|Ishtiyaq Ahmad |
Early Times Report
srinagar, Sept 17: To empower grassroots, the funds for works identified under 'Back to Village' programme would be used by Panchs and Sarpanchs in Jammu and Kashmir.
First of its kind, the 'Back to Village' programme was held between June 21 to 27 in Jammu and Kashmir. Government had said that it was primarily aimed at energizing the 4483 Panchayats.
During this period, the government officers moved out to all districts and received feedback from Panchs and Sarpanchs.
Subsequently, the authorities identified the works that would be undertaken under the programme.
Sources within the Rural Development Department said that Centre has told the JK government to ensure empowerment of Panchayats.
"The funds for works identified under the Back to Village programme will be used by Sarpanchs and Panchs," the sources said.
"The district development commissioners will monitor the funds. They (DCs) have been directed to first start those works which are of high priority. Most of the works to be started initially under the programme are repairing of roads, transformers, high tension lines, and schools," the sources said.
During the programme, the officers had taken feedback from the Panchayat representatives about their respective areas.
The Finance Department recently sanctioned Rs 121 crore for undertaking works identified the programme. Each district would receive Rs five crore in additional funds sanctioned to divisional commissioners of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The Centre, as part of its initiative to empower around 40,000 elected local representatives in JK, had earlier enhanced the financial powers of panchayats 10-fold from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh, and that of block councils from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh.
There were complaints in the past that funds meant for Panchayats were not reaching to grassroots.
Director Rural Development Department Kashmir has written to concerned officials to ensure transparency of funds meant for Panchayats in the valley.
"It is mandatory to ensure that the funds in the account of the Halqa Panchayat are properly used and that the funds balance available in these Halqa Panchayat account prior to the notification of constituted Panchayats or appointment of administers are in order and every transaction in the said Halqa Panchayat account accounts is as per the financial rules," an order issued in July this year by Rural Development Department, reads.