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Omar aims at more power to panchayats

Posted by on February 11, 2011 0 Comment

Jammu, Feb 11 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said that separate election and finance commissions would be set up for panchayats before the upcoming polls in conformity with the 73rd amendment of the Indian constitution.

“The government will introduce bills seeking the constitution of a separate election and finance commission for panchayats in the forthcoming session of the legislative assembly,” Abdullah told a meeting of public representatives, including legislators and senior officers of Rajouri and Poonch districts, Thursday evening.

There was fear among opposition groups over seriousness of the state government in holding the panchayat polls despite an announcement Wednesday that three-tier panchayat polls would be held on non-party basis in Jammu and Kashmir.

The move was rejected as “half-hearted” by the opposition parties, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The chief minister said: “The government has decided to conduct the panchayat polls on non-party basis.”

According to the spirit of the 73rd constitutional amendment, he said, the Election Commission would be established in the state for which a bill will be introduced to amend the state’s Panchayati Raj Act, 1989.

“Similarly, for setting up a Finance Commission, a bill will be introduced to amend the Panchayati Raj Act 1989,” he said.

“Elected representatives at district level will also be empowered to ensure efficient monitoring of development schemes at the grassroots level,” he added.

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