73rd amendment to put NC-Cong bonhomie to test

Have Finalized Report: Soz; Ready To Democratize 1989 Act Further: Sagar

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Dec 8: Following bonhomie during the recently concluded Legislative Council polls, the National Conference-Congress combine is now set to face each other over the incorporation of ‘left-over’ provisions of the 73rd amendment to the JK Panchayat Raj Act.
 While the State Congress has finalized its report on the matter and shall table it for discussion before the Coalition Coordination Committee, the ruling National Conference says it was ‘ready to democratize the Act further.’
 “We will sort out issues amicably and evolve a consensus over some provisions that we want to be incorporated in the J&K Panchayat Raj Act of 1989. We have finalized our report on the matter,” State Congress Chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz told Greater Kashmir over phone from New Delhi.
 Soz, who is also the CC chairman, said he would convene the meeting soon in Jammu to deliberate on the matter. 
 Senior National Conference leader and Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Ali Muhammad Sagar said the party would “examine the Congress report seriously.” “We will go through what our alliance partner has suggested. We are ready to incorporate any provision aimed to strengthen the existing Panchayati Raj further,” he said.
 Greater Kashmir was first to report the provisions that Congress wants to incorporate into the State Act. The Congress party had formed two committees—one in Kashmir headed by MLA Dooru Ghulam Ahmed Mir and the other in Jammu headed by MLC Ravinder Sharma—to suggest provisions to be added in the state Act.
 After threadbare discussions on the issue, the state Congress evolved a consensus that there was a dire need of “constitutional guarantee to the five year term of Panchayat Raj representatives” as the party believes that “a single untoward political development can result in declaring Panchayats null and void.”
 Sources, privy to the report, said that the party has also advocated that the audit of funds, to be given to the Panchayats, be conducted by the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India.
 The CC meeting of NC-Congress assumes significance in view of the fact that the two parties are in a ‘better coordination’ owing to bonhomie they enjoyed over LC polls which led to the clean sweep by the Coalition.
 The Congress also wants monthly honorarium and insurance cover for the Panchayat representatives—the expenses of which should be borne by the state government. Though the representatives of both the parties are comfortable to seek honorarium and insurance cover, the constitutional guarantee of five year-term to Sarpanchs and Panchs is set to trigger a fresh debate.
 “The constitutional guarantee to the five-year term is the crux of our report on provisions.  We want the powers to dissolve the Panchayats to lie with the State Cabinet and not even with a Minister in-charge,” said Ghulam Nabi Monga, who was recently elected as MLC from the Panchayat quota from Kashmir.  He said at present even a director can term the Panchayats null and void. “So there has to be a guarantee to the term of Panchayat representatives as they have put their lives on the line for strengthening democracy,” he said.
 Pertinently, Congress had demanded postponement of already-announced Block Development Council elections on the pretext that the “first tier was incomplete and the party wanted some more provisions in the state Act.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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