Sarpanchs, Panchs can fine smokers
Part Of Empowerment Package: Sagar
Srinagar, Dec 1: Under pressure from various quarters to empower Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir, government on Thursday said that newly elected Panchs and Sarpanchs have been empowered to impose fine under Anti-Tobacco Act.
Talking to Greater Kashmir Minister for Panchayati Raj, Ali Muhammad Sagar said that government has cleared all the proposals to empower Panchayats fully. “Empowering Panchs and Sarpanchs to impose fine on smokers is just a part of it,” he added.
Sagar said that there has been no delay from his ministry’s side to empower Panchayats.
“It seems officers are taking time to implement the orders. There has been no delay from our side,” he added.
Asked whether Panchs and Sarpanchs would be provided any security when they go on anti-smoking drive, Sagar said, “Providing security to them won’t be possible.”
Pertinently, the Panchayat elections were held in JK, after three decades, earlier this year.
Government taking time to provide powers to newly elected Panchs and Sarpanchs had evoked strong criticism from various quarters. More than 35000 Panchs and Sarpanchs were elected during the 16-phase election. Elections were initially fought on non partisan basis. However, after the results were declared various mainstream parties claimed their candidates had emerged victorious.
“Amidst claims and counter claims of the parties the main issue of empowering Panchs and Sarpanchs got buried somewhere. After six months they have been given the powers to impose fine on smokers. What a mockery?” said a politician wishing not to be named.
He said even a bus conductor has a power to impose a fine on smokers. “So there is no big deal about it,” he added.
Sources said that local MLAs in many areas were not in favour of giving full-fledged powers to Panchs and Sarpanchs. MLAs, according to sources, believe that if Panchayats are empowered they will become “irrelevant,” and no one would come to them to get their problems solved. “Government had put the matter of empowering Panchayats in cold storage but due the pressure exerted by the centre, state government has decided to bring Panchs and Sarpanchs in the limelight,” they added.
Minister for Panchayati Raj, Ali Muhammad Sagar, denied that government had put the proposal to empower Panchayats in cold storage. “There is nothing like it. All the formalities have been completed. We have allocated separate funds for Panchayats and things will start moving soon.”
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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