Hailing the recent verdict of the J&K High Court for time bound Local Bodies polls in the state to be concluded within a period of six months, Harsh Dev Singh Chairman JKNPP and former Minister said that it was breather for the civic bodies which were not duly being ignored in terms of development but were also deprived of the benefits of democratic decentralization as envisaged under law. Flaying the dilly-dally tactics of the state govt., he said that with the tentative election schedule for urban and rural local bodies having already been announced by the Governor and all preparations having been made by the Election Deptt., it was expected that the incumbent govt. would not create obstacles or obstructions in the process.
He said that not only was the tentative schedule for the said polls announced by the Governor but the much needed amendment for use of electronic voting machines in places of ballot papers in the local bodies polls had also been effected by the Governor through his ordinance making power.
Pointing that there were unconfirmed reports of the BJP-PDP contemplating appeal before the High Court for postponement of such elections, Singh said that any such proposition was frought with dangerous consequences and would be fought tooth and nail in view of elections having been repeatedly deferred for political reasons alone.
Emphasizing the urgency of early elections to local bodies, Singh said that the state of J&K had already lost several hundreds of crores due to its reluctance to hold the municipal polls. He regretted that state had been deprived of thousands of crores of rupees for development of Municipal areas which has been withheld by the Central govt. during the last six years due to the failure of the state govt. to constitute the elected municipal bodies.
Singh regretted the ‘in-explicable’ delay and repeated postponements of the same despite the state Elections Authorities having indicated their preparedness on scores of occasions. Flaying the dilly dally tactics of the state govt., he said the coalition govt. was squarely responsible for poor delivery of basic civic services including water supply, sanitation sewage and solid waste management, maintainces of community assets, upkeep of roads, lanes, drains, footpaths, street lighting besides other facilities which were adversely affected by the delayed elections caused due to political expediencies of the alliance partners.
He regretted that non constitution of Urban Local Bodies had not only caused financial loss to the state but had also enabled the govt. to rule and administer the Urban areas by proxy in the absence of grass root democratic institutions in the municipal areas.