The panchayat elections in Punjab may be due in a few months but the SAD-BJP government in state is yet to fulfil the promise it had made during the last panchayat elections in May 2008 pertaining to provide Rs 3 lakh to such villages that elects its panchayat unanimously and not by electoral process.
The special dole,totalling nearly Rs 84.18 crore,was to be granted to 2,806 villages,which elected its leaders under the special encouragement scheme announced by the government. The governments aim was to help save funds utilised in mobilising election machinery while awarding the villages for promoting peace and brotherhood.
However,till date not a single penny has been provided to panchayats by the state government.
Information procured under Right to Information (RTI) Act by Punjab Human Empowerment League (HELP) reveals that state Rural and Development Department is yet to issue any grant in this direction even as the next elections are due. The department officials said that they had sent a proposal to the Planning Department,but it refused to take a call on the same.
General Secretary HELP,PS Kitna said,This reflects how the basic institution of democratic set up of the country is being dishonoured by the government.
It may be noted that Gurdaspur,Hoshiarpur and Firozepur districts led by unanimously electing 368,309 and 273 village panchayats respectively. Jalandhar,Ropar and Ludhiana chose 223,218 and 202 village panchayats respectively without elections.
Kitna said hundreds of posts of panches and sarpanches are lying vacant owing to many reasons but the state government has failed to get the vacant seats filled.
As per the Punjab Panchyati Raj Act 1994,state government needs to fill such posts through elections within six months of them falling vacant.