Newly elected members of the 10 District Development Councils in Jammu division took oath of office on Monday, marking the establishment of the three-tier panchayati raj system. According to a government spokesperson, the members took oath in their respective district headquarters.
The 140 members were elected in the eight-phase elections between November 28 and December 19, the first democratic exercise in Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and its bifurcation into union territories in August last year. The counting of votes took place on December 22. There are a total of 20 DDCs — 10 each in Jammu and Kashmir — in the Union Territory. Each District Development Council (DDC) has 14 members.
Jammu Deputy Commissioner Sarita Chauhan administered the oath to the 14 DDC members, including five women, at a function here. Four of them took oath in Dogri language, six in Hindi, three in English and one in Punjabi. The DDC members, while talking to mediapersons, promised to work for development of their areas with utmost transparency and serve the people with a sense of great dedication and passion.
Similar swearing-in ceremonies took place in Kathua, Rajouri, Udhampur, Doda, Samba, Kishtwar, Ramban, Reasi and Poonch districts. Administering the oath to the members, Udhampur District Development Commissioner Piyush Singla expressed hope that the development process at the grassroots level will get a boost with the establishment of the panchayati raj system.
Reasi District Development Commissioner Indu Kanwal Chib congratulated the new members and said the people have high hopes from democratic institutions and it is their responsibility to focus on development and welfare issues of the public. It is the dawn of a new year and a step towards strengthening grassroots-level democracy, she added.