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DDC members angry over “low allowances” set by J&K administration

Last Updated on March 11, 2021 at 1:36 pm

Recently elected District Development Council (DDC) members did not deliberately attend a two-day training and workshop program in Jammu on March 9.

This symbolic protest by DDC members was against a recent government order setting their allowances at a an allegedly “low level”. The members claimed that the step of the government sets a low value of their position even if the central government wants to use DDC elections to restore mainstream politics in the erstwhile state.

On 8 March, the administration positioned DDC Chairpersons on a level similar to Administrative Secretaries. Deputy Chairpersons have been positioned with Vice-Chancellors of universities within the Union Territory. DDC members have been provided equal protocol to Block Development Council Chairpersons or Presidents of Municipal Councils.

A monthly honorarium of Rs.35,000 has been set for DDC Chairpersons, Rs.25,000 for Deputy Chairpersons and Rs.15,000 for DDC members. This will include Rs.1,500 for travel allowance and Rs. 500 for telephone allowance. The DDC members are not satisfied with this low pay. All the members from every party, including those from the BJP, jointly organised a demonstration asking for honourable pay and amenities.

Political experts say that even though the immediate reason for this protest was the low pay, still DDC members are not satisfied with the scope of their political or administrative range. These low allowances announced for them could be seen as a signal by the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s message to DDC members that their role and rights would be restricted in the regime of Lt Governor.

Many DDC members came together in Jammu and demanded that Lt Governor must intervene. Sajad Lone, head of the Peoples Conference, called these DDC protocols a “disappointment and humiliation”. He said that the real problem is that after August 5, 2019, bureaucrats have become ever powerful and they will never like democracy being practiced. They perceive anybody who is elected by people as a threat to their powers.