JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Saturday expressed grave concern over the amendment to the Panchayat Raj Act 1989 and urged the Governor N N Vohra to withhold his assent to the legislation for the larger interests of the people and the state.
In a memorandum to the Governor, submitted through Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, the National Conference feared that the amendment shall trample the spirit of people being real masters of their destiny, as the indirect mode of electing Sarpanchas amounts to murder of democracy.
The memorandum was submitted by District President Urban Jammu; Dharamveer Singh Jamwal after the party workers took out a protest march from Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan.
“We understand that the amendment will lead to weakening of the Panchayati Raj System, as introduction of indirect process of elections of Sarpanches will open window for coercion, corruption and malpractices to manipulate these elections. The measure has far-reaching consequences and shall eventually discredit and weaken the Panchayati Raj System in the State” the memorandum stated.
It added, “This amendment will wash away and undo the entire process carried out to make small administrative units by the government led by Omar Abdullah in 2014 with an avowed objective of taking administration at the door steps of people and also empowering them by directly participating in decision making”.
The memorandum further stated, “There was no need to bring out the amendment as J&K Panchayati Raj Act 1989 envisages involvement of the people in monitoring the development process and be active partners in decision making at local levels. This Act was introduced in the Legislative Assembly in 1989 after studying various models in various states across the country. This piece of legislation has indeed withstood test of times and has been widely acclaimed as a model Act worth emulation. Though amended from time to time to further strengthen the Act for ensuring better governance and delivery yet the latest amendment by the PDP-BJP combination is an overt attempt to weaken the Panchayati Raj System”.