Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Friday said that panchayat and civic body elections in the state will be held in April next year.
Addressing a public rally at Lakhanpur monin Kathua district, Sayeed said that he is committed to transfer power to the grass root levels which will make these institutions “autonomous and self sustaining’’.
The last time, Panchayat elections were held in the state in 2011. However, nearly 33,000 elected sarpanches and panches are yet to get powers provided under 73rd amendment to the Indian Constitution even when their five year term is expiring in June 2016. The Omar Abdullah government had given them powers to monitor execution of development works initiated by 14 departments in their respective areas, but this did not satisfy the sarpanches and panches in view of Block Development Officers holding the powers to draw and disburse funds.
The urban local body elections were held way back in 2005. The state government has incurred losses worth Rs 169 crore during the last four years on account of withholding of Central assistance on ground of non-holding of elections to urban local bodies,
Sources said that the process for holding elections to both the urban and rural local bodies has begun, with Election Commission setting into motion the process for summery revision of electoral rolls beginning Thursday. To facilitate both the municipal and panchayat elections, it has for the first time decided to segregate urban and rural voters.
The summary revision will conclude with the publication of final electoral rolls in first week of January 2016.
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