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BVR ‘puts in’ papers, Arun Mehta firms up

First outreach: DDCs promised support

JAMMU: After over taken days of an unusual situation, the Jammu and Kashmir government today announced that Arun Mehta has ‘formally’ taken over as the Chief Secretary.

He was not an ‘informal’ Chief Secretary in any manner since his appointment on May 26 but his predecessor, BVR Subrahmanyam had not relinquished the charge immediately –an unforeseen situation. On May 28, the government issued orders asking officers to mark their files to Arun Mehta as Chief Secretary with effect from May 30.

Subrahmanyam wanted to relinquish charge on June 7 as per his belief in numerology, but as a matter of courtesy for some and confusion for others Mehta couldn’t be firmed as Chief Secretary.

Subrahmanyam flew in to Delhi on Saturday where he attended a series of meetings including one with Home Minister and Home Secretary, together with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and other top officers. Upon his return from Delhi earlier today, he finally handed over the charge of Chief Secretary to Arun Mehta, who was until last month Financial Commissioner to the government handling charge of Finance department.

Hours after taking ‘formal’ charge, Mehta had a conference with the newly elected chairpersons of District Development Councils and top functionaries of divisional and district civil and police administrations. This was the first meeting ever of the DDC chairpersons with any top administrative functionary ever since their elections in February.

Mehta said that the District Development Councils, Block Development Councils and Panchayats have laid the foundation of vibrant grassroot democracy and given expression to the local needs in the Union territory. He said that the recent devolution of powers with respect to 29 functions enumerated in the 11th schedule of the Constitution of India has further strengthened the Panchayati Raj Institutions in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Although the reforms have recently been introduced in the UT, J&K has rigorously implemented the provisions in letter and spirit and has caught up with better performing states/UTs  in empowering the PRIs as institutions for local government and project planning and implementation in accordance with felt needs”, he added.

The DDC Chairpersons apprised the Chief Secretary on various district-specific needs and issues faced by them. The Chief Secretary assured the District Development Councils of extended support and assistance towards progressive strengthening of PRIs and effective implementation of various provisions enshrined in the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act. He directed the divisional and district administrations to extend support and cooperation to the members of DDCs and BDCs


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