October 2020 News

AJKPC Welcomes Amendments In J-K Panchayati Raj Act

20 October 2020

Jammu: The All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) on Wednesday welcomed the recent amendments in the J&K Panchayati Raj Act and said the people of the Union Territory were waiting for over 70 years to see 'real empowerment of local bodies'. The premier body of elected panchayat representatives cautioned the panches and sarpanches to remain vigilant from 'negative forces who are always inimical to India and democracy and might mislead the public on one pretext or other'. The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday amended the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act to provide for setting up of District Development Councils (DDC) in each district which will have directly elected members. The DDCs of each district shall have 14 constituencies after their delimitation by the respective deputy commissioners, an official spokesperson had said, asserting that the move marked the implementation of the entire 73rd Amendment Act in the union territory. AJKPC President Anil Sharma congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for taking such historic and courageous steps to empower the panchayati raj institutions in Jammu and Kashmir. 'All the people of Jammu and Kashmir were waiting for over 70 years to see real empowerment of local bodies and it is time to celebrate when the decision is announced to give real autonomy to rural local bodies,' he told reporters here. Calling it a 'historic move', Sharma said 'with these amendments, all major provisions of 73rd Amendment of Indian Constitution have been extended to Jammu and Kashmir. This is what panchayat members had been fighting for'. Sharma said around 40,000 elected panchayat members of the union territory are hopeful and request the union government to immediately announce the elections of the vacant panchayat seats and also hold parallel polls of the territorial district constituencies. He also demanded that these elections must be conducted on non-party basis as panchayati raj institutions are meant for community development and must not be dragged into political issues. 'The AJKPC is also hopeful to get good news soon with regard to constitution of separate Election Commission and Financial Commission for panchayats as they have been promised that the government is mulling to constitute a separate Election Commission that would hold timely elections of panchayats without any interference from the regional government,' he said. Sharma also paid homage to all those panches, sarpanches and Block Development Council (BDC) members who laid down their lives for strengthening this institution and demanded adequate relief to the family members of those who were killed during the last 10 years. Without identifying anyone, he said panches and sarpanches need to remain vigilant from negative forces who are always inimical to India and democracy. 'These individuals and organisations might mislead people and panches, sarpanches or the BDC chairperson on one pretext or the other (with regard to the recent amendments),' the AJKPC president said. Criticising the previous governments at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir, he said they had only made 'hollow promises' with people, especially with the elected panchayat members but none of them was sincere to strengthen them.