JAMMU: The Advisor to the Governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai has underlined the importance of involving Panchayats in maintenance and improvement of sanitary conditions in villages throughout the state.
The Advisor while issuing directions to the Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj said that the Panchayats should be actively involved in ensuring overall sanitation of the rural areas and villages.
He maintained that the Section 12 (iii) of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 prescribes addressing the ‘problems of sanitation’ among the functions of the Halqa Panchayat. It also lays down that Halqa Panchayats shall be duty bound to deal with the problem of soil conservation and water management.
Ganai directed the Secretary, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj to issue instruction to sensitise the Panchayats about their responsibilities regarding soil conservation, water management and sanitation as outlined under section12 and their power to generate resources for the purpose in terms of sections -14 and 15 of the J&K Panchayati Raj, Act. Officers of the Rural Development Department namely Assistant Commissioners Development (ACDs), District Panchayat Officers (DPs) Block Development Officers (BDOs) and Village Level Workers (VLWs) must be appropriately instructed to advise and guide the Panchayats and the local communities in this regard, he maintained.
Ganai said that the necessary directions be issued to enable the Panchayats to collect sanitation fees of a reasonable amount from each household in consultation with the local community for taking measures for sanitation and upkeep of the village streets, cleaning of lanes and drains, water bodies and streams, dumping of the garbage at an identified dumping site and treatment of garbage thereof. Lesser amount of sanitation fees may be charged from the BPL families in comparison to the APL, he added.
The Advisor said that the problems of conservation of natural resources like soil and water in the rural areas and sanitation in the villages are becoming acute day by day. Rural communities and informed educated persons living in the rural areas are also feeling extremely concerned not only about these problems but also about the inaction and lack of adequate response both from the Government and Non-Governmental bodies like the Panchayats.
The Advisor stressed that the Halqa Panchayats essentially the Panchas and the Sarpanch, should play a proactive role in soil conservation , water management and maintenance of appropriate sanitary conditions in the villages.