Cabinet Announces Civic Polls In Dec

Machil (Kupwara) – The state cabinet which met at far off Machil in the border district of Kupwara Wednesday with the chief minister, Omar Abdullah, in chair, decided to hold the Urban Local Body elections in the state during December this year.

“All concerned departments and agencies have been directed to give final shape to arrangements to ensure smooth conduct of the elections”, deputy chief minister, Tara Chand, told KNS over phone.

Quoting reliable sources, KNS said the next meeting of the state cabinet would be held at the remote north Kashmir town of Gurez in Bandipore district.

“Discussions on enhancing the retirement age of state government employees and other matters were also discussed. However, no decisions in this regard were taken in the meeting due to non-availability of finance minister, Abdul Rahim Rather, and law minister, Ali Muhammad Sagar, for the meeting”, they said, adding the two senior ministers were out of the state attending an international conference.

However, the sources said, the chief minister expressed his desire to fulfill the demands of employees in a phased manner.

Development issues of the remote areas of the state came up for discussion and directions were passed on to different departments to ensure completion of projects and developmental works in far flung areas within the stipulated time frame, he added.

As a part of his decentralization policy and commitment to take government to the doorsteps of people, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah, Wednesday chaired a meeting of the state cabinet at this remote habitation, which remains landlocked during winter months.

The cabinet meetings in remote areas, second after the one held at Tangdar, are aimed at ascertaining the problems facing people and for first hand appraisal of their development needs. These provide an opportunity to the cabinet ministers and top administration officials to interact with people and have personal assessment of their problems, an official handout said.

The chief minister has chalked out a schedule of holding cabinet meetings in remote and far-flung areas.

Besides discussing development issues of Machil and issuing directions on matters of urgent public need, the chief minister held district officers meeting, visited various pockets, interacted with people, received appraisal of development and talked to panchs, sarpanches and local representatives and also addressed public meeting.

At the public meeting, Omar said reaching out to every area was the guiding principle in the development process launched by his government aiming at equitable and all round development of all the regions and sub-regions. Special focus is on the fast development of remote and backward pockets besides weaker sections of the society.

The chief minister said public empowerment to ensure area specific development and involving people’s representatives in decision making at grass roots level through Panchayat Raj system had began. “We have conducted panchayat elections after about 30 years. We have empowered these ground level institutions to enable them make decisions and launch public welfare schemes in their areas”, he said adding that 3-tier Panchayat Raj was his government’s endeavor and decks had been cleared to hold Block Panchayat Council elections this year.

Omar said Public Services Guarantee Act had been implemented by his government for time-bound delivery of various services. If they do not receive the desired service within the prescribed time, the erring officials will be fined up to Rs. 5,000 and a part of that fine will be paid to the affected consumer, he said, asking the people to benefit from the “path breaking initiative” and demand public service from the departments of Power, PHE, CAPD, Revenue, Housing, Transport.

Referring to the development of Machil, Omar said bad pockets development fund had been raised this year to Rs 52 lakh from last year’s Rs 26 lakh for special projects in Machil. He has asked Border Roads Organization to complete the area’s road projects early.

The chief minister inaugurated a steel deck bridge on Machil Poshwari road built at a cost of Rs Rs. 72 lakh. He also inaugurated administrative block at Machil for offices. He laid foundation of staff quarters for government employees and a rest house at Dudi 3- kilometers from Machil.

At a meeting of district officers, the chief minister said people in remote pockets required more attention. Availability and distribution of essential commodities and domestic fuel should receive priority. Observer News Service

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