UDHAMPUR, Aug 22: All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC)-a frontline body of elected Sarpanches and Panches in Jammu and Kashmir-was today all praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah for extension of 73rd Amendment of Indian Constitution to J&K by scrapping Article 370.
During a day-long convention attended by over 500 Sarpanches and Panches of all 236 Panchayats spread over 17 blocks in Udhampur district, the AJKPC office bearers were of the opinion that the abolition of Article 370 has finally bridged the gap between J&K and New Delhi and will take J&K on the path of prosperity, peace and progress.
“Scrapping of Article 370 has finally achieved the idea of ‘one nation one constitution’ in the country. The Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir, which could not see development over the years because of non-extension of 73rd Amendment in toto, are to be benefitted immensely with the recent changes in the constitution,” Anil Sharma, AJKPC State president said while addressing the large gathering.
Sharma said the elected Panchayat members and the people in rural areas remained deprived of various rights due to Article 370 which was the main obstacle in overall development in rural pockets of the State.
“Over 40,000 Panches and Sarpanches will be now empowered and there will be direct funding from the Central Government to the Panchayats now,” said Sharma adding that his organisation had been fighting for strengthening of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) for the last ten years but Article 370 remained a major hindrance in their path.
He alleged that for the last seven decades, successive Governments had failed to empower the Panchayats, which was main reason that a vast majority of States population which dwells in rural areas is without basic facilities. “Unless Panchayats are strengthened, there will be no development in the State. We hope that BJP Government at Centre will take immediate decisions to give greater powers to Panchayats in the State”, he said.
While addressing the gathering, a large number of Sarpanches and Panches including females, also expressed their happiness and satisfaction over the recent changes in the Constitution.