Sarpanchs delegation satisfied with assurance of Rahul Gandhi

Excelsior Correspondent

Sarpanchs talking to reporters at Jammu. -Excelsior/Rakesh

JAMMU, Sept 29: Exuding confidence that Central Government will take steps for empowerment of Panchayats in the State, the delegation of Sarpanchs which met general secretary, All India Congress Committee, Rahul Gandhi and Union MoS Home, Jitendra Singh  in New Delhi on Thursday said that they have given full assurance to them in this regard.
Talking to reporters on return from Union Capital today the delegation members Shafiq Mir, Anil Sharma, Mohammed Aslam Kohli and Fazal AlamWani said that Mr Gandhi assured that Panchyat Raj train has been set in the motion throughout the country and no body can stop it now.
Shafiq Mir said the delegation told Rahul Gandhi that implementation of 73rd and 74th Amendment was in the Congress manifesto during 2008 Assembly elections and if Chief Minister Omar Adullah does not favour it then Congress should withdraw support to coalition.
Mir said the delegation is fully satisfied with the assurance given to it by Rahul Gandhi and   MoS Home. “No one took pains to listen the woes of Panchs and Sarpanchs in the State but it was the AICC general secretary who called us Delhi to discuss the issue”, he added.
Mir, while quoting Mr Gandhi said that Congress is particular for empowerment of Panchayats and it was the dream of Mahatma Gandhi which was given practical shape by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Now the AICC chief, Sonia Gandhi is keen that Panchayat Raj should flourish in the country and Congress will take all steps for empowerment of Panchayts in the State, he added.
Besides the implementation of 73rd Amendment for empowerment of Panchayats, the security issue in the wake of killing of Sarpanchs and Panchs in Kashmir Valley was discussed with Mr Gandhi and MoS Home, he said. They, while expressing concern over the killings said that the modalities for the security cover to Sarpanchs and Panchs will be discussed so that their confidence is restored.
Mir said however,  MoS Home made it clear to the delegation that in view of the stand taken by them by raising the voice of Sarpanchs and Panchs they need full protection and the Union Government will take up the issue with State Government immediately.
The delegation was also given the Central security cover from Delhi to Jammu.
Mir said that the delegation also demanded Rs 20 lakh each as ex-gratia for the slain Sarpanchs and Panchs families’, besides a Government job to their next kin and Rs 20,000 per month salary for the Sarpanchs.
He said the MoS Home assured that that Government will look into the other two issues but it will write to State Government to provide a Government job to next kin of the slain Panchs and Sarpanchs.
Mir, while taking the State Government to task for non implementation of 73rd and 74th Amendment under the garb of Article 370 which gives special status to J&K, said when there was no problem in implementation of AFSPA and NREGA in the State which too are the Central laws then what is the problem in implementing 73rd and 74th Amendment of Indian Constitution.
Accusing the NC of being the main barrier in implementation of the Constitutional amendment, he said the Party may have political compulsions for the same.

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