Govt calls out BDC chairpersons: ‘Stay within limits, don’t use unauthorized powers’

Srinagar, Jan 4: Crisis is brewing in the administration after they were flooded with complaints against some recently elected Block Development Council (BDC) chairpersons for exceeding their roles and using those powers which they are not entitled to.

Over 300 chairpersons were elected in the first ever BDC polls held in Jammu and Kashmir in October last year.

Three months on, the government has received complaints about “unauthorized” use of powers by BDC chairpersons.

“Some chairperson have been bypassing role of concerned officials in their respective blocks. The block development officers have told the government that chairpersons of BDCs are not consulting them while taking decisions,” said an official of Rural Development Department. 

The official said chairpersons of BDCs have been told to stay within their limited powers. “They have been told to make better coordination with government officials for development of their respective constituencies,” the official said. 

Sensing lack of coordination, Director Rural Development Department Kashmir has now issued circular asking officers to make chairpersons of BDCs aware about their roles and responsibilities.

“It has been noticed that some of the BDC chairpersons are making official communications under their signatures to the higher authorities which is not their prerogative as block development officers have to act as ex-officio secretaries as envisaged in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Act 1989 and Panchayati Raj Rules 1998,” the circular reads.

The government asked BDC chairpersons to stay within their powers and limitations before taking any decision.

“It is impressed upon all Project Officer Wage Employment, District Panchayat Officers and BDOs to adhere to the rules and make the BDC chairpersons aware regarding their role and functions and procedure to be adopted for their official business. As such all the official communications whatsoever from the office of BDCs shall be made through Secretary to BDC (BDO) concerned only under his or her seal,” it reads.

There are 4,490 Sarpanch and 35096 Panch constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. A top official of Rural Development Department said that Centre has directed Jammu and Kashmir administration to empower Panchayats to the maximum level.

There are 21 departments including Rural Development, Social Welfare, Health, Education, Power, Horticulture, Fisheries and Agriculture, which come under the administrative control of Panchayat members, the official said.

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