Panchayats should act as agents of change in rural areas: Ganai

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SRINAGAR: Advisor to Governor, Mr Khurshid A Ganai on Wednesday said strengthening of Panchayats Raj institutions would bring holistic change in the rural scenario across Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing a meeting of the Rural Development Department here, Mr Ganai called for strengthening the Panchayat Raj Institutions. He said that the stakeholders, especially the Panchs and Sarpanchs have to become agents of change.

“I want to tell you that if you want to see development across Jammu and Kashmir, it can be brought by strengthening Panchayats, because they have an access to the grass-roots,” Mr Ganai said. He asked officials to explore the possibilities of empowering Panchayat members by bringing them into a domain where they could help the government and the society in spreading awareness about various issues, including sanitation,  safe drinking water, health hazards among others issues.

“Standard of sanitation in rural Kashmir must be highest priority of Panchayats. We should make use of Panchayats in sensitizing people about the sanitation issues in villages,” he said and added that in most of the rural areas, water sources become contaminated because of the poor sanitary conditions.

Mr Ganai said under convergence programme water reservoirs are being constructed in rural areas to ensure conservation of water for irrigation and drinking purposes.

He directed the Rural Development Department officials to carry out rigorous touring of their respective areas and understand the rural dynamics. “These are bigger issues that cannot be resolved in a day but these all issues need a timely intervention from your side,” he said.

Mr Ganai urged the officials to work dedicatedly for Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC). “It has to be a community based programme where Panchayati Raj Institutions are on the forefront,” he said and added Panchayats at block and village level are to be fully involved for generating awareness among masses about TSC.

The meeting was attended by Director Rural Development Department, Tassaduq Jeelani, ACDs, BDOs, REWs, District Project Officers DRDA/IMMP and other senior administrative officers of the Kashmir division.

Giving details about the departmental works, Director, RDD, Tassaduq Jeelani said that the department has taken up various programmes. He informed the meeting about the district wise position of erstwhile and new blocks with Panchayat Halqas. The director also briefed the Advisor on the works done and undertaken under MGNREGA. 

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