Press Trust of india

Tanta panchayat villagers decide to boycott rural body poll

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Doda (JK), Nov 13:  Shorn of basic amenities like “bijli, sadak and pani” since ages, the natives of dozen-odd villages of Tanta panchayat in this mountainous district of Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday decided to boycott the rural body polls on November 24.

Fed up with the successive governments’ failure to provide even a modicum of the basic amenities, the villagers held a meeting at the hill-top Panchayat office in Kahara tehsil, 60 kms from Doda district headquarters and decided to give a go-by to the nine-phase polls, beginning November 17.

During the meeting, the villagers rued that the promises made by the elected representatives, successive governments and poll aspirants were never fulfilled, saying the candidates of all parties make false promises, only to be broken.

Later, they unanimously decided not to cast their votes in the panchayat elections to be held in the third phase on November 24.

“We are up in arms against the government for depriving us of the basic amenities like roads, electricity, lack of staff in schools, and safe drinking water,” 62-year-old Mubarak Wani, ‘lumbardar’ of Tanta panchayat, told PTI.

Wani, who led a rally after the meeting, in which the villagers decided to boycott the polls to show their resentment, said the government is responsible for their decision as “our repeated requests and petitions were never entertained.”

The villages whose inhabitants decided to boycott the panchayat elections include Bagdan, Wani Pura, Draman, Kuthal, Ganoori, Yarivan, Magray Mohalla, Dhanoora, Kushar-Thawa and Bain-Goth.

The twelve villages falling in the Tanta panchayat, have 600 households with a population of over 3,000.

“For us, the elections hardly hold any relevance. We have been neglected by various governments since Independence. There are no approach roads, electricity and drinking water facilities in our Panchayat ,” local resident Sher Din Magray said.

Bashir Ahmad Wani (55), another villager, said they were promised development every time before the polls but it never materialises.

“All the candidates who have contested assembly polls or are contesting the panchayat polls have no right to seek votes in the name of development. We are fed up with all the false promises, we have lost faith in the process,” he said.

Wani alleged the villagers are being deprived of even their hard- earned wages under MGNREGA since 2016.

“I have been left bankrupt. I am on the verge of begging as I have been duped of Rs three lakhs by the Rural Development Department,” he claimed.

Mushtaq Magray alleged the panchayats have also failed to implement the government schemes meant for the benefit of villages.

“Villagers look to the panchayat to provide basic facilities and to create better infrastructure but they too have done nothing for us,” Magray said.

Doda’s District-cum-Development Commissioner Anshul Garg said an inquiry will be initiated immediately and stern action will be taken against the erring officials as soon the report regarding Tanta Panchayat will be submitted about the allegations of the villagers.

“I also appeal and urge the villagers not to boycott the polls,” he said.

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