Elections to urban local bodies in JK after completion of delimitation exercise of wards: LG

Elections to urban local bodies in JK after completion of delimitation exercise of wards: LG

Jammu, Nov 14 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday said the election for urban local bodies would be held after completion of the delimitation exercise of wards and reservation of wards for other backward classes.

He said this while attending the felicitation ceremony of the councilors of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) whose five-year-term ends Tuesday.

He commended all the councilors for selflessly serving people, fighting Covid pandemic and ensuring municipal services in respective areas.

Srinagar Municipal Corporation also completed its full term on November 5, while the municipal committees are also completing their full tenure this month.

'The elections for urban local bodies (ULBs) would be held after completion of the delimitation exercise of wards and reservation of wards for Other Backward Classes. Common public and elected representatives must work in synergy and focus on resource generation,' Sinha said.

He said despite delayed implementation of 73rd and 74th amendments in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union territory administration has ensured basic principles of decentralization of decision making and development by transferring more departments and works to elected representatives after Aug 2019, the day when the Centre revoked Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories.

He also said ULBs of Jammu and Kashmir are provided with greater financial resources for strong and accountable self-government and to ensure holistic ecosystem for last-mile access to services.

According to officials, the housing and urban development department is actively pursuing a communication from the office of the chief electoral officer (CEO), which, among other things, suggested transfer of mandate to conduct the municipal electoral processes to the State Election Commission (SEC) in accordance with constitutional provisions.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the chief electoral officer (CEO) is the authority to hold ULB elections in addition to Lok Sabha and assembly polls, while the SEC -- headed by a state election commissioner -- is mandated to conduct elections to Panchayati Raj institutions.

In a letter to the housing and urban development department last month, the CEO's office said consequent to the appointment of a full-time state election commissioner, the mandate to conduct the municipal electoral processes needs to be transferred from the CEO to the SEC.

'For this, the election authority under the municipal acts needs to be changed from chief electoral officer to the state election commissioner. The constitutional provisions also mandate this,' the letter read.

The last ULB and panchayat elections were held between October and December 2018 after a long delay. PTI TAS ZMN

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