Ahead of the upcoming Panchayat elections, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on Tuesday announced the total number of Panchayats and Sarpanches in the state.
Addressing a press briefing, Subrahmanyam said that in total there are 4,490 Panchayats in the state and as many Sarpanches. The total number of Panches in the state will be 35,000. There will be around 39,500 elected representatives in our Panchayats.
Subrahmanyam also said that there are 79 urban local bodies and about 1200 wards -- 600 each in Kashmir and Jammu region.
The Urban Local Body (ULB) polls will be conducted in four phases starting October 8, whereas the panchayat polls will be held in nine-phases from November 17.
Incidentally, miscreants set a panchayat ghar on fire in Bandipora district of the state, taking the number of such government buildings being torched since the announcement of the local bodies polls in the state to eight, police said Tuesday. "Unknown miscreants tried to set ablaze a panchayat ghar at Matrigam Tikri in the Pehthkote area of Banipora district in north Kashmir Monday," a police official said. He said the fire resulted in partial damage to the building.
Fire tenders were rushed to the spot as soon as the news of the incident was received, the official said. He said this was the eighth such incident in which a panchayat ghar has been set on fire since the polls for municipal bodies and panchayats were announced in the state.
Most of these buildings were set on fire in south Kashmir, the official said, adding that the police have registered cases in all the incidents and investigations were on.
Separatists and militants have asked people to stay away from the polls, which have also been boycotted by the state's two main political parties -- the National Conference and the PDP -- and also by the CPI(M).
Three cops were abducted and later killed by militants in Shopian district of south Kashmir, following which several special police officers (SPOs) of Jammu and Kashmir announced their resignation on social media.
Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh and the valley's top army official Lt Gen A K Bhatt Monday reviewed the security situation ahead of the polls at a meeting at Handwara in Kupwara district of the state.
The senior security officials emphasised that the existing cooperation and synergy between different forces is to be further strengthened to combat militancy and also to ensure smooth conduct of the local government elections.