Non-existence Of Panchayats Caused Rs 1200 Cr Loss25 June 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the State suffered a loss of at least Rs 1200 crore as Central assistance during the 12th Finance Commission due to non-existence of Panchayats. 'The State suffered a loss of about Rs 1200 to Rs 1500 crores due to non-existence of panchayat system during the 12th Finance Commission period,' Omar said while addressing newly-elected Panches and Sarpanches of Bandipora and Khan Sahib constituencies. The Chief Minister said with the conduct of Panchayat elections, the State Government can expect Central assistance of around Rs 2000 crore under various schemes for rural development during the 13th Finance Commission period. 'Now, we are expecting Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore annual grant from the Centre Government under the 13th Finance Commission Award which shall be spent by the Panchayats throughout the State,' he said. The Chief Minister said the completion of peaceful, free and fair elections is an historic achievement of the Government. 'Holding of Panchayat elections in the State after a long period of 33 years was a key decision to be taken. We took the decision with strong determination to implement it firmly and sincerely. Thank God we succeeded in our efforts and completed the process smoothly,' he said. Omar said completion of Panchayat elections at Halqa level in the State will be followed by election of block and district committees. 'The overwhelming participation of voters in the elections and the sincere efforts put in by the Government proved the assertions of our political opponents wrong', he said adding that some elements are now circulating gossips about the transfer of powers to the Panchayats. 'I have made it clear a number of times that Government is determined to empower the Panchayats to the degree possible. I reiterate it here again with firmness that the transfer of powers to Panchayats is on anvil and you will hear about the same soon', he said referring to the high power committee headed by Chief Secretary presently finalizing the report about transfer of functions, functionaries and funds to the Panchayats. 'Apart from your important role in the implementation of schemes in rural development sector, you have to render stupendous service in the sectors of CAPD, PHE, Education, Health, Social Welfare etc.’’, he told them reminding that ‘where there are powers there are responsibilities too’. The Chief Minister advised the Sarpanches and Panches to be sincere, honest and delivering on public service front. 'Here lies your success and the success of the system', he told them expressing hope that the grass root representatives of people would come up to the expectations of people and make public service benchmark of their functioning. 'People have reposed faith in you and ensured your success by participating in the elections in large numbers. It is now your duty to prove yourself as their real friends', he said asking them to be responsive and prompt to the public call at every Panchayat halqa.