Omar seeks financial assistance for Sarpanchs, Panchs

Writes To Jairam Ramesh

DAMAGE CONTROL?

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Jan 18: In a damage control exercise Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has shot a letter to Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh seeking release of Rs 100 crore for monthly honorarium and insurance cover for 33000 Sarpanchs and Panchs in J&K.
 The move comes at a time when fear has gripped many Sarpanchs and Panchs after fresh spate of attacks on them forcing dozens of them to tender resignations before the media.
 Sources said the Chief Minister wrote a letter a few days ago to Jairam Ramesh for financial assistance to boast the morale of fear-stricken Panchs and Sarpanchs.
 The State has made its last ditch effort to seek funds from Government of India before the upcoming budget session. “If Government of India refuses the financial assistance, the State would be left with no other option other than to keep the amount in its annual budget 2013-14 to be tabled in the budget session scheduled for February-March in Jammu,” sources said.
 Commissioner Secretary Rural Development Department Farooq Ahmed Peer said the State needs at least Rs 70 to Rs 72 Crore to meet the requirement of monthly honorarium and insurance cover of Sarpanchs and Panchs. “We have also directed the insurance companies to frame a different product for Sarpanchs and Panchs,” he said.
 To give impetus to the release of funds by the Government of India, all four MLCs, Ali Muhammad Dar, Ghulam Nabi Monga, Shahnaz Ganai and Sham Lal Bhagat, elected to upper house from the Panchayat quota recently would call on Union Rural Development Minister next week in New Delhi. “We will seek release of Rs 100 crore and explain the situation to him (Ramesh),” said Dar.
 Monga said apart from seeking funds for insurance and monthly honorarium, they would seek special financial package by citing “security concerns of Sarpanchs and Panchs in JK.”
 Meanwhile, All J&K Panchayat Conference (AJKPC), spokesman Ghulam Hassan Panzoo said they were not against the honorarium and insurance cover, but the larger question of empowerment of Panchayat representatives continues to remain unanswered.
 “We are living under constant fear. Besides, the people who voted in our favour have already started maintaining a distance from us. Government which used us as scapegoats earlier by inviting us in functions has also stopped to do so now,” he said. “We continue to remain at a place, where we were at the time of contesting elections. The question remains as not a single department out of the 14 has transferred powers to us so far.”

Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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