Stakeholders oppose tweaking of J&K Panchayati Raj Act

1 month ago 32
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SRINAGAR: After the Centre implemented the

73rd Constitutional Amendment Act

in J&K, tweaking the Jammu and Kashmir

Panchayati Raj

Act, 1989, to pave the way for creation of District Development Councils (DDCs), the move has drawn stiff opposition from a split Panchayat Conference group.
“For each district, there shall be a District Development Council, having jurisdiction over the entire district, excluding such portions of the district as are included in a Municipality or Municipal Corporation constituted under any

law

for the time being in force,” states the Union Territory of

Jammu and Kashmir

Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Fourth Order, 2020, issued by the Union home ministry on October 16, 2020. The order clearly states that this has been done “with the intent to empower” Panchayati Raj in the UT at the grassroots level.
Chairman of All J&K Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) Shafiq Mir said the central move will create confusion in the blocks, result in a clash with panchayat members and weaken the Panchayati Raj system in J&K.
Barring JKAPNI party, the main regional parties have already announced to boycott the upcoming bypolls to 13,000 panchayat seats.
The already-elected panchayat members are anguished as they feel the provisions of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act will snatch their powers.
Under the Act, 14 constituencies have been created in each district called ‘Territorial Constituencies’. These constituencies will also have the jurisdiction to interfere in the developmental works of already-elected Block Development Councils (BDCs), according to Mir.
Speaking to TOI, Mir expressed his anguish and resentment against the amendment, saying that this was an attempt to downgrade the Panchayati Raj system in J&K.
However, the other split group of AJKPC headed by Anil Sharma has welcomed the central move, saying it will ensure autonomous and constitutional status to 4,125 panchayats, besides mandatory panchayat elections after every 5 years.
Mainstream parties like National Conference and PDP had already boycotted 2018 panchayat polls and are all set to do the same in the bypolls to protest against the scrapping of special status of the erstwhile state of J&K.
However, JKAPNI party of Altaf Bukhari is keen to contest panchayat polls. “We will join the polls whenever held as it will be a step towards empowering the people, who would decide their priority of development works in their respective blocks and villages,” he said

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