J&K govt to transfer maximum power to Panchayati raj: Omar

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said his government will transfer maximum powers to newly elected grassroot-level representatives for establishing an effective Panchayati Raj in the state.

A committee of high-ranking officers headed by the Chief Secretary is working out transfer of functions, funds and functionaries to Panchayats, Omar said while interacting with the newly-elected sarpachs and panchs in Beerwah area of Budgam district, 40 kms from here.

He said the report of the committee is in the last stage of formulation.

The Chief Minister said holding panchayat elections in the state after 33 years was a "historic" decision of far- reaching consequences on the development and social fronts.

"The establishment of democratic institutions at lower level would on one hand strengthen democracy in the state and on the other help to empower people to take decisions about the development aspects by themselves and be important part in planning process," he said.

Omar said panchayats would prove an effective tool to keep an eye on the work and reduce chances of corruption.

"By holding panchayat elections, I aim at shifting powers from the central level to public representatives at grass roots so that they could themselves decide about the launch of area-specific development work in their areas according to public requirement and preference. This cannot be achieved at the secretariat level," he added.

"You have all the more responsibilities towards the society and the voters who have elected you by taking part in large numbers in the elections," he said adding every voter will keenly watch their conduct and service.