Panchs, Sarpanchs cabinet ministers of their villages: Wajahat

Strengthen RTI: Noorani


Yousmarg (Budgam) June 23:  Chairman of National Commission for Minorities, Wajahat Habibullah on Saturday advocated devolution of powers to Panchayats in state and said their representatives should be made part of district development board meetings.
 Speaking at inaugural session of three day conference “Good governance and Panchayati Raj” here organized by Right To Information (RTI) Activists. “Panchs and Sarpanchs are cabinet ministers of their villages. Not only those, every resident of village is having the same power,” Wajahat said.
 The former divisional Kashmir added that they (Sarpanchs, Panchs and people) must meet regularly and discuss the development issue of their respective villages. “Sorry, here bureaucratic intervention has started to take their toll of these elected members.” Wajahat said.
 He said that the representatives from Panchayats should be made part of board meeting in every district. “Now they are responsible for the development of their areas and they know the need. It could be fulfilled once they are given the representation in the respective board meetings. Their representation will give them a chance to get their developmental and other plans finalized,” Wajahat said.
 He also asked the Sarpanchs and Panchs to explore the ways and means for income to their Panchayats.  “They have to explore such ways to earn money for their Panchayats. That money can be spent on development and salaries of these members,” he said.     Noted legal luminary and columnist, A G Noorani, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said that representatives from the Panchayats should be a part of State Finance Commission. He said that soul of the good governance is the Right To Information (RTI). “Here the need of hour is to strength the RTI institutions and that is guarantee of good governance,” he said.
 Speaking during the conference, Dr Mani Mala of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti Delhi said. “During the Panchayati elections I was here and read that 80 percent people have voted to elect Sarpanchs and Panchs. I developed an interest and now despite passing of 15 months these people have not been given the power,” she said and added that bureaucracy was one of hurdles in the devolution of powers. “These people should meet regularly and carry forward the development of their respective areas,” Dr Mani said. 
 Many a Sarpanchs also spoke during the conference and blamed the government for deception in devolution of power issue. “In last 15 months there have been 30 meetings to discuss the devolution of power and they were chaired by Chief Minister,” said Ghulam Muhammad, a Sarpanch from Chadoora. “After every meeting it was said that we are empowered, but where are those powers?” he asked.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 23 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 23 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 24 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST

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