PDP to take empowering of Panchayats to Assembly: Mehbooba

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Sep 26:  People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is bringing a bill in the forthcoming session of the legislature seeking empowerment of the Panchayats in the state under the 73rd amendment of the Central Panchayati Raj Act. The party has sought support of Congress in ensuring a smooth passage of the bill.
Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, PDP President, Mehbooba Mufti said that the bill encompasses all the features of the 73rd amendment, adding since Congress party has been pitching for the implementation of this amendment it should support the bill.
“Both National Conference and Congress are engaged in shadow boxing as far as empowerment of the panchayats in the state are concerned. We are clear on this issue and don’t want to draw any political mileage out of this. If the Congress is serious in empowerment of Panchayats then they should support our bill and ensure that it is passed,” said Mehbooba.
Mehbooba said that the bill would be introduced by Peerzada Mansoor Hussain in the lower house while as in the upper house it would be brought by Murtaza Khan. She said that despite repeated promises the Panchs and Sarpanchs have been deceived by the Government since they have not been fully empowered.
“If we fail to empower the Panchayats the people would feel disillusioned and disgruntled. They would lose all the hope in the democratic system and ultimately we would have to pay the price. The need of the hour is that powers are delegated to the Panchs and Sarpanchs so that they deliver goods on the ground. They should be allowed to discharge their duties in providing basic amenities to the people living in the villages,” said Mehbooba.
Taking a dig at both the State Government and the police, Mehbooba said that they speak different languages vis-à-vis the killing of Sarpanchs and Panchs. She said that while State Government maintains that the killings are carried out by militants, the police counter the same saying that militants are not behind the killings of these elected representatives.
Mehbooba alleged that Panchs and Sarpanchs are being used by the National Conference for their own means. She said the NC leaders bring in Panchs and Sarpanchs whenever they have to address a gathering in any nook and corner of the state. She said that Panchayats have been made defunct deliberately by NC since they don’t want powers to be delegated to the grassroots level.

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