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With no elections held for 9 years, JMC, SMC, other local bodies of JK cease to exist
In absence of Mayors, Municipal Commissioners of Jammu, Srinagar call shots
8/9/2018 11:39:06 PM
Jehangir Rashid
Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, Aug 9: For the past nine years or so the municipal corporations of Jammu and Srinagar, winter and summer capital cities of Jammu & Kashmir respectively, have ceased to exist since the elections for these bodies have not been held for almost a decade now.
Last time it was in 2004 that elections were held for Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC). The term of the people elected as Corporators or councilors at SMC and JMC for that matter ended in 2009. Fresh elections had to be conducted immediately, but that did not happen up to this point of time.
Elections to the 68 municipal councils and municipal committees spread across the length and breadth of the state were also held in 2004. These municipal committees and councils right from Lakhanpur to Uri also ceased to exist after 2009 and the successive state governments took no step to hold fresh elections for them as well.
National Conference (NC)-Congress government that was in power in Jammu & Kashmir between 2009 and 2014 and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government that was in power between March 1, 2015 and June 19, 2018 failed to hold elections for JMC and SMC and also the other local bodies.
"Failure of the previous state governments to hold local body elections in the state led to disempowerment of people at the corporation, council and committee level. There is no Mayor for JMC and SMC and as such the Municipal Commissioners at Srinagar and Jammu are calling the shots," said a group of people while sharing views with Early Times.
This group of people said that corporations in Jammu and Srinagar are not the corporations in the real sense since there are no local people to run the show there. They said that in a corporation the concerned councilors or corporators are approached by people for solution to their daily problems.
"The legislators are not meant to listen to the daily grievances of people since it is the job of local councilors and corporators. Given the fact that JMC and SMC are disempowered corporations the Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are running the show. The legislators have forgotten their basic role of framing legislation for the people as a whole," said the people.
The people said that corporations, councils and committees are important in the same way as Panchayats are for the people living in the rural areas. They said that people at helm over the years in the state have failed to empower the masses at the grassroots level.
However, of late there is a silver lining as the Governor Narendra Nath Vohra led state administration has decided to hold the polls for local bodies. These elections are most probably likely to be held in September followed by elections to Panchayats.
Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shaleen Kabra today said that as the assembly electoral rolls are relatable to municipal areas and the persons registered as voters for the Legislative Assembly are entitled to vote for the Municipal areas also, the Kashmiri migrants shall continue to form a part of electoral rolls of the relevant municipal body in Kashmir division.
Kabra said that necessary arrangements shall be made for casting of votes by them (Kashmiri migrants) through postal ballot. He said the Kashmiri migrant electors can check Municipal Electoral Rolls available with Assistant Electoral Registration Officers (Migrants) at Deputy Director, Horticulture, Planning and Marketing, New Delhi, Assistant Relief Commissioner, Relief (Migrants) Jammu and Collector, Northern Railways, Udhampur.
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