Elections nowhere in sight in J&K as ULBs, Panchayats cease to exist

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 11/4/2023 6:16:18 AM

*5-year tenure of SMC ends on Nov 5, JMC on Nov 14; Terms of several local bodies already expired after Oct 28

A file photo of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) headquarters. Photo: JMC Official Website

SRINAGAR, Nov 03: The J&K administration and the central government do not appear to be any mood to hold elections in near future as the terms of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Panchayats (Rural Bodies) are coming to an end or have already expired in the next few weeks.
According to details available in public domain, the term of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) will end on November 5, which means the most important local body in J&K’s summer capital will cease to exist for now until elections are held or government comes up some alternative.
Last week, Department of Law, Justice and Parliament Affairs had communicated to the Housing and Urban Development department that the term and duration of members of municipal bodies shall expire after a lapse of five years from the date their appointment of first meeting.
The Law Department had cited section 13 and section 14 of The Jammu & Kashmir Municipal Act, 2000 and section 5(1) and The Jammu & Kashmir Municipal Corporation Act, 2000.
Likewise, the term of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) will come to end on November 14, while term of other local bodies across Jammu and Kashmir will end between October 28 and December 26 after completing 5-year terms.
The elections for local bodies and panchayats were held in 2018, Besides two municipal corporations in Srinagar and Jammu, there are 76 local bodies and 4,490 village panchayats in J&K.
Jammu and Kashmir is also without an elected government for the last more than 5 years after BJP broke ties with its alliance partner PDP in June 2018 and the erstwhile state was divided into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on August 05, 2019 when the Centre abrogation Article 370 that gave special Constitutional status to J&K.
The last J&K Legislative Assembly elections were held in November-December 2014 while the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)-Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) coalition government was formed in March 2015 with Mufti Mohammed Sayeed as chief minister.
The Centre also brought into being Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019, through which the erstwhile state was downgraded to Union Territory and its special status was abrogated under Article 370.
So far as the term of local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, several municipalities have ceased to exist as their term ended after October 28, 2023.
Even though term of some local bodies has ended, while some will cease to exist after completion of five-years, there is still no plan or schedule of elections to these local bodies and village panchayats as the government has maintained complete silence over the issue.
As per details, term of municipal committee Kupwara and Bandipora ended on November 02, while terms of Langate and Handwara local bodies would end on November 18. In Baramulla district, the term of Baramulla municipal council will end on November 09, while term of Sopore local body will end tomorrow.
The 5-year tenure of Kunzer, Pattan, Uri and Watergam local bodies will also end tomorrow. The tenure of Hajin and Sumbal municipalities will end on November 18.
In Budgam district, the tenure of all local bodies including Budgam, Chadoora, Chrar-e-Sharief, Khan Sahib and Magam will end on November 12. The term of Municipal Council, Anantnag and Municipal Committee, Achabal came to end on October 28, while the tenure of Municipal Committees including Ashmuqam, Mattan, Pahalgam, Bijbehara and Qazigund would end on November 14.
The term of Dooru-Verinag municipal committee ended on November 01, while tenure of Kokernag local body ended on October 31. The term of Kulgam and Devsar municipal committees ended on October 29, tenure of Yaripora local body will end tomorrow.
Similarly, the 5-year tenure of Pampore and Tral local bodies will end on December 26 and November 29 respectively. The term of Shopian local body ended on October 29, and 5-year tenure of Ganderbal local body would end on November 08.



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