Reyaz Rashid

UT government not imposing property tax, clarifies LG

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“No plan to scrap honorarium of Panchayati representatives, urban local bodies”

Baramulla: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday said there is no plan to reduce or scrap the honorarium of the representatives of Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies.

“Such rumours are being spread by certain vested interests deliberately misleading elected representatives on the honorarium issue,” Sinha said at a programme in Baramulla district.

The union territory administration on Saturday issued rules to implement 73rd Amendment of the Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir, giving rise to speculations that the government might do away with the honorarium being given to panchs and sarpanchs.

Sinha also said that “the UT administration is not imposing property tax as being misrepresented by some people.”

However, he added “the urban local bodies are competent to decide on such issues in consultation with the public and for their own development.”

Sinha said the administration has initiated the ‘My Town, My Pride’ programme with the agenda of “empowering the urban local bodies by reaching out to the urban population with governance at their doorsteps and ensuring on the spot redressal of their issues and grievances.”

The two-day long programme, an initiative for the municipal areas, is being conducted on October 19-20, during which camps for public service delivery have been set up.

The LG observed that public outreach in towns, strengthening grass-root democracy, and service delivery at doorsteps are the three main objectives of the initiative.

The ‘My Town My Pride’ programme has not been launched to announce anything new but it is an opportunity to discuss and derive solutions to existing needs, issues and for effective delivery of services at every doorstep, he said.

During the two days, many issues faced by the cities will come to light, which will thereby help create a definitive roadmap for developing a strong ecosystem for our cities, focusing on the urban-rural partnership, enhancing market and business opportunities, job creation, filling the gaps in education system and ensuring sustainable economic development of our cities, he added.

The LG asked the officers to own the initiative, identify local issues and needs of the people, and serve people with accountable, responsive, and participatory governance.

According to an official press release issued in this regard, LG said synchronised efforts must be made for ensuring maximum saturation of social security and beneficiary-oriented schemes; besides ensuring speedy issuance of important documents, certificates; revenue services, and mobilisation of funds towards developmental activities as per the needs of the local population.

“With the success of the Back to Village-3 programme, the need for a similar initiative for urban centers of Jammu & Kashmir was also felt, as a result of which, My Town My Pride programme was formulated,” the LG maintained.

He asked the officers to own the initiative, identify local issues and needs of the people, and serve people with accountable, responsive, and participatory governance.

“I have been apprised that the plan on decongesting old Baramulla city is being worked upon. The Jammu & Kashmir Housing Board is also planning to accommodate the increasing population of the town. Decongesting Baramulla is the need of the hour to ensure a better quality of living,” the LG maintained.

On augmentation of water supply in the district, the LG observed that there is a need to provide potable tapped water to every household of the town as only 43 percent households have the facility at present.

“Under the Jal Jeevan Mission of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Rs 883 crore has been allotted to district Baramulla, out of which Rs 46 crore have already been released. Two reservoirs with a filtration plant are also being constructed and will be ready within the next two months to address water supply issues of the town,” he added.

Identifying the area’s potential for apple production, the LG said that Baramulla is a huge producer of apples but lacks sufficient processing units. If facilitated with governmental subsidies, new apple processing units can help generate lots of employment avenues in the district.

The LG also congratulated district Baramulla for securing the top spot in the NITI Aayog’s list of Aspirational Districts last year.

Applauding the International Wushu player, Jabeena Akhter, the LG said, “Empowerment of the girl is key for the development of the cities” and called upon the women to participate in urban sustainability, improving quality of life and urban welfare.

Highlighting the need to encourage sporting culture, the LG said that the district already has one indoor stadium and two open playgrounds. He further highlighted the need for planned promotion and taking services of professional coaches to further encourage sports in the region. He called upon the elected members of ULBs to identify space for the creation of a playground. He also suggested the distribution of sports kits in every ward, in line with a similar move during Back to Village-3.

The LG also spoke on increasing the quality of education and promotion of vocational training among the youth and said that it can greatly help in employment generation. He also asked for the expansion of the existing public library.

“Under the Prime Minister’s Swanidhi programme, street vendors, hawkers, and similar workers are being identified and being provided working capital to help them get their lives back on track after the COVID crisis. There is still a lot to achieve with the establishment of strong Urban Local Self-governance. The officers should identify gaps in the functioning of administration and put sustained and synchronized efforts to remove bottlenecks,” he continued.

“I have been pushing for on spot grievance redressal, instant delivery of services to the masses, and on the ground speedy execution of people-centric projects,” the LG maintained.

Pandurang K. Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Vijay Kumar, IGP Kashmir; Zubair Ahmad, Director General, IMPA; Dr. G.N Itoo, Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla; Omar Kakroo, president, MC, Baramulla, and senior officers were present on the occasion.

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