Panchayat elections on cards, infrastructure missing
Srinagar, Nov 7: Even as the Government is contemplating to hold Panchayat elections in the state in near future, the basic infrastructure and manpower seems to be missing at the ground level, particularly in Kashmir division.
In every district a District Panchayat Officer should be in place to monitor all the functions of the Panchayats at district level. Under Panchayat Raj Act 1989, District Panchayat Officer is authorised to deal with Panchayat elections, constitute and dissolve the Panchayat, take care of the assets of the Panchayat and to preside over the Panchayat meetings.
Sources in the Rural Development Department said among the 12 districts of Kashmir division, only two districts have District Panchayat Officers, Varmul and Pulwama, while in the remaining districts the posts are vacant. Interestingly, contrary to it in all the districts of Jammu division posts have been filled.
According to official records there are 4139 Panchayats in the State with 2170 in Kashmir and 1969 in Jammu division.
Pertinently, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah last month in a meeting with Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh said that Panchayat elections would be held in a few months, but nothing practical has been done on ground yet.
“Due to the unavailability of Panchayat bodies the Total Sanitation Campaign, a 75 per cent centrally sponsored scheme, which is under execution is facing lot of problems in its implementation,” sources said.
“Administration has constituted committees in the Panchayat Halqas to execute the schemes but accountability and transparency in implementation is difficult to achieve,” they said, adding that the Panchayat elections were the only alternative to bring transparency in governance at ground level.
But when DPO were not in position in Kashmir division, it was of no meaning of conducting election or bringing transparency in implementation of any scheme here. Sources say the Government had adopted a biased policy when it comes to implementation of developmental schemes in Kashmir. He said Government had kept all the DPOs in place in Jammu, which had provided easy way for the implementation of the developmental schemes in Jammu division.
A District Panchayat Officer, pleading anonymity, said the Government had issued formal orders to promote and post required number of Block Development Officers as District Panchayat Officers on the basis of seniority list. But due to the intervention of some bureaucrats the posting of DPOs was getting delayed. He said, however, these bureaucrats had posted two blue eyed officials as DPO in the Jammu division recently, who did not fall in seniority list.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Ali Muhammad Sagar said, “Panchayat elections are likely to be conducted early next year. Exercise is going on and Cabinet has to finalize the dates for it.” Admitting that there were some vacancies in the Kashmir division, he said, “We are promoting some Assistant Development Commissioners and Project Officers as DPOs to fulfil all the posts before elections.”
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Nov 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Nov 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 8 Nov 2009 00:00:00 IST
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