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Panchayat, civic polls from September: Vohra

Srinagar, Aug 15: Governor N N Vohra Wednesday said that Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Panchayat Polls would be held from September this year.

“Elections to urban local bodies and panchayats have been pending for long. The prolonged delay in the establishment of democratically-elected self-governing bodies at the grassroots level in urban and rural areas has resulted in the loss of considerable funds, which would have become available if elections had been held,” Vohra said in his I-Day address at SK Stadium here.

He said that soon after assuming responsibility, his administration has taken the required steps for organizing elections to panchayats and municipalities.

“Necessary amendments to the existing laws have already been made and speedy action is underway to gear-up the administrative and logistical arrangements for undertaking both these elections,” he said.

“Elections to urban local bodies will take place in September-October while the phased panchayat polls will be held in October-December,” he said.

Vohra said his administration was taking action to ensure that adequate funds, delegation of administrative and financial authority, deployment of required staff and logistical support is provided to municipalities and panchayats, as soon as they are established.

“I would appeal to the leaders of all political parties in the state to provide full support to the administration to improve efficiency and accountability in every arena of functioning and to lend their valuable support towards engendering an environment in which the forthcoming elections to municipalities and panchayats produce a positive outcome.”

Earlier, the PDP-BJP government had announced that panchayat polls would be held from February 15, 2018. After failing to improve the situation, the alliance partners “mutually agreed” that delaying the polls was necessary to avoid deteriorating the situation ahead of the 2018 summer.

The panchayat elections in J&K have already been delayed since 2016.  Elections to Panchayats were last held in April-May 2011 during Omar Abdullah led National Conference-Congress regime after a gap of 37 years.

The ULB polls were held in J&K after a span of 23-years in January 2005. However, the civic polls could not be held since 2011 despite the successive governments set up several deadlines about holding the elections.