Governor Satya Pal Malik attended the Oath ceremony function of the newly elected Sarpanches of Jammu Division, organized by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, here today. Sh. Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and Sh. K. Vijay Kumar, Advisors to Governor, Sh. Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to Governor; and many senior officers from Civil and Police were present on the occasion.Governor congratulated the Sarpanches on being elected as representatives of their respective Panchayats. He observed that the Panchayati Raj Institutions can truly represent and fulfill the developmental aspirations of people due to direct participation of people in planning development of their areas and implementing Government welfare schemes under close monitoring.Governor complimented Sarpanches and Panches for their whole hearted participation in the Panchayat elections which were held after a gap of 7 years and saw a voter turnout of 74.1 %. He lauded people and Government functionaries for making it a well conducted and incident free elections even under very trying circumstances. He described it as the victory of democracy in a country which has faith in democratic institutions since time immemorial.
Governor observed that major amendments in the Panchayati Raj Act have been incorporated through which the Government intends massive devolution of funds, functions and functionaries of 19 departments to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. He advised the Sarpanches to use funds judiciously and urged them to ensure development which is in sync with the natural environment. He stressed that survival and existence of vegetation, trees, ponds, indigenous animal species etc should be taken into consideration while formulating development plans.Governor assured every possible support of his Administration to the Sarpanches and Panches and observed that planned development of any area would be done in consensus with the Panches and Sarpnaches of respective Panchyats.Governor emphasized upon the Sarpanches to ensure that institutions responsible for ensuring primary health and education at grass root level are strengthened and attention is given to develop sports infrastructure at the Village level with opportunities to youth to explore their capabilities to the maximum.
Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Advisor to Governor, congratulated the Sarpanches on their election and advised Ms. Sheetal Nanda, Secretary Rural Development to print multilingual literature for ready reference of elected Panches and Sarpanches regarding their roles and responsibilities.Sh. K. Vijay Kumar, Advisor to Governor, congratulated all the Sarpanches on their successful election and advised them to work for the development of their areas as per people’s aspirations.Ms. Sheetal Nanda, Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj assured her Department’s full co-operation to the Panchayats and informed them about their training programmes which will be shortly conducted by the Rural Development Department.Earlier Governor visited the stalls put up by the Government Departments for generating awareness about the various Central and State Government welfare schemes.A short film on Panchayat elections was screened on the occasion.Ms. Rehana Batul Director General, Rural Development Department presented the Welcome Address and Sh. Muddasir Latif Tasir, ACD Samba gave a Vote of Thanks on the occasion.