Omar to invite PM to mega Panchayat Sabha in Valley2 July 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said that he would seek a mega J&K Panchayat Sabha at Srinagar to be chaired by Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh to arrange direct interaction between him and the Panchayat members. 'While we are hopeful that the current dialogue process between India and Pakistan and the task entrusted to Interlocutors would yield positive results in addressing basic political issues of Jammu and Kashmir relieving us permanently from the shadow of gun, we want to address our development issues simultaneously', he said adding that such an interaction session of Sarpanches and Panches of the State with the Prime Minister would prove highly beneficial on the development front. 'I would strive for such a session in the month of September-October this year', he said, adding that he would invite Dr Singh to chair the conference. Speaking to Sarpanches and Panches of Srinagar district at SKICC here, the Chief Minister said that beauty of democracy is that grass root public representatives are sharing same conference hall in the SKICC with the Chief Minister, Ministers and Government officers where Prime Minister, Union Ministers and top Central leadership interact with leadership of the State. Omar said that respecting Sarpanches and Panches amounted to respecting democracy. He said administration at all levels has been sensitized in this regard. 'You will be provided with a special photo identity card so that your entries to the offices are hassle-free and you can discuss development issues with the concerned officers', he added and said that effective and purposeful Panchayats are must for holistic development of the State. Announcing formulation of a fresh BPL list in the State as per new census report, the Chief Minister said that elected Panchayat members will be actively involved in its formulation. 'We want a comprehensive and correct list of BPL families to provide them benefits and help their socio-economic development. There are number of complaints against the authenticity of existing BPL list in the State. This required attention and proper addressing', he said terming that Panchayats would be an important apparatus to achieve this target. Mr Abdullah said that holding of Panchayat elections after a long period of 33 years was a challenge and his Government has succeeded to meet it. 'Our next destination is empowering Panchayats in the State. We are determined in this regard', he told the Panchayat members assuring them full powers to the degree possible to deliver and come up to the expectations of voters. 'Many rumors were spread regarding the holding of elections, participation of candidates and voter turnover', he said congratulating the people for coming out and voting in large numbers to elect their representatives. 'Your overwhelming participation has vindicated your faith in the democratic institutions in getting your day-to-day problems addressed and solved', he said and asked the Sarpanches and Panches to be prepared to shoulder the responsibilities of serving the people with authority and powers. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar and Minister of State for Rural Development, Aijaz Ahmad Khan highlighted the importance of Panchayats in the process of development and addressing the area specific problems of the people. Sarpanches and Panches from 10 Panchayat Halqas of Srinagar district shared their experience and apprised the Chief Minister of the problems of the particular areas they represent. They also demanded remuneration for Sarpanches and Panches so that they could perform their duties smoothly. The Chief Minister also launched 4-day orientation camp for Sarpanches and Panches of Srinagar district in which about 90 Sarpanches and Panches will be imparted basic training and apprised about their powers under the Panchayat Raj Act. The 10 Panchayat Halqas of Srinagar district are Panzinara-A, Panzinara-B, Lasjan-A, Lasjan-B, Nowgam-A, Nowgam-B, Soitang, Faqirgujri, Dhara and Khimber. 79 Panches and 10 Sarpanches have been elected in the recently concluded Panchayat elections from Srinagar rural areas. Of these, 53 Panches are men while 25 are women. All the 10 Sarpanches are men.