J&K DDC members refuse to attend training citing ‘rank’, ‘salary’

Jammu and Kashmir’s District Development Council members belonging to BJP, NC, PDP, Congress, PC and other parties have refused to attend a training session organised by the Union Territory’s administration in protest against the ‘rank’ and ‘salary’ they have been given.

After elections of DDC members established the three-tier panchayat system in J&K recently, the UT administration had earlier this week announced the protocol and honorarium for the members. A DDC chairperson will have the rank of an administrative secretary or inspector-general of police and receive an honorarium of Rs 35,000 per month. Vice-chairpersons are to get Rs 25,000 and other DDC members Rs 15,000.

The training programme organised by the rural development department was to be inaugurated by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. However, the DDC members kept away saying the honorarium and protocol announced had ‘humiliated’ them. They said they were willing to talk only with the LG or central representatives to resolve the issue.

“The administration made a joke out of us and mocked the whole democratic exercise. Bureaucracy doesn’t want to empower elected representatives and wants to keep DDC members as puppets,” said DDC Srinagar chairman Aijaz Hussain of the BJP. “A DDC chairperson should have a cabinet rank and other members should be given the rank of minister of state. The order needs to be reviewed. Our security officers receive a minimum salary of Rs 60,000 a month,” said Hussain.

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