Jammu and Kashmir is all set to go for the urban local bodies election which has been delayed for long, and the process for holding polls has finally been initiated. The chief electoral officer of the state has given direction to the state authorities to refer names for appointment as electoral officers in different districts. These officials will help in preparation of different wards of the municipal bodies. The government had on April 6 given the nod for holding urban local bodies elections, and this decision was welcomed by the entire urban population of the state which wants it’s own representatives to ensure development and civic works.
The officials will first prepare the electoral rolls after which government will finalize the schedule for holding elections in consultation with the chief electoral officer. Sources said that the government was in mood to hold the elections as large amount of funds are available to the urban local bodies through central government. A whopping 1300 crores has been earmarked for the urban local bodies, and this amount is likely to be released in two tranches by centre if elections are held timely.
There are 47 municipal councils and committees in Kashmir whereas in Jammu the number is 37. Both Jammu and Srinagar have corporations with Mayors. The corporation in Jammu has 7 wards, whereas councils of Kathua and udhampur have wards each. Last time the elections to these bodies were held in 2005 but the government failed to hold them in 2010, and since then these have remained pending. The result is that central assistance worth crores has been lost because of the non-holding of elections.