Srinagar: The office of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, has directed district authorities in the Valley to be mindful of their conduct while dealing with public representatives including Panchs, Sarpanchs and Block Development Councils (BDC).
The senior administration in the region has issued a letter dated November 7 to all deputy commissioners in Kashmir following complaints of “disrespect and misbehaviour” by administration officials against various public representatives.
“Such misbehaviour with the public representatives is not only undesirable but also against the conduct rules. The public representatives represent the public at large and by disrespecting them, you are showing disrespect towards the public,” the letter by P.K. Pole, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, read.
The DivCom stated that any work, demand or complaint submitted by the public representatives should be considered on merit, or as per law. “If its falls within and as per norms, it should be acted upon as expeditiously as possible and those falling out of rule/norms, necessary intimation of the same should be given to the concerned public representatives,” the official said.
The senior administrative official also warned of disciplinary action against officers who were accused of disrespect or misbehaviour. They would also be pulled up in case an official does not take the demands or complaints of a public representative seriously.
The directive comes after members of the BJP accused the police and district authorities in Kulgam district of apathy. Three of the party’s workers, including a youth leader, were killed by suspected militants in South Kashmir’s Kulgam on October 29. BJP functionaries alleged laxity on the part of the administration.
The authorities’ concern also comes at ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) elections. The polls will be held in eight phases from November 28, according to a notification issued by the state election commission.
With the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year, the region’s politics and governance has witnessed a significant shift. The authorities have since held BDC polls in the union territory to “strengthen the grass-roots politics” through Panchayati Raj and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as an alternative to the traditional politics.
Over 26 thousand Panches and Sarpanches participated in the BDC elections. In Kashmir division candidates in as many as 137 blocks were elected. The DDC election, however, is the first major electoral process in the region after it was stripped of the “special status” despite the opposition to the move.
After boycotting the BDC polls earlier, mainstream political parties in the region – who have joined hands under the People’s Alliance of Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) – are participating in the DDC polls.