Rajouri: Underlining the importance of the office bearers of the Panchayati Raj institutions, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said that Sarpanchs will soon get powers equivalent to an MLA.

Addressing the Sarpanch and the members of the Panchyat of Mendhar, Suranket and other blocks of the Rajouri district, Abdullah said that for the development of the villages, special identity cards will be issued for a Sarpanch.

Using the card, the senior member of the Panchayat can meet officers of any department and discuss about the development.

“Strict action will be taken against the officials showing negligence in addressing the problems put forth by the Sarpanchs," said the CM. He also stated that members of the Panchayat can also talk to him regarding their problems.

Mentioning about the Parnai Hydel Project, Omar said that the project work will soon start in the Poonch district of Jammu. “Rs 300 crores was demanded from the Centre for establishing the hydel project. However, the construction company has demanded Rs 500 crores to set up the plant," told Omar.

He said that with the beginning of the project the young locals will get ample employment opportunities.

On the occasion, Rural Development Minister, Ali Mohammed Sagar, MP Madan Lal Sharma and MLA Ejaj Khan were also present.

Replying to a question on the upcoming talks between India and Pakistan, Omar said, “Talks had taken a back seat after 26/11. Howver the talks have started again and soon we will get good results. July 13, Mumbai attacks have not affected the talks between the two nations."