Jammu: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday
favoured empowerment of Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir in
line with the Central Panchayati Raj Act.
Gandhi, who arrived here from Srinagar on the last day
of his visit to the state, said newly-elected sarpanches and
panches in the state should be given more responsibilities and
"It is most important that sarpanches and panches get
their rights. They are given responsibilities to ensure
development at the grassroot level," he told a meeting in
Rajouri district, 180-km from here.
"I have already told about this to Saif-ud-Din Soz (JKPCC
(chief), Mohan Parkash (In charge J&K) and Chief Minister Omar
Abdullah," Gandhi said.
The Congress General Secretary was commenting on demands
of Congress leaders for implementation of the 73rd and the
74th amendment of the Panchayati Raj Act to empower Panchayats
in decision-making and financial matters in accordance with
the Central Panchayati Raj Act.
The Congress youth leader said there was no dearth of
money for development.
"Whatever is needed is given but it must be ensured
that it reaches the grassroot-level in villages.
"If it is not reaching the grassroot-level, you call it
corruption or any other thing, but I feel it should reach the
villages," Gandhi said.
Panches and sarpanches must ensure that the money meant
for development should reach the grassroot-level, he said.
On the rail line to Rajouri and Poonch, a demand raised
by Soz, Gandhi said "I will go to Delhi and find out the
status of the project. The survey of the rail line has been
On growing unemployment, he said steps would be taken
to provide more employment opportunities to the youth.