Union minister and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the state government has taken the right decision to call off Block Development Council (BDC) elections till reservations are provided so as to strengthen democracy at grass-roots level.
"The state government has postponed the BDC elections to incorporate laws necessary for the real empowerment of panchyats besides making a provision for extending reservation to women and other weaker sections of the society," said Azad at a function organised by Dogra Sadar Sabha and block Congress committee in Bishnah to observe Police Commemoration Day.
The state cabinet had last week cancelled the elections, which were scheduled to be held on November 7, after opposition to it by Congress demanding reservation for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and women in BDC, as the same were not given at sarpanch level elections.
Azad also stated that till these reservations are made, the elections would not serve their purpose.
"BDC polls should be held in December this year after incorporating amendments in the state panchayati raj act. When the panchayat members in other states of the country have power to govern at local level, why are panches and sarpanches in J&K powerless," he said adding that Congress will strongly push for the devolution of powers to the panchayat members."
Azad said government hospital Bishnah would be upgraded to a 50-bed hospital with better medicare facilities.
He said under a new scheme being launched by the union government, patients at all the government hospitals would be provided free medicines.
Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, deputy CM Tara Chand, MP Lal Singh, ministers Taj Mohiuddin, Manohar Lal Sharma and former deputy CM Mangat Ram Sharma were also present.
Bansal also paid tributes to the police martyrs. He said the water resource ministry has launched various schemes in J&K to upgrade facilities of irrigation and conservation of water resources by developing barrages.
Deputy CM hailed Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for showing keen interest in meeting the developmental aspirations of the people of the state.