Srinagar: Opposition parties on Monday called for an amendment to the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act to incorporate the provisions of the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution, including elected chairman for District Development Boards as part of the three-tier panchayat system.
"The 73rd amendment is not an issue as has been accepted by some of the leaders from the ruling coalition. Why does not the Assembly amend the state Panchayati Raj Act to provide for an elected chairman of the District Development Boards," PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh said in the Assembly.
The Assembly held a short duration discussion on the recent killings of sarpanchs and panchs in some parts of the Valley and the need for taking measures to empower, safeguard and strengthen these democratic institutions.
He said there has been a lot of debate about the need for empowerment of the Panchayats but the energy should have been focused on implementing the existing provisions of the Act.
Beigh said the government failed to hold elections to the block development councils within the time frame stipulated in the act which had resulted in the Centre stopping funds to the tune of Rs 493 crore.
CPI(M) MLA MY Tarigami during the discussion hit out at hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for expressing happiness over the resignation of panchayat members in the wake of killings last month.
"I do not subscribe to the view, even if expressed by people in the highest seat of governance, that panchayat elections have resolved the political issues here. It will only give rise to delusions," Tarigami said.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA GA Mir said his party did not press for adopting 73rd amendment but wanted that its provisions be incorporated in the state act.
The discussion will continue tomorrow as the Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone adjourned the house for the day and the end of scheduled time.