STATE TIMES NEWS
BISHANH: Senior Congress leader, Mohinder Bhardwaj has questioned the Government’s move to introduce a system of District Development Councils and Planning Committees at the grassroots levels in the name of devolution of power.Reacting to this decision taken by the Union Home Ministry, Bhardwaj, who is also a senior advocate, said that the devolution of powers to the grassroots levels through the mechanism of Panchayati Raj was the dream of former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi which was implemented by the successive Congress governments. However, the current dispensation by using the alibi of devolution of power is creating more confusion and ignoring the existing realities.He said that it is befuddling that ignoring the strong force of elected Sarpanchs and Panchs, the Government has proposed to introduce yet another level of elected representatives to the DDCs and Planning Committees. Elections at yet another tier would entail more expenditure from the public exchequer at a time when the state’s economic condition has worsened. At the same time, it would diminish the significance of the elected Sarpanchs and Panchs and start a new warfare of supremacy and disputes at the grassroots levels.Bhardwaj suggested that the Government first must clarify about its motive behind the move and take all stakeholders into confidence. They should also clarify as to what would then be the role of Sarpanchs and Panchs.Instead of having elected members to the DDCs and Planning Committees, the already elected Sarpanchs and Panchs should be given representation in these panels that would lead to better coordination and connectivity for identification and execution of developmental works or else it would become a free for all kind of a situation.Bhardwaj wondered whether the Government has any plans to hold assembly elections and what would be the status of the MLAs, if as and when the polls are held, under the new multi-tier system. It is intriguing that the focus is on adding more flab to the current setup whereas there is total quietness on preparing for assembly election. ” It is surprising that the Delimitation Commission in its seven and a half months of existence has not bothered to visit Jammu and Kashmir even once. This raises doubts about the real intention of the Government,” he added.
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