The delay in municipal elections in Jammu is not just affecting the execution of various development projects, but has also put the gullible citizens at the receiving end as they see no way out to register their complaints in the absence of any elected representative.
The development in the entire Jammu city within the limits of the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) is going at a snail’s pace as the present coalition government still seems in no mood to hold municipal elections in the near future.
The last municipal polls in the city were held in 2005. But apparently, in the year 2010, the terms of the elected councilors got expired and they ultimately became inactive until next local body elections. Since then, for more than three years, the condition of most of the municipal wards in the city has just worsened with the passing time. And there is no sign of next elections so far, the development has come to a halt.
The residents of all the wards of Jammu falling under MC’s limits are in serious trouble as they do not know whom to approach in the absence of elected representatives.
“Our street has become sort of garbage dumping yard and the condition of the pathway is just pathetic. The worst part about the problem is that there is no valid local body or authority where we can go and complain,” says Pankaj Gupta, a resident of Malhotra Street.
“The situation is really miserable in the absence of any authority over here. The electric supply, the water supply and especially the cleanliness is so out of order”, said Vikas Raina, a resident of Roop Nagar.
“Moreover, we can’t go to JMC’s office everyday with these small grievances, some authority at our level is desperately required”, he added.
During the term of the elected council the situation of all the wards was quite better. The functioning was going well at the grass root level but as the term of the councilors expired three years ago and no re-election took place, things are back to zero again. Many projects for the welfare of the residents of these wards have been left
“There was a construction project of parking lot going on in our area during the term of our councilor which was left incomplete as his term expired. We are waiting for the election to happen for past three years so that the project gets completed and we are able to park our vehicles in safer place”, pleaded Krishan Lal, a resident of Jullaka Mohalla.
Not only incomplete projects but other problems are also rising in different areas of the city because of this. Heaps of garbage lying here and there, choked drains, stray animals in the lanes is a very common sight.
What makes the situation even more miserable is that the sweepers are not serious. In the absence of any authority to keep check on them, they have become fearless. They are never on time. They collect the
garbage and dump it in front of the doors of the homes of the people living there.
“According to rules, the re polls of JMC should be done before the terms of the councilor of that time expires. But nothing like that happened. I had so many projects in the pipeline for the welfare of the people of my ward which are still hanging because of the expiry of my term. I wrote so many times to the authorities but it seems they
are sleeping and are not in the mood of doing re-elections”, said Zafar Javed Ahmed Khan, ex. Councilor of ward no. 2.
Since Independence the elections of Jammu Municipality have taken place four times only i.e., 1956, 1972, 1980 and 2005. Time gap between the previous elections of Jammu Municipal Corporation clearly pictures the callous attitude of the authorites.
Although the announcements for re elections of local bodies of Jammu Municipal Corporation have been made every now and then but sadly they turned out as mere eye wash.
Also, the elections are already delayed for more than three long years and still no one knows when these will be held again. The situation is not only peculiar and one of its kind but also serious and calls for immediate attention.
Kiran Wattal, Commissioner, JMC, when contacted, said that JMC is not responsible for organising elections in the city as it is responsibility of either Chief Electoral Officer of someone from present government.