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Panchayat representatives are here to serve people, not for protocol: AJKPC

DDC members should start reaching out to rural masses; need to further empower PRIs: Anil Sharma

Jammu, March 12, 2021: All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC)—a frontline organisation of elected Panchayat members—has expressed anguish and dismay over the controversy pertaining to amended Warrant of Precedence for elected District Development Council (DDC) chairpersons, vice-chairpersons and members.

In an urgent press conference, the AJKPC called for an immediate end to the stalemate and asked both the UT administration and elected DDC chairpersons and members to work collectively for the welfare of rural masses.

“It is unfortunate that the DDC chairpersons and members, who had to attend two-day training and workshop programme, boycotted the event and staged protest for personal interests and protocol. The AJKPC has always fought for the empowerment of rural masses and it was only because of the AJKPC efforts that the first-ever elections to DDCs were conducted in Jammu and Kashmir,” Anil Sharma, UT president of AJKPC told reporters here.

Expressing displeasure over the recent protests of newly elected DDC chairpersons and members, Sharma said that they (AJKPC) never demanded for any protocol or privileges as their sole mission was to see empowerment of the rural people.

The AJKPC leader said there was a need to empower the grass-root level representatives including Sarpanches, Panches, Block Development Council (BDC) chairpersons and DDCs so that they are able to serve the people in a better way.

“We have never asked for any privileges or protocol for anyone as this was not our agenda. We don’t want protocol or honorarium but it is our long yearning to have complete empowerment of people at grassroots level,” Sharma said, adding “We are here to serve the people who have given us the mandate to represent them. We don’t endorse any sort of personal privileges to anyone—be it Panches, Sarpanches, BDCs or DDCs”.

The AJKPC leader asked the newly elected DDC members to work for the welfare and upliftment of rural masses who have voted for them. “They (DDC members) should start reaching out the masses rather than asking for personal protocol and honorarium,” Sharma said and urged the finance department to deduct his monthly honorarium of Rs 3,000 and contribute it to the development fund.

Reacting to the reported assurance of Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Manoj Sinha to protesting DDC members for re-drafting of Warrant of Precedence, the AJKPC leader urged the L-G for empowerment of Sarpanches and Panches.

“If the government really intends to re-draw the Warrant of Precedence for DDCs, then it is the duty of the UT administration to empower the first-tier of PRIs—Sarpanches and Panches. The same needs to be done for second-tier, BDCs. Otherwise it would send a wrong message among the masses,” he said.

While appreciating the UT administration and the police department, Sharma said, “There are some black-sheep in every sector of life but it does not mean that everyone is blamed for wrong deeds of such people. The officers in UT administration and police department are doing a commendable job and we appeal to the UT administration to work collectively with Panchayat members for overall development of the rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir”.

Prominent among others who attended the press conference were Ram Saroop Sharma, Jatinder Singh, Des Raj Bhagat and Abhy Khajuria, vice presidents AJKPC; Galam Rasool, Shoqat Choudhary and Ashok Singh, all AJKPC members.

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