Mohali: Almost a year after coming to power, the SAD-BJP government in Punjab on Friday dissolved all the 12,775 panchayats in the state, paving way for fresh elections to the rural bodies.
Announcing the dissolution, state Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Surjit Singh Rakhra said here that the election process would be completed before May 31.
Addressing a press conference here, the minister said that notification for the election "might be issued within a week".
Rakhra said that strict instructions have been issued to the officers to ensure free and fare election in the state. Block Development and Panchayat Officers (BDPOs), Panchayat Officers and Junior Engineers (JEs) have been conferred administrative powers so that day to day works of village may not suffer, he said.
The minister directed the officers to take the relevant documents and funds from the out going sarpanchs (village heads).
Rakhra said that the state government has constituted 399 new Gram Panchayats, four Panchayat Samaties and two Zila Parishids considering the demand of people.
With this new entry, now election for 13,110 gram panchayats, 145 Panchayat samaties and 22 Zila Parishads would be conducted.
The Minister said that 13,110 panchayats are comprised of 81,631 wards, out of which 18,515 wards are reserved for Schedule Castes, 9,821 for Schedule Caste women, 18,929 for women, 3,241 for Backward Classes and 30,825 for General category.
He said that Panchayat Samities are comprised in 2,732 zones, out of which 617 zones are reserved for Schedule Castes, 311 for Schedule Caste women, 590 for women, 1183 for General and 31 for Backward Classes.
Whereas 22 Zila Parishids in Punjab are comprised of 333 zones, 75 zones are reserved for Schedule Castes, 37 for Schedule Caste women, 71 for women, 147 for general category and 3 for Backward Classes.
The panchayat polls will be a litmus test for newly inducted Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa.


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