New Delhi: In the backdrop of fear gripping sarpanchs in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Panchayati Raj Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo on Tuesday agreed with the state government`s stand that it was not possible to provide security to all of them but said they should be given powers to perform.
He said he has been writing to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in this regard and had recently sent his Additional Secretary to Srinagar for the same purpose.
"I have written to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. The Ministry is taking up the matter with the state government. I have been talking to them over phone. I had also sent my Additional Secretary there for this," Deo told reporters.
He was replying to a query on the state of Panchayats and sarpanchs in Jammu and Kashmir.
"I agree with the state government`s view that it is not possible to provide security to all 40,000 sarpanchs. But the main aspect is that we have trained the sarpanchs and got them elected. But you have not devolved any funds and functions. So, what else do you expect? This could also be one of the reasons for sarpanchs feeling insecure in the state," he said.
It is understood that devolution of powers to Panchayats is being delayed by MLAs heading the Political Committees made for this purpose, sources said.
MLAs heading the Political Committees are not willing to share funds and responsibilities with sarpanchs, they added.
Sarpanchs in a few districts of the state were targeted by militant groups sometime back.
Along with J&K, a similar problem has been reported from Jharkhand where the state government is awaiting formation of District Planning Committees (DPCs) before delegating works and funds to Panchayats.