Repeated postponement of Municipal polls unlawful: NPP

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Mar 7:  While condemning the repeated postponements of the Urban Local Bodies elections in J&K during the last few years,  chairman of the J&K National Panthers party  and former Minister Harsh Dev Singh regretted that that the State has been deprived of thousand of crores of rupees for development of Municipal areas which has been withheld by the Central Govt due to the failure of the State Govt to constitute the elected Municipal bodies.
Mr Singh regretted that non- holding of ULB elections due to vested interests of BJP and PDP despite repeated statements during 2015 and 2016 has deprived the State of hundreds of crores for development of such Municipal bodies which comprised 74 Municipal Committees, 6 Municipal Councils and 2 Municipal Corporations. He said that with no indication of such elections being held in 2017, the State was set to loose thousands of crores due to political inexpediencies of BJP and PDP.
While lauding the bold initiative of the 14th Finance Commission to enhance the funding for local bodies in the state,  Harsh Dev pointed out that the said Commission had proposed Rs 4161 crore for the State which included Rs 3117.36 crore for Rural Local Bodies and Rs 1044.51 crore for Urban Local Bodies with a precondition that funds would be released only if elected Local Bodies were constituted as a measure of democratic decentralization.
Mr Singh said that the 14th Finance Commission had provided a grant of Rs 125.30 crore in the first instance for 2015-16 which, however, could not be availed and got lapsed due to Govts failure to hold such elections. He said earlier also Rs 169.29 crores of funds under 13th FC  for Urban Local Bodies had lapsed for the same reason. Likewise, around Rs 173.50 crore proposed for 2016-17 under 14th FC  and Rs 197 crore for AMRUT scheme is also likely to get lapsed as Govt. has no intentions to constitute Municipal bodies before March 2017.
He deplored that the lackadaisical approach of the Govt and the dirty politics played by coalition partners by postponing elections for political reasons was depriving the general masses and prospective beneficiaries of the benefits envisaged for them under various GOI schemes. He said that non holding of immediate elections would further deprive the state of ‘Performance Grant’ of Rs 607 crore for five years starting April 1, 2015 which had been assured by the 14th FC as additional grant.

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