JK panchayat members’ body demands more allocating powers to gram sabhas
Jammu: A representative body of elected panchayat members on Tuesday alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s decision to resort to e-tendering even for small works was depriving educated youths from local villages of employment avenues.
The All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) also demanded that works up to Rs 3 lakh should be sanctioned by gram sabhas.
The AJKPC alleged that the works done by contractors under the capex budget in rural areas were of very low quality. The contractors also don’t pay heed to the requests of gram sabha members while district officials ignore the panches and sarpanches, it said.
“Despite repeated prayers to the government and assurances by senior officers, even tenders for petty works are being allotted by e-tendering, which is not only undermining the autonomy of gram sabhas but also depriving the local educated youth of employment avenues,” AJKPC chief Anil Sharma told reporters.
He alleged that panchayat members always complained that the works done by contractors in rural areas were of very low quality.
The contractors do not have any accountability either, he said.
“Neither do the contractors pay heed to the requests of Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members nor do the officials listen to the prayers of the panches and sarpanches,” he said.
The AJKPC president said the role of PRI members in checking the quality of works had been curtailed as Utilisation Certificates for works done under the district budget were issued by the respective administration.
It is insignificant that from which account the money is being spent for development works, there must be accountability of the contractors and government employees, he said.
He cautioned officials of the district administration and the rural development department not to test the patience of elected representatives and muzzle the autonomy of PRIs.
AJKPC leaders also urged Lieutenant Governor Manor Sinha, the commissioner secretary of the Rural Development department, divisional commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir to take appropriate action to avoid confrontations and let PRIs and elected members work without interference.
They also demanded that Utilisation Certificates for works done in rural areas under the district budget should be issued by gram sabhas instead of the district administration to ensure transparency and accountability.
They also demanded that for works up to Rs 3 lakh, gram sabhas be allowed to identify deserving educated youth and self-help groups to execute the works in villages and panchayats to generate employment avenues and ensure quality work.
Sharma said there should be an approval of Rs 1 lakh for every panchayat to clear snow and deal with emergency issues during winters.