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Election to PRI meaningless unless sarpanchs are empowered, AICC member

Posted on Jan 30, 09:44AM | UNI

Srinagar, Jan 29 : All India Congress Committee (AICC) member and former Jammu and Kashmir minister Abdul Gani Vakil today said that elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) was meaningless unless sarpanchs and panchs are empowered fully in the state

Holding of Panchayat Elections after three decades have paved the way for empowerment of rural people and transfer of authority from the Central level down to villages, Mr Vakil said in a statement.

He said Panchayat elections were meaningless unless Panchs and Sarpanchs were not empowered fully

Hel urged Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to incorporate 73rd and 74th amendments without which the Panchayat elections held in the state would become irrelevant

He said benefits of Panchayts have not trickled to the grassroot level as the state government has failed to empower Panchayats

Congress, particulary youth wing, had been demanding implementation of the amendments in the state to empower the sarpanchs and panchs

However, the National Conference (NC) had rejected the demand and said state Panchayat Raj would be amended to give more powers to these public representatives

The government has already transferred 14 departments to panchayats in the state. However, the sapanch and panchs alleged that the government employees were not cooperating

The sarpanchs and panchs are demanding security after four of their colleagues were killed and dozens of others attacked in the Kashmir valley in the past one year

They rejected the government offer to provide them an insurance cover besides intensifying patrolling in some selected areas where threat perception was more serious

Hundreds of sarpanchs and panchs have resigned, particularly in north Kashmir district of Baramulla, through paid advertisements in local newspapers

They alleged that Block Development Officers (BDOs) and Deputy Commissioners are not accepting their resignations