The last Panchayat election was a significant event in the history of the State as it had come after a long gap of nearly two decades. Moreover holding elections in the valley in face of threat from the militants needed determination and courage on the part of the people who were fighting these elections and the Government that was eager to accomplish a process of empowering the ordinary people in true spirit of the democratic dispensation of the State.
However, the question that is often asked is whether the Government has kept the promise it had made to the people of the State about how it would recognize and appreciate the effort of the people in general in making Panchayati Raj a success. The implementation part of the scheme is that each Panchayat Halqa meaning area shall have a Panchayat Ghar which would be the place of meeting of village Panches to administer justice and fair deal to the people of the village. The Government had committed to provide employment to a person belong to a family that had volunteered to give land for the construction of a Panchayat Ghar. We have learnt that in more than 250 cases where the owners of land offered land for the Panchayat Ghars, nobody of the donor family was given employment despite their repeated requests. Here is a case. For last 19 years, family of Javaid Ahmad Dar, 33, has been running from pillar to post to get a job, which was promised to them after they voluntarily donated land for the construction of Panchayat Ghar at their village in Kotipora in Budgam district of Central Kashmir. The Government promised a job to his father in exchange for the land. They have been visiting every office but to no avail. The Block Development Officers give a deaf ear to their pleas. There is not a single door which he did not knock to find solution to his case. During the fag end of the nineties, a bullet ripped through his skull, damaged his power of speech and rendered his right arm disabled. He is the sole bread earner and with 75 percent disability. This is just one case and there are many of them waiting for justice which may or may not be meted out to them. And we should not forget that people volunteering to work for Panchayati Raj are the target of militants who want to scuttle the scheme by creating fear in the minds of people. Keeping this in view, the Government should not assume ostrich like behaviour towards the people who opt for good governance and Panchayati Raj in the State.