Kashmir governor directs timely polls to urban bodies, panchayats

Jammu, Jan 28 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N.Vohra on Thursday directed the administration to complete all pending work so that elections to panchayats and urban bodies are held on time in the state.

“The governor was reviewing the matter with Chief Secretary B.R. Sharma and Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu in a meeting held at the civil secretariat,” said an official statement.”The governor was informed that the chief electoral officer has published the updated electoral roll after conclusion of summary revision, on January 11, 2016 with reference to qualifying date as 1st January, 2016, the rlectoral roll pertaining to different wards of local bodies are being segregated from the main electoral roll and shall be put to public domain in the second week of February for objections and the final electoral roll is envisaged to become available by the end March,” it said.

Vohra was informed that the process of reservation of wards for women, in accordance with the provision for reservation of one third seats for women, is also being concurrently undertaken, it said.

He advised the chief secretary to draw up an action plan for holding of elections to all the urban local bodies in April this year, noting “this will enable democratic decentralisation of powers to the institutions at the grass root level in the urban areas to address all the issues relating to urban local self government” and also “enable the state to derive maximum benefit from the 14th Finance Commission Award”.

The 14th Finance Commission Award provides Rs.3,463.73 crore and Rs.1,305.64 crore for rural and urban local bodies, respectively, and Rs.346.73 crore and Rs.261.13 crore as Performance Grants for rural and urban local bodies, it was noted and that the state lost Rs.169.29 crore for non-conduct of urban local bodies elections under the 13th Finance Commission Award.

“Further, no grants have been released to the state against the allocation of Rs. 125.30 crore during 2015-16 in the absence of duly constituted municipalities,” said the statement.

Vohra also reviewed the status of preparations with regard to holding of panchayat elections later this year, and was informed that their constitution after the elections in 2011, was notified on July 14, 2011 with a term of five years and as such, the new panchayats will have to be in position on or before July 14, 2016.

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