AJKPC protests, demands 2-yrs extension for existing Panchayats

All J&K Panchayat Conference members staging protest in Jammu on Wednesday.
All J&K Panchayat Conference members staging protest in Jammu on Wednesday.

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, July 5: All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayats Conference (AJKPC), the frontline body of elected Panchayat representatives, today staged a strong demonstration and demanded that the Government should immediately extend the term of existing Panchayats in J&K by two years.
The AJKPC leaders said the Government should conduct the polls for all three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), as the guidelines of 73rd Amendment of Indian Constitution, together for bringing vibrancy in the system.
Led by the AJKPC president, Anil Sharma, the demonstrators reiterated their demand for extending term of the existing Panchayats in J&K by at least two more years and hold Panchayat elections in January 2026.
“The term of existing District Development Councils (DDCs) will end in November-December 2025. The guidelines of 73rd Amendment state all the three-tiers of the PRIs should have co-terminus and elections to these bodies should be conducted within a span of 45 days. The simultaneous elections will ensure vibrancy in the rural bodies,” Sharma said.
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As the term of the District Development Councils shall end in 2025 therefore, there is no logic to end the term of the Panchayats prior to that, Sharma said.
He said the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha must take a call and grant extension in the term of Panchayat units in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Justifying his point, Sharma said that the term of existing Panchayats in J&K would be expiring in Nov-Dec 2023 and there are rumours that the Government may dissolve the existing Panchayats even before the due date and this is not acceptable to the Panchayat members and they would strongly oppose it.
AJKPC leader also demanded immediate clearance of all outstanding material liabilities of the people under MGNREGA scheme who had been waiting for their payments since 2016-17. “The patience of these people is running out and the Government should immediately clear their liabilities for the period 2016-17 to 2021-22 without any further delay,” Sharma said.
He also demanded immediate resolution of all issues of temporary Guards/Maalis-Chowkidars of the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department who have contributed their land for various infrastructural developments in their respective Panchayats.
Prominent among those who joined the demonstration were Jatinder Singh, Ram Saroop Sharma, Ravinder Singh, Rohit Sharma, Rattan Lal Sharma, Ramesh Kumar, Hans Raj Thakur, Koushal Kumar, Balwan Singh and others.
Meanwhile, Panchayat Conference members in Srinagar also held similar demonstration demanding three tier Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir simultaneously. They said holding elections for only just first tier (Halqa Panchayat ) in the current year will not be just and genuine if other two tiers like BDC and DDC continued. This is pertinent to mention here that the Halqa Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir are due in December 2023 while the elections to 2nd tier (Block Development Councils) are due in November 2024 and the elections to the 3rd tier (District Development Councils) are due in December 2025. Senior leader Shafiq Mir was leading the group of PRI members.