed in its own building constructed at a cost of Rs. 59,000.

The President of the Board is elected from among its members, His term of office is co-extensive with the tenure of the Board. His chief functions are: (a) to preside over the meetings of the Board; (b) to watch over the financial and executive administration of the Board; (c) to exercise supervision and control Over the acts and proceedings of all officers and servants of the Board in matters of executive administration, and in matters concerning the accounts and records of the Board; and (d) subject to certain limitations prescribed by Rules framed under the Act, to dispose of all questions relating to the service of the officers and servants, and their pay, privileges and allowances. Without contravening any order of the Board, he may, in cases of emergency, direct the execution or stoppage of any work or the doing of any act which requires the sanction of the Board.

There is also a vice-President of the Board who is elected like the president. He presides over the meetings of the Board in the absence of the president, and exercises such of the powers and performs such of the duties of the president as the president may delegate to him. Pending the election of a president, or during the absence of the president on leave, he exercises the powers and performs the duties of the president.

Quarterly meetings are held as a matter of course and special meetings are held according to necessity.

Under the Act it is compulsory on the Board to appoint a standing committee.

The standing committee is to consist of not more than nine members and not less than five members as the Board may determine, The president of the Board is the ex-officio chairman of the committee. Reappropriation and tenders of works costing not more than Rs. 5,000 are sanctioned by it. It also considers subjects that generally do not come within the purview of the other committees.

The obligatory and optional functions of the Board are set out in section (I) of the Local Boards Act. The chief obligatory duties are―

(1) the construction of roads and other means of communications and the maintenance and repair of all roads and other means of communications vested in it;

(2) the construction and repair of hospitals, dispensaries, markets, dharmashalas and other public buildings and the visiting, management and maintenance of these institutions;

(3) the construction and repair of public tanks, wells and water works, the supply of water from them and from other sources; and the construction and maintenance of works for the preservation of water for drinking and cooking purposes from pollution;

(4) public vaccination, and sanitary works and measures necessary for the public health; and

(5) the planting and preservation of trees by the side or in the vicinity of roads vesting in the Board.

Primary Education.

As laid down in the Bombay Local Boards Act, 1923, the District Local Board paid Rs. 1,61,201 in the year 1958-59 to the District School Board, Kolaba, at 15 pies out of three annas of Local Fund cess per rupee. This is the compulsory contribution of the Board paid to the District School Board. The control of primary education was withdrawn from the Board in 1947 and since then the School Board's matters are managed by Government through the Department of Education. However, the members on the School Board are still returned by the District Local Board. Out of 15 members of the School Board, 12 are elected by the Board and three are nominated by Government. The election of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the District School Board is conducted by the President of the District Local Board. The term of the School Board is co-extensive with that of the District Local Board.

The main financial resources of the Board as set out in section 75 of the Bombay Local Boards Act are―

(1) a cess on land revenue up to a maximum of three annas in the rupee;

(2) a cess on water-rate up to a maximum of three annas in the rupee;

(3) all rent and profits accruing from property (including ferries) vested in the Board; and

(4) grants from Government.

Under section 79 of the Act, the Board has to assign to every municipality two-thirds of the cess on land revenue levied from land within that municipality. The Board now levies the cess on land revenue and water-rate at the maximum of three annas in the rupee.

Under section 118-A of the Act, the State Government has to make every year a grant to every District Local Board equivalent in amount to 15 per cent of the land revenue, including non-agricultural assessment, realised during the previous year from lands within the limits of the Board, excluding land within municipal borough, municipal districts or village panchayats.

The controlling authorities in relation to the District Local Board, Kolaba, are the Collector, the Divisional Commissioner, Bombay Division, and the State Government. They exercise in the case of the District Local Board more or less the same powers that they exercise in the case of municipalities.


The financial year of the Board is from 1st April to 31st March. The total income of the Board for the year 1958-59 was Rs. 11,55,166 as against Rs. 9,46,912 for the previous year. The income figures for the years 1941-42 and 1951-52 were Rs. 1,59,604 and Rs. 6.86,726, respectively.

The income under the main heads is given below:―

Serial No.

Head of Income

Income during 1958-59

Income during 1957-58





Land Revenue




Local rates




















Civil Works







The total expenditure incurred by the Board during the year 1958-59 was Rs. 8,57,427 as against Rs. 9,17,505 for the previous year. The expenditure for the years 1941-42 and 1951-52, was Rs. 1,40,665 and Rs. 7,99,594, respectively. The main items of expenditure were as under:―

Serial No.

Head of Expenditure

During 1958-59

During 1957-58






General Administration
















Civil Works






An important feature of the expenditure is that the Board is spending about 15 per cent of its total income towards medical relief.


By March 1960, the Board had a total road mileage of 596.15 of which 232.85 miles were metalled and 363.30 were unmetalled. The maintenance of these roads is a responsibility of the Board.

The Board is required to frame a yearly programme of road improvements and submit it to the Commissioner, Bombay Division, for sanction. Current repair works are generally provided for from the local fund.


Government under its Resolution, Health and Local Government Department, No. S. 92, dated 24th April 1947, has sanctioned a scheme with a view to provide drinking water to villages with a population of 200 and above and in backward areas in villages with a population of 100 and above which lack an adequate supply of drinking water. There were 212 wells under construction in Kolaba under this scheme. In addition the Board has so far constructed 1,090 wells within its area.

Administration of the Board.

The President is the administrative as well as the executive head of the Board. He presides over the meetings of the Board and supervises the administration of the Board. The chief executive officers are the Chief Officer and the Engineer. The administrative as well as financial matters are dealt with by the administration branch and the works of civil nature such as preparing estimates and plans and checking of work bills are dealt with by the engineering branch. There are taluka work committee offices at taluka places and an overseer, a mistry and a peon are posted there. There are also three sub-divisional officers to supervise the works within their sub-divisions.

District Building Committee.

The President of the District Board is the Chairman of the District Building Committee and the administrative officer is the secretary of that committee. There is a separate fund of the committee and the payment to contractors or villagers who undertake to construct the school buildings are made from that fund. Government sanctions every year a large amount towards the construction of school buildings and places the same at the disposal of the District Building Committee. Special concessions are given for school buildings in backward class areas.

During 1958-59, 17 school buildings and one craft shed were constructed at a total expenditure of Rs. 93,750.

Medical and Public Health.

There are 12 allopathic dispensaries under the control of the Board at Revdanda, Chondhi, Pedhambe, Apta, Karjat, Khalapur, Pali, Nagothna, Borli-Mandla, Mangaon, Khamgaon, and Borli-Panchayatan.

Out of these dispensaries, the one at Khalapur is entirely managed by the Board by its own Medical Officer, and the rest are provided with medical officers appointed by Government on grant-in-aid basis.

In addition to this, there are 28 Subsidised Medical Practitioner Centres. The Board pays one-fifth of the total expenditure to Government. The Vaccination department is managed by the District Health Officer, Kolaba, who is working directly under the Public Health Department of the Government.

The Board pays Rs. 13,000 and Rs. 2,000 towards the maternity home-cum-dispensary at Khopoli and Karjat and Rs. 500 each to the maternity homes at Alibag, Pen and Mahad. A fully equipped maternity ward is attached to Anandibai Shetye Dispensary at Chondhi, Alibag taluka. Thus the Board spends a large amount towards medical aid and public health in the district. In order to take precautionary measures against epidemics like cholera, plague, typhoid, etc., sufficient stock of medicines is kept at the headquarters of the district. The District Health Officer, Kolaba, and the Sanitary Inspectors under him requisition these medicines from the Board and adopt preventive as well as curative measures. Practically the whole district is benefited by medical aid and there is hardly a village where no medical aid is available within a radius of ten miles.

Veterinary Dispensaries.

Formerly there were three veterinary dispensaries under the control of the Board. But since 1947-48, Government took over complete control of these dispensaries.

Civil Works.

Various grants are received from Government for construction, maintenance and repairs to roads, foot-bridges, drains, culverts, dams, wells, etc. The following grants were received during the year 1958-59:―



(1) Communication grant


(2) State Road Fund


(3) Village Approach Roads


(4) Grant for Buildings and Communications Department roads transferred to the Board.


(5) Do. do. Special grant


(6) Two per cent Forest Revenue Grant


(7) For repairs to roads constructed out of Project Scheme.


(8) Government grant from Social Welfare Fund


(9) Government grant for scarcity works


(10) Government grant for Village Water Supply Works


The Board had constructed a dharmashala and provided for some amenities to tourists at the historical fort of Raygad, the Capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Besides, the Board maintains 37 dhar-mashalas within its jurisdiction.

The Board is running one industrial section in the Topiwalla Industrial School at Alibag. The Board has been given representation on the Poona University Court, Landing and Wharfage Fees Fund Committee, Local Self-Government Institute, Bombay, District Development Board, Divisional Council, State Transport, Thana Division, Divisional Panchayat Council, and District Panchayat Mandal.

Village Panchayats.

Village Panchayats form local units of Administration for villages. Under the Bombay Village Panchayats Act (VI of 1933), as amended up to 1st July 1949, in every local area which has a population of not less than 2,000 a panchayat has to be established. It is also permissible for the State Government if sufficient reason exists, to direct the establishment of a panchayat in a local area having a population of less than 2,000. This Act has been amended in 1958 and is now known as the Bombay Village Panchayat Act, 1958. It has come into force from June 1, 1959. Many of the provisions from the old enactment have been included therein and many more have been added with a view to expand the sphere of activities of Village Panchayats and to give the greater power and authority as is necessary to enable them to function as units of Local Self-Government and pivots of developmental activities in rural areas. Under this new enactment, the control of the administration of Village Panchayats is transferred to the District Village Panchayat Mandals. It is permissible to establish a Village Panchayat in a local area having a population of 500 or more, and under special circumstances, having a population of between 250 and 500. There are in all 1952 villages and 10 municipal towns in Kolaba District. All of them are covered by 514 Village Panchayats. The district has achieved 100 per cent coverage in respect of Village Panchayats.

Under section 6 of the Act, there shall be a Gram Sabha for every Village Panchayat and all persons whose names are included in the list of voters are deemed to be members of that Gram Sabha. Meetings of the Gram Sabha are to be held at least twice a year and the Panchayat has to place the following items before such meetings, viz.,

(i) the annual statement of accounts:

(ii) the report on the administration of the preceding financial year:

(iii) the development and other programme of work proposed for the current financial year;

(iv) the last audit note and replies (if any) made thereto; and

(v) any other matter which the Panchayat Mandal or Collector or any officer authorised by the Collector in his behalf, requires to be placed before such meeting.

The maximum number of members for a Panchayat is fifteen and the minimum, seven. The members are to be elected on adult franchise. In every Panchayat, two seats are to be reserved for women, and if, having regard to the population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the village, the State Government is of opinion that reservation of seats is necessary for such Castes and Tribes in the village, reservation of seats on population basis may be made for such Castes and Tribes. The term of office of a Panchayat is four years, which may be extended up to five years in aggregate by the Collector, after consultation with the District Village Panchayat Mandal. Every Panchayat has to elect a Sarpanch and an Upa-Sarpanch from among its members. The Sarpanch presides over the Panchayat and the executive powers for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the Panchayats Act and the resolutions passed by the Panchayat vest in the Sarpanch. A secretary is appointed by the Collector for a Panchayat, or a group of Panchayats. He is a Government servant and his salary and allowances are paid by Government and not by the Village Panchayat. The qualifications, selection, appointment, training, powers, duties, transfer, remuneration and conditions of service (including disciplinary matters) of such secretaries shall be such as may be prescribed by the Government. Government have proposed to create a common cadre of Talathis-cum-Village Panchayat Secretaries. The Village Panchayat Secretaries, if found fit, will be absorbed in the new cadre. For that purpose, Government have started training centres for imparting training to Village Panchayat Secretaries in revenue matters and to Talathis in Village Panchayat matters. In the district, 150 Village Panchayat Secretaries and 90 Talathis have received such training so far.

Under section LXI of the Act, a Panchayat can appoint such servants as may be necessary for the proper discharge of its duties under this Act and pay their salaries from the village fund.

Section XLV of the Village Panchayats Act lays down that subject to the general control of the Panchayat Mandal, it shall be the duty of a Panchayat so far as the village fund at its disposal will allow, to make reasonable provision within the village in regard to all or any of the following matters, viz.,-

(i) sanitation and health;

(ii) public works;

(iii) education and culture;

(iv) self-defence and village defence;

(v) administration;

(vi) welfare of the people;

(vii) agriculture and preservation of forests;

(viii) breeding and protection of cattle;

(ix) village industry; and

(x) the collection of land revenue.

Under section 124 of the Act, every Panchayat has to levy all or any of the following taxes and fees at such rates and in such manner and subject to such exemptions as may be prescribed by Government, namely:-

(i) a tax on buildings and lands;

(ii) octroi;

(iii) a pilgrim tax;

(iv) a tax on fairs, festivals and other entertainments;

(v) a tax on bicycles and vehicles drawn by animals;

(vi) a tax on shops and hotels;.

(vii) a tax on any trade or calling (other than agriculture) which is carried on with the help of machinery run by steam, oil of electric power or by manual labour;

(viii) a tax. on the profession or calling of brokers in cattle markets;

(ix) a general sanitary cess;

(x) a general water rate;

(xi) a fee on markets and weekly bazars;

(xii) a fee on cart stands and tonga stands;

(xiii) a special water rate;

(xiv) a fee for supply of water from wells and tanks vesting in it, for purposes other than domestic use and for cattle;

(xv) a fee for temporary erection on, or putting up projection over, or temporary occupation of, any public street or place;

(xvi) a special sanitary cess;

(xvii) a fee for cleansing cess pool constructed on land whether belonging to a Panchayat or not; and

(xviii) a fee for grazing cattle on grazing lands vesting in a Panchayat.

The Panchayat can also levy any other tax, sanctioned by Government.

It is laid down in Section CXXV of the Act that a Panchayat may arrive at an agreement with any factory with the sanction of the State Government to receive a lump sum contribution in lieu of all or any of the taxes levied by the Panchayat, subject to the rules that may be made under the Act, and regard being had to the fact that a factory itself provides in the factory area all or any of the amenities which such Panchayat provides.

Section CXXVIII of the Act gives the Panchayat Mandal power to compel a Panchayat to levy or increase any of the taxes or fees specified if it appears to the Mandal that the regular income of the Panchayat falls below what is necessary for the proper discharge of the obligatory duties of the Panchayat.

The State Government makes payment of grant to every Panchayat equivalent in amount to 30 per cent or 25 per cent of the ordinary land revenue collected according to the classification of a Panchayat.

District Village Panchayat Mandal.

District Village Panchayat Mandals are to be established under Section CXxxIV of the Village Panchayat Act, for every district. Such Mandal has been established in Kolaba district with effect from October 2nd, 1959. This Mandal consists of the following members,:―

(i) Collector, who is the Chairman,

(ii) President, of the District Local Board,

(iii) Chairman, of the District School Board,

(iv) Vice-Chairman, of the District Development Board,

(v) not less than seven and not more than twelve members, to be elected from amongst the Sarpanchas of the Panchayats, in the prescribed manner,

(vi) four members at least one of whom is a member of the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes to be elected by the District Local Board from amongst its members in the prescribed manner, and

(vii) the District Village Panchayat Officer who shall be the Secretary to the Panchayat Mandal.

The Vice-Chairman of the Mandal is to be elected by the members from amongst themselves. The duration of the office of the members, other than ex-officio members, is four years. The business of the Panchayat Mandal is regulated by the Bombay District Village Panchayat Mandal (Conduct of Business) Rules, 1959. The meetings of the Panchayat Mandal are to be held at least once in a quarter during a calendar year. It has been laid down that the Panchayat Mandal, from time to time, may appoint one or more Committees from amongst themselves for securing the efficient discharge of its duties and functions. The main functions of the Panchayat Mandal are: (a) to encourage the establishment and to foster the development of Panchayats in the district; (b) to supervise and control the administration of Panchayats and (c) to perform such other functions as are imposed by the Act, and as the State Government may, from time to time, prescribe. The Panchayat Mandal shall have also powers to call for proceedings of a Panchayat and to call for information and to compel the Village Panchayat to take into consideration any objection which appears to the Mandal to exist to the doing of anything which is about to be done, or is being done by such Panchayat; or any information which the Panchayat Mandal is able to furnish, and which appears to the Panchayat Mandal to necessitate the doing of a certain thing by the Panchayat. The Panchayat Mandal can also compel the Panchayat to reduce the number of the staff maintained by it or the remuneration paid to them. The Panchayat Mandal can also delegate its powers, specified in sections 135, 137 (1), 138 (1) and 139 of the Village Panchayat Act, to its Chairman, Vice-Chairman or to the District Village Panchayat Officer.

Under section 142 of the Act, the Collector has powers of suspension and prohibition in respect of the execution of any order or resolution of a Panchayat which, in his opinion, is likely to cause injury or annoyance to the public or to lead to a breach of peace. In cases of emergency, the Collector can also provide for the execution of any work or the doing of any act which a Panchayat is empowered to execute or do, and the immediate execution or doing of which is, in his opinion, necessary for the health or safety of the public, and may direct that the expenses shall be forthwith paid by the Panchayat.

The audit of a Panchayat is carried out every year by a Sub-auditor or an Auditor appointed by Government and he has to forward a copy of the audit note to the District Village Panchayat Mandal.

The State Government has powers after consultation with the District Village Panchayat Mandal, to dissolve 01 supersede a Panchayat, if, in their opinion the Panchayat has exceeded or abused its powers or made persistent defaults in the performance of its obligatory duties; or persistently disobeyed any of the orders of the Panchayat Mandal. If a Panchayat is superseded, all its powers and duties will be exercised and performed by a person or persons appointed by the State Government. So far, none of the Village Panchayats has been superseded in Kolaba district.

Since June 1, 1959, the control of the cattle pounds is transferred to the Village Panchayats, and notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, every Panchayat within the limits of its jurisdiction shall, from time to time, select such places as it thinks fit to be public pounds, and may appoint, to be keepers of such pounds, such persons as may be approved by the District Magistrate. The pound-keeper so appointed is under the control of the Panchayat. The duties of the pound-keeper have been prescribed by the Bombay Village Panchayats (Cattle Pound) Rules, 1959.

Under section 169 of the Act, the State Government may, on the recommendation of the Panchayat Mandal, and after making such enquiries as Government may deem necessary, entrust to a Panchayat any or all of the functions and duties of a village accountant or Patel, if a Panchayat is ready and willing to undertake the responsibility of recovery of the land revenue under the provisions of the Bombay Land Revenue Code. But before that, the Panchayat has to take the approval of Gramsabha for taking such responsibility. The right of Government to collect land revenue, however, remains unaffected. The State Government have also powers to withdraw the powers of a Panchayat in this respect, if, in their opinion, a Panchayat exceeds or abuses its powers.

Government have appointed a District Village Panchayat Officer of the grade of District Deputy Collector for the development of Village Panchayats on sound and proper lines. He has to act as a Personal Assistant to the Collector so far as Village Panchayat matters are concerned. Several duties have also been placed on this Officer and he is expected to do everything that is possible to popularise Village Local Self-Government and to make the working of Village Panchayats really effective. He has also been made responsible for the preparation of the Annual Administration Report on the working of the Village Panchayats and its punctual submission to the Commissioner. At Taluka and Block level too, Government have created the posts of Village Panchayat Awal Karkuns and Extension Officer (Panchayat), respectively, for encouraging and fostering the development of Village Panchayats.

In pursuance of orders issued in Government Resolution, Local Self-Government and Public Health Department No. VPS-2458-P, dated 2-1-1959, the Block Development Officer is considered as an ex-officio Assistant District Village Panchayat Officer for Village Panchayat work so far as his Block area in concerned. He is responsible for Village Panchayat work, i.e., the organisation of Village Panchayat, fostering its development, giving advice and guidance to Village Panchayat and supervising its work. In short the duties of the Block Development Officer are of a supervisory nature in respect of village panchayat matters.

Under Government Resolution, Local Self-Government, No. VPS-2456-P, dated 24-6-1959, Government have introduced a uniform scheme, from the year 1958-59, for healthy competition of Village Panchayats among themselves and for giving prizes to the best Village Panchayats at divisional, district and taluka levels. Government have also prescribed rules for conducting the above competition. The Judging Committees, appointed by the District Village Panchayat Mandal, at taluka and district levels, have to assess the performance of Village Panchayats which have entered into the competition.

Government have got a scheme for imparting training to the Sarpanchas and members of Village Panchayats. For this purpose, Village Panchayat shibirs are held in each taluka and block, every year. The duration of the shibir extends over 3 to 5 days. Various subjects are discussed and lectures of distinguished persons are arranged at such shibirs. The authorities concerned are allowed to incur expenditure up to Rs. 20. Such shibirs-were held in Kolaba district during the year 1958-59 and 1959-60.

Nyaya Panchayats.

Under the new Village Panchayats Act (1958) the Nyaya Panchayats are to be established in a group of villages, not being less than five in number, to try petty Civil Suits and Criminal Cases. A Nyaya Panchayat consists of one person elected by each Panchayat in the prescribed manner. The term of office of a member of the Nyaya Panchayat shall expire with the term of the Panchayat which elected him. Nyaya Panchayat has to sit, for the hearing of a suit or trial of a case, in the village where such a suit or case has been instituted. The Secretary of the Village Panchayat of the village where the sitting of the Nyaya Panchayat is held has to act as the judicial clerk of the Nyaya Panchayat. The State Government has power to remove any member of the Nyaya Panchayat for reasons of misconduct in the discharge of his duties, or of any disgraceful conduct, or for neglect, refusal or incapacity in regard to the performance of his duties as a member of the Nyaya Panchayat. Pleaders, Vakils, etc., are not permitted to appear on behalf of any party in any suit or case.

No Nyaya Panchayat under the new set-up has so far been constituted in Kolaba district. The Nyaya Panchayats constituted under the old Act of 1933 are defunct.