JAMMU, Dec 7: Intensifying its campaign in support of their genuine demands, elected Sarpanches and Panches held massive protest at Jammu and lambasted authorities for taking their issues casually.
While as on-going hunger strike of Panchayat members under the leadership of AJKPC state president, Anil Sharma and Jatinder Singh against the non-payment of Rs 1,000-crore MGNREGA liabilities entered the 5th day, Panches and Sarpanches of Samba district held demonstration at Jammu in support of their demands.
Shouting slogans against authorities for taking problems of rural people casually, Panchayat members regretted that tall claims of the Government to strengthen Panchayati Raj System in J&K were just an eye-wash because those at the helm of the affairs were not interested to decentralize powers.
“We have launched a decisive battle this time. We will take our fight to the logical conclusion”, Ram Swaroop Sharma, Sarpanch said and vowed that this agitation would be intensified in the days to come with the involvement of villagers also. He said that all programmes and policies formulated by the Government for the empowerment of Panchayats were confined only on papers.
Prominent Panchayat members who participated in the protest were BDC chairman from Gujroo Nagrota, Abha Khajuria, Sarpanch Jatinder Singh, Des Raj Baghat, Sarpanch Vijay Choudhary, Sarpanch Ravinder Singh, Sarpanch Hans Raj Thakur, Sarpanch Surinder Singh, Sarpanch Narinder Singh, Sarpanch Rohit Sharma, Sarpanch Mohd Aslam, Sarpanch S Kashmira Singh and others.
Meanwhile, the ongoing hunger strike started by the elected Panchayat members under the leadership of AJKPC state president Anil Sharma against the non-payment of MGNREGA liabilities entered the fifth day. The Sarpanches and Panches from various parts of Kashmir Valley and Jammu division continued their hunger strike at Dogra Chowk and raised noisy slogans against the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj department. They alleged that senior RDD officials were misleading the Union Government and the Lieutenant Governor over MGNREGA issue.
They also demanded adequate security cover to Sarpanches and Panches residing in vulnerable areas and enhancement of their monthly honorarium. Meanwhile, condition of two Sarpanches has deteriorated due to fast for the last four days.