Srinagar, Dec 7: Sarpanches and Panchs of nine panchayat halqas of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Wednesday held a protest against Chairman Block Development Council (BDC) Uri Mohd Rafiq Balote over his failure to take up the developmental works and meet the expectations of the general public.
The protesters blocked the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road near Sub-District Hospital (SDH) Uri for around two hours. They were chanting slogans against Assistant Commissioner Panchayat (ACP) Baramulla and Block Development Officer (BDO) Uri.
Earlier, these sarpancs and panchs of block Uri had submitted no-confidence motion against the BDC Uri. Following which an order was issued by the BDO Uri asking all the sarpanchs to attend a meeting in this regard on Wednesday.
However, the protesting sarpanchs alleged that authorities present in the meeting didn’t let them present their side of the story. “We were not given a chance to speak. It was decided verbally by the Assistant Commissioner Panchayat (ACP) that Balote will again become the BDC,” said Fayaz Abassi, sarpanch of Isham village.
“We have the support of nine sarpanchs while BDC has four sarpanchs with him. But unfortunately, they still gave the decision in Balote’s favour. It seems that officials are hand in glove with the BDC,” he said.
“We were told by the officials that voting will be held today. But nothing such happened. The officials declared Balote as BDC again though we don’t want him. We demand that he should be removed immediately,” said Mohd Shafi Ganaie, sarpanch of Nambla A village.
“The BDC is an incompetent person. He is not attending his office regularly and remains absent. He is not performing his duties and is instead involved in gross misconduct with panchs and sarpanchs and has failed to redress the demands of our areas,” said Shahid Ul Islam, sarpanch of Nambla B village.
Javaid Ahmad Malik, sarpanch of Kalgai village said that they will resign if their demand was not met at the earliest. “If our demand is not addressed, we wouldn’t continue as sarpanchs. Let the officials run the panchayats themselves,” he said.
Later, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Uri Jatin Kishore and other officials of the tehsil reached the spot and assured the protesters that the issue will be taken up with the higher authorities and following which they dispersed peacefully. A rally was also carried out by the BDC and his supporters in Uri to celebrate his win for being elected again as the chairman.
However, Assistant Commissioner Panchayat, Baramulla Gulzar Ahmad Khan who presided over the meeting told Greater Kashmir, “Fearing law and order situation in Uri, we are now holding the voting for chairman BDC in the day after tomorrow.”