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Holding civic elections a victory of democracy: Satya Pal Malik.

The panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) can truly represent and fulfill the developmental aspirations of the people, governor Satya Pal Malik said on Friday, and described successful conduct of the civic elections in Jammu and Kashmir as a “victory of democracy”.

Addressing the oath-ceremony of newly-elected sarpanchs of Jammu division, the governor said: “Due to direct participation of people in planning of the development of their areas and implementing the government’s welfare schemes, the PRIs can truly represent and fulfill development aspirations of the people.”

The governor complimented sarpanchs and panchs for their wholehearted participation in the panchayat elections which were held after a gap of seven years and saw a voter turnout of 74.1 percent, an official spokesman said in a statement.

“The governor lauded the people and government functionaries for holding incident-free elections even under very trying circumstances. He described it as the victory of democracy in a country which has faith in democratic institutions since times immemorial,” the spokesman said.The governor observed that major amendments in the panchayati raj Act have been incorporated through which the government intends to go for “massive devolution of funds and functions of 19 departments to the PRIs”.

He advised the sarpanchs to use funds judiciously and ensure development which is in sync with the natural environment.He stressed that “survival and existence of vegetation, trees, ponds, indigenous animal species should be taken into consideration while formulating development plans”.

The governor assured every possible support of his administration to the sarpanchs and panchs and observed that planned development of any area would be done in consensus with the panchs and sarpnachs of respective panchayats.He urged the sarpanchs to ensure that institutions responsible for ensuring primary health and education at grassroots are strengthened and attention is given to develop sports infrastructure at the village-level “with opportunities to youth to explore their capabilities to the maximum”.

Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, advisor to governor, congratulated the sarpanchs on their election and advised Sheetal Nanda, secretary rural development department to “print multilingual literature for ready reference of elected panchs and sarpanchs regarding their roles and responsibilities”.

Governor’s another advisor K Vijay Kumar also congratulated all the sarpanchs on their successful election and advised them to work for the development of their areas as per people’s aspirations.

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