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Civic Polls: Govt asks officials to protect Panchayat Ghars or face action

SRINAGAR, Sep 27: The government has directed the officials concerned to ensure protection of Panchayat Ghars or face action.
Several Panchayat Ghars were set on fire by unknown persons following the announcement for the panchayat polls begining November 17.
Amid the attacks, the government has directed all Block Development Offices of the Rural Development Department to ensure that the field functionaries maintain their headquarters in Panchayat Ghars of their respective halqas.
“Besides, the land donors who have donated the land for construction of these panchayat Ghars/CFCs and come under the purview of SRO 520 shall be responsible for watch and ward of these panchayat Ghars/CFCs,” directives issued by Rural Development Department reads.
It says that project officer wage employment ACDs shall ensure that all panchayat Ghars in their respective districts are properly looked after by placing existing staff for keeping watch and ward of the RDD buildings including panchayat Ghars wherever necessary in order to protect the government property.
“They are also instructed not to draw the salary/remuneration of those VLWs/MPWs/ works supervisor, junior engineers GRS, who fail to maintain the headquarters maintained,” it adds.
The government has announced holding of 4-phase urban local bodies and 9-phase panchayat elections in the state.
The ULB polls would be held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16 while Panchayat polls would be held on November 17, 20, 24, 27, 29 and December 1, 04, 08 and 11.
Attack on panchayat Ghars by unknown people has unnerved the former panchs and sarpanchs, who have been demanding an improvement in situation even if that needs delaying the polls.
The militants have already warned the candidates over participation in the polls, while the separatists have called for election boycott.
Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam, said the government would make adequate security arrangements for the polls.
“Around 400 security companies are being brought from outside for the polls.  There are security issues in few areas of south Kashmir but government will take care of,” he said.
Two main regional parties, the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party have decided to boycott the elections as they have asked the Government of India to clear its stand on the issue of Article 35A.