Panches, Sarpanches to be treated as local ministers

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Ludhiana, Jul 11 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the Punjab Government would treat Panches and Sarpanches as local ministers and would empower them in order to make them active and effective partners in development process.

"Strengthening of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) is necessary to save the grass-root democracy from the challenges it faces from dictatorial tendencies," Mr Badal said while addressing a massive gathering of the newly elected members of panchayats from Ludhiana district who had assembled here to participate in the oath taking ceremony.

On the occasion, Mr Badal administered the oath of office to as many as 6000 newly elected panches from 892 panchayats of the district.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Badal called for drastic recasting of planning process in the country. "The top-down approach to planning has already led to not only to the slowing down of development but also to growth priorities being misplaced," he said. "Planning must be in consonance with grass-root realities. But unfortunately most of the time, the country has suffered because of an ivory-tower approach to this issue, with planners deciding the destiny of villages and city wards from air-conditioned rooms", said Mr Badal.

Congratulating the newly elected panches on the occasion, he asked the elected members of the panchayats to oversee the different on going development activities in their respective villages to ensure its quality and completion within a time bound frame. He assured the panches that the SAD-BJP government was committed to empower the PRIs and there would be no paucity of funds for the development projects.

Mr Badal directed the civil and police administration to pay due respect and extend required courtesies to the members of the PRIs, as the state government had already issued detailed instructions in this regard.

He assured the members of the PRIs that disciplinary proceedings would be initiated against any officer or an official found guilty of this misconduct. He also asked all the Deputy Commissioners of the state to ensure strict compliance of these instructions.

UNI PS JS1644

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