AJKPC accuses LG administration of making 'mockery' of panchayat institutions

Jammu, Mar 30 (PTI) A day after Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha addressed 20,000 panchayat members, an organization of elected grassroots level representatives alleged that only tutored people were allowed to speak during the program.

The All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Conference (AJKPC), an organization working for the welfare of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), accused the administration of making a mockery of PRIs in the Union Territory.

Sinha had on Tuesday addressed 20,000 PRI members virtually and said "by strengthening the PRIs, we are empowering a more effective system to truly realise the vision of Gram Swaraj in the Union Territory".

"Jammu and Kashmir administration in the name of empowering elected panches and sarpanches, district and block development council members is playing a fixed match and hoodwinking the central government," AJKPC president Anil Sharma told reporters here.

Flanked by senior office bearers of the organisation, Sharma criticised the administration for allegedly making a mockery of PRIs and said "only tutored people were allowed to speak up during the programme to show that everything is hunky-dory under the LG's administration which is far from the truth".

He said there were many elected PRI members who wanted to raise their genuine issues before the Lt Governor but they were "restrained" and "not allowed" to speak.

Sharma said they had made several representations to ensure that funds worth crores of rupees meant for developmental work be carried forward to the next fiscal year 2022-23 but the administration did not agree.

"J&K is already a financially starved region and this lapse of funds at the end of this financial year 2021-22 would be a huge setback for the PRIs," he said.

He claimed that the administration is yet to release part installments of funds to the PRIs under the 14th and 15th financial commission.

The AJKPC president also accused the bureaucrats of deliberately delaying the finalising of tender terms and conditions and formally floating a tender for developmental work, resulting in a delay in award of contracts and completion of projects.

Sharma asked the administration to revisit its policy of e-tendering for work below Rs 5 lakh and demanded that such contracts should be awarded to locals of the panchayat and blocks.