No separate Panchayat, Civic polls

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By Fast Kashmir on 09/10/2017.

No separate Panchayat, Civic polls


‘Govt want elections to be conducted in all three regions’

Srinagar, Oct 9: Despite demands of separate Panchayat, civic polls for Jammu and Ladkah regions, the government has made it clear that these elections won’t be held separately.
Official sources said that due to the unfavorable situation in Kashmir region, political parties from Jammu had demanded that Panchayat and civic polls should be conducted in Jammu and Ladakh regions so that these two regions get centre’s funding.
However, sources told KNS that the government has decided not to hold polls in any of the regions. “The government wants elections should be conducted in all three regions. This means the polls won’t be held in Jammu and Ladakh regions separately,” a senior official said.
The state election office can’t take the decision on panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir unless gets a nod from the state government in absence of State Election Commission.
Elections to panchayats were last held in April-May 2011 during Omar Abdullah led National Conference-Congress regime after a gap of 37 years. The government postponed thesepolls for several times in the last two years year.
Between 2011 and 2015, the government said that 10 Sarpanches were killed and three injured by gunmen in the valley while 20 resigned following threats from militant outfits.
The centre has also withheld funds around Rs 1,000 crore for the last seven years that was budgeted to the state after forming civic body, a senior official of the Housing and Urban Development said.
Official sources said the state government had requested the centre several times to release the Rs 1000 crore for urban local bodies of the state as an exceptional case that the situation was not conducive in the valley to hold polls for the past many years.
As the civic polls could not be held since 2011, the official said the state government had again requested to release these funds for developmental works. “The centre told the state government recently that these funds can’t be released in view of non-holding of urban local bodies’polls in J&K,” the official said. “The state will lose further funds if elected municipal bodies are not in place.”
The centre has budgeted around Rs 1300 crore to the centre as per the 14th Finance Commission Awards from 2015-2020.
Official sources, said the ULBs were entitled for Rs 350 crores during 2016-2017. These funds were not provided to the state in absence of elected municipalities. (KNS)