National Conference and Congress members today staged walkout from Legislative Council protesting the alleged failure of the government to set up a poll panel for panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Law and Justice minister Abdul Haq said the unrest in Kashmir hampered the development and democratic processes that led to delay in holding the Panchayat polls as environment was not “conducive”.
Replying to a question by Congress member Ghulam Nabi Monga, he said the state government is fully committed to hold Panchayat elections by March 2017 and preparations in this regard are already on.
Elections to the municipal corporations and urban local bodies will be held afterwards, Haq said.
Monga said the government should set up a separate poll panel for these elections as per the Panchayat Raj Act and opposed polls to panchayats under Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) who is under the government.
As the minister said there is no time for setting up a poll panel, the opposition NC and Congress members led by Monga jumped into the well of the House, protested over the government decision and staged the walkout.
Haq said after the expiry of terms of panchayats, block development officers and panchayat secretaries have been entrusted with holding gram sabhas. They pass joint resolution after holding deliberations and identifying the works under various schemes for execution or implementation.
He said in the process public representatives are also taken into confidence.
Replying to various points raised in the House, the Minister said so far four cases of embezzlement have been detected under MGNRGEA scheme.
He said recoveries have been made from the erring officials and one increment of two erring officers has been forfeited. FIR has also been lodged in one case.
Responding to the supplementary queries by the legislators Naresh Kumar Gupta and Showkat Ahmad Ganaie, the Minister said the government has introduced several reforms to bring transparency and accountability in the working of the department.
He said priority has been given to upgrade rural connectivity under various schemes especially MGNREGA.
The Minister said under these schemes the department has created durable assets in villages besides providing jobs to the unskilled and unemployed youth of the state.
(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)