Punjab flip-flop on panchayat dissolution

Chandigarh, April 14 (IANS) Punjab Sunday did a flip-flop on the issue of dissolution of 12,775 panchayats in the state.

Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Surjit Singh Rakhra had announced Friday that all the 12,775 panchayats (village councils) had been dissolved to pave the way for fresh elections, but the Punjab government Sunday said they would continue to function as earlier.

“The communication gap in this regard is highly regretted,” an official said.

“The dates of the panchayat elections are yet to be announced and notified by the state election commission,” the official added.

“Therefore, in view of legal provisions, the panchayats would continue to function till further orders and the matter of dissolution of panchayats and issuance of notification thereof would be taken up at a later stage,” the official said.

Rakhra had announced Friday that the panchayats stood dissolved and even mentioned that powers of panchayats were being given to concerned officers so that development activities did not come to a halt in rural areas.

The state government had even issued a press statement Friday, based on Rakhra’s announcement of the dissolution.

The spokesman said that “the matter of election to the panchayats had been taken up with the state election commission”.

Rakhra had even announced that the election process for the new panchayats would be completed before May 31.

He said 399 new panchayats have been constituted and the new election would be held for 13,110 panchayats.

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