JAMMU – Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Monday announced the creation of Panchayat Lok Adalats under the Panchayat Raj System in the State besides dedicating 41 newly constructed Model Panchayat Ghars to Halqa Panchayats while inaugurating one of it at Bhore-West near here.
Addressing a big gathering of panches, sarpanches and citizens of the area on the occasion, Omar Abdullah said that government is determined to provide Panchayat Ghars to all 1788 panchayat halqas which are presently without this facility during the current tenure of the coalition government.
The State Government has launched a comprehensive programme of construction of 1161 panchayat ghars across the State at a cost of Rs. 232 crores. In addition an amount of Rs. 10.32 crores has been released to the panchayat halqas for furniture and fixture of panchayat ghars. The 41 panchayat ghars which were dedicated to the panchayat halqas by the Chief Minister today involved an expenditure of Rs. 8.20 crore.
The Chief Minister said that the efficacy of a well developed and empowered Panchayat Raj is essentially important for a State like Jammu and Kashmir where affairs of the governance cannot be performed at the secretariat or divisional levels. “We have geographical diversities, difficult terrains, remote, far-flung, inaccessible and hilly areas”, he said adding that holistic development under this situation can only be assured when grass root level representatives of people are involved in plan formulation and execution of development works.
The Chief Minister said that this was the objective before the government when it announced holding of panchayat election and successfully completed the task. He said while various powers have already been transferred to panchayats many more are in the pipeline to give these institutions more strength and authority.
“Panchayats to us are just like children to their parents. We are nurturing these institutions and help them to stand strong and powerful so that they are able and capable of rendering service to the people who voted in huge numbers for electing panchayat members”, he said and maintained that government has launched a mega programme of imparting necessary trainings to panches and sarpanches so that they can deliver properly and utilize powers entrusted to them. “I will ask the Rural Development Department to involve NGOs of national repute in the massive training of panchayat members”, he said adding that services of the experts in this regard besides those of IMPA are required to make the training programme more extensive and comprehensive.
The Chief Minister said that he would discuss the demands and issues raised by panches and sarpanches with him during electioneering of MLC seats, with the Union Rural Development Minister and seek Central support to resolve these issues and accommodate the demands.
Minister for Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar in his speech said that 500 more panchayat ghars would be completed by the end of March this financial year and handed over to the panchayat halqas. He said that the announcement of Panchayat Lok Adalats by the Chief Minister today has enhanced the jurisdiction of panchayats and made them more powerful.
Sagar said that coalition government is committed to empower panchayats fully and involve panches and sarpanches in the development process at all levels. He said various services already stand transferred to panchayats and many more are being transferred soon.
Minister for Revenue and Rehabilitation, Raman Bhalla who represents the area in Legislative Assembly, thanked the Chief Minister for inaugurating Model Panchayat Ghar in his constituency besides announcing Panchayat Lok Adalats.