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Strengthening grassroots democracy: Govt to build playgrounds in each Panchayat Halqa

Srinagar, Mar 6: Days after deferring rural polls, Jammu and Kashmir government has gone into an overdrive to build infrastructure in different Panchayat Halqas in an apparent attempt to control damage and placate the grassroots workers in the union territory.
On February 18, the government postponed eight-phase polls for vacant Panchayats after receiving inputs from security agencies about the possible trouble. The polls were scheduled to be held from March 5.
A week later, the UT administration has decided to shift focus on developmental activities and establish at least one playground in each Panchayat Halqa across Jammu and Kashmir.
Under the first phase, the government is building 496 playgrounds in Kashmir at an estimated cost of Rs 5,815 lakhs.
Official data reveal that only 780 Panchayats in Kashmir has designated playgrounds. More than 1402 Panchayats do not have playfields.
The government has identified land in 898 Panchayats for building playgrounds. Of which 157 playgrounds will be established in Baramulla. Likewise in Anantnag, Bandipora, Shopian, Pulwama and Ganderbal, the administration has decided to build 137, 60, 4, 43 and 26 playgrounds respectively. The government has decided to build eight playgrounds in Kulgam, four in Budgam and 118 in Kupwara.
Earlier this month, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan held a meeting with Deputy Commissioners to review the working of Panchayats.
Divisional Commissioner directed Deputy Commissioners to establish at least one playground in each Panchayat. “Besides, playfields of the nearest area should be utilized in case there is non-availability of grounds in any of the Panchayat Halqas,” Khan said in an order.
The need for playgrounds at the village level is aimed at channeling youth’s energy towards positive activities.