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Ready for assembly polls in J&K: Governor

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Oath Ceremony of Sarpanches…

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik Friday said the administration was ready for assembly elections in the state and a call in this direction should be taken by the Election Commission and New Delhi.        “Whenever, they (EC) tell us, we are ready for the polls (to assembly),” he told reporters here after the oath-taking ceremony of sarpanch of Jammu region.

On IAS officer Shah Faesal’s resignation, Malik said he himself was a government employee and did not wish to comment on the matter.

The Election Commission (EC) had in November last said fresh elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be held within the next six months, even as the body did not rule out the possibility of holding the state polls before the Lok Sabha polls due this year.

“The Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls must be held on the first occasion before May. It could be held before the parliamentary elections also,” Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat had said.

He said as per the Supreme Court, the outer limit for holding fresh polls after the dissolution of the House was six months, that is May, 2019.

It may be recalled that the central government on December 28 told the Lok Sabha that Jammu and Kashmir Governor had no option but to recommend President’s Rule in the state as no party or alliance staked claim to form the government.

Earlier, Governor attended the Oath ceremony function of the newly elected Sarpanches of Jammu Division, organized by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, here today.

Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K. Vijay Kumar, Advisors to Governor, Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to Governor; and many senior officers from Civil and Police were present on the occasion.

Governor congratulated the Sarpanches on being elected as representatives of their respective Panchayats. He observed that the Panchayati Raj Institutions can truly represent and fulfill the developmental aspirations of people due to direct participation of people in planning development of their areas and implementing Government welfare schemes under close monitoring.

Governor complimented Sarpanches and Panches for their whole hearted participation in the Panchayat elections which were held after 7 years and saw a voter turnout of 74.1%. He lauded people and Government functionaries for making it a well conducted and incident free election even under very trying circumstances.

Governor observed that major amendments in the Panchayati Raj Act have been incorporated through which the Government intends massive devolution of funds, functions and functionaries of 19 departments to the Panchayati Raj Institutions.  He advised the Sarpanches to use funds judiciously and urged them to ensure development which is in sync with the natural environment.

He stressed that survival and existence of vegetation, trees, ponds, indigenous animal species etc should be taken into consideration while formulating development plans.

Governor assured every possible support of his Administration to the Sarpanches and Panches and observed that planned development of any area would be done in consensus with the Panches and Sarpnaches of respective Panchyats.

Governor emphasized upon the Sarpanches to ensure that institutions responsible for ensuring primary health and education at grass root level are strengthened and attention is given to develop sports infrastructure at the Village level with opportunities to youth to explore their capabilities to the maximum.

Earlier Governor visited the stalls put up by the Government Departments for generating awareness about the various Central and State Government welfare schemes.

A short film on Panchayat elections was screened on the occasion.

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