STATE TIMES NEWS BASANTGARH: Lambasting the central Govt for failing to extend all provisions of 73rd Amendment of the Constitution to the State of J&K prior to holding of BDC polls, Harsh Dev Singh, JKNPP Chairman and former Minister on Friday said that it was yet another treachery played with the people of the State by the BJP led government. Addressing public meetings in villages Mang, Punara and Khaned in Dudu-Basantgarh Block of Ramnagar Constituency, Harsh said that holding of said polls under J&K Panchayati Raj Act ran counter to the intentions of the govt expressed through abrogation of Article 370 and defeated the very objective of making Panchayati Raj system identical with the rest of the country. Referring to some of the distinguishing features of 73rd Amendment of Indian Constitution, Singh said that it provided for direct elections of Chairmen of BDCs as opposed to indirect elections being held in the State of J&K through Sarpanchs and Panchs. He said that the BJP did not find it politically expedient to follow the modus operandi as prescribed in 73rd Amendment and therefore opted for J&K Panchayati Raj model which it considered more suitable in terms of its political prospects. He further regretted the non-constitution of a separate Election Commission at state level for PRIs as per the provisions of the central law. Likewise, the constitution of Finance Commission as per the mandate of the 73rd constitutional Amendment had also not found favour with the govt which wanted the Panchayats to remain dependent upon it for their financial requirements. Strongly condemning the govt for non clearance of claims of the Panchayats as incurred during the past three years, Singh disclosed that unpaid liabilities in the state amounted to over Rs 1,000 crore for the aforesaid period under MGNREGA alone. He said that the government was making haughty claims in the media regarding huge funding of Panchayats without bothering to have an assessment of ground situation. He regretted that non appointment of ombudsmen in the state had given an open field to the corrupt mafia indulging in massive loot and plunder in rural development sector with the government failing to check leakages and pilferages in its functioning. Urging upon the electorates to vote for NPP candidates in BDC polls, Singh said that Panthers Party alone could satisfy the urges and aspirations of rural folk.
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