Hardeep Singh Bedi
NEW DELHI: After the successful election on Monday to complete the first tier of the Panchayati Raj in Jammu and Kashmir, the DPN Party Chairman and Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hasan Mir exhorted the government to complete remaining two tiers of the Panchayati Raj as soon as possible to ensure peoples’ governance in the state.
It is notable that amid tight security cover, defying poll boycott call given by Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani and braving cold weather conditions, panchayat members turned out in large numbers to exercise their franchise on Monday to elect four Legislative Council members under the panchayat quota. The counting for these elections is on 6th December.
Talking to State Times at Chankyapuri Guest House, the Agriculture Minister congratulated Omar Abdullah led coalition government for completing the first tier of the three-tier Panchayati Raj in the state. He, however, urged the government to initiate the process of elections to the block and district level so that “People at the grass root level are empowered”.
“People are empowered only when they run the government. Though the elections to the State Assembly are held regularly but in the absence of local bodies not only the democracy is incomplete but people are not empowered because the governance is being done through bureaucracy,” said Mir. He said that “because there is a lack of local bodies set up in the state therefore the fund coming from the centre for the welfare of the people is not reaching up to them and hence is lapsed”.
Talking about the remaining tiers of the Panchayati Raj, Mir said, “Of course there is shortcoming in the J and K Panchayati Raj Act that it doesn’t have provision for the representation of women and weaker section of the society, but the government should initiate the process to remove this anomaly so that the elections to the block level and district level are held without any further delay.”
Talking about the Monday elections, Mir said that “the turnout of around 90 percent clearly shows that people of Jammu and Kashmir are ready to take responsibility of the governance and now the onus is on our shoulders to empower them as soon as possible”.