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Posted at: Jan 14, 2018, 12:02 AM; last updated: Jan 14, 2018, 12:02 AM (IST)

Panchayat poll process to start from Jan 17

Panchayat poll process to start from Jan 17
Women queue up to vote during the elections in the Valley. Tribune file photo

Amir Karim Tantray

Tribune News Service

Jammu, January 13

The much-awaited panchayat poll process will be set in motion on January 17 when the state government will issue a notification.

Highly placed official sources said the notification for holding the first phase of the polls for 4,500 panchayats would be issued on January 17. “Our arrangements are in place and we can start the poll process as scheduled,” said a senior officer who is associated with supervision and coordination of the polls.

The initial phases will cover plains of Jammu and some parts of north Kashmir. The turbulent south Kashmir will go to the polls in the last phase.

There are serious security concerns in the Valley where militants have threatened to throw acid into the eyes of those taking part in the polls. Separatists, too, have given a boycott call.

However, despite their boycott call in 2011, the turnout was more than 80 per cent.

This time there will be no direct elections for sarpanches as the state government had amended the Panchayati Raj Act recently. Now people will be electing panches, who will later elect sarpanches.

After the amendment, the government had to go for the delimitation of panchayat wards.

“Though the delimitation has already been completed, we are still stuck in the reservation process. Our officers are working 24x7 to complete it. We are hopeful that in the next few days everything will be sorted out,” said a senior official of the Rural Development Department.

For unbiased polls, the government is planning to reshuffle officers in the Rural Development Department. “All BDOs working in home districts will be transferred so that elections are held smoothly. This department is in the process of preparing a transfer list,” said the official.

Besides, election cells have been constituted at all district headquarters to manage the polls in their respective districts.

First phase polling in Jammu areas

  • The notification for holding the first phase of the polls for 4,500 panchayats to be issued on January 17 
  • The initial phases will cover plains of Jammu and some parts of north Kashmir. South Kashmir will go to the polls in the last phase
  • To make the process transparent, the government is planning to reshuffle officers, especially the block development officers

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