* Fast enters 7th day, condition of 2 deteriorates
JAMMU, Dec 9: All Jammu Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC), today slammed the Union Government for paying only lip service to Sarpanches and Panches without bothering about the real issues confronting them.
On the seventh and penultimate day of 168-hour-long hunger strike launched by the AJKPC under the leadership of J&K UT president, Anil Sharma against non-clearance of Rs 1,000-crore MGNREGA liabilities, hundreds of Sarpanches and Panches different parts of Jammu and Kashmir joined the movement and held a strong demonstration at the dharna site, Dogra Chowk here.
The protesting Panchayat members raised slogans against the Union Government and demanded that the Centre should immediately clear all liabilities under MGNREGA scheme and fulfill other genuine demands of Sarpanches and Panches in J&K without any delay.
“The Central Government has showed no concern in mitigating the sufferings of poor labourers who executed works under MGNREGA Scheme three to four years ago but did not get their wages till date. It is also least bothered to the genuine issues of Panchayat members and it has resorted to lip service only in the name of empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs),” the speakers said.
Anil Sharma, also took a dig at the Centre for its failure to address the genuine aspirations of Panchayat members, saying, “The government’s much-talked slogans for empowering J&K Panchayats appear to be only on papers as the it has turned a blind eye towards the miseries of poor labourers who are yet to get their dues. We have been observing hunger strike for the past seven days but no functionary of Government bothered to visit us which is quite unfortunate and shameful, ” he added.
“We want to assure rural masses that our fight for their genuine rights will continue and we will not succumb to the pressure tactics of authorities. We will not even bother to sacrifice our lives to ensure justice to poor labourers and rural masses,” Sharma said, whose condition further deteriorated today.
Meanwhile, 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 RDD and its Secretary, Sheetal Nanda for misleading the Union Hovernment and the Lieutenant Governor over MGNREGA issue. They demanded adequate security cover for Sarpanches and Panches and enhancement of their monthly honorarium.