Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, which have been postponed due to various reasons including the ongoing unrest in the Valley, would be held in December.

“Panchayat elections across the state would be held in December so as to involve the people at the grass root level in policy implementation and formulation for their development,” an official spokesman said after a meeting chaired by Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ali Mohammad Sagar on Monday.

The Panchayat and local bodies’ polls were earlier scheduled to be held in spring this year.

The state has 2,700 panchayats out of which elections were held in about 1,900 in 2001.

Sagar impressed upon the concerned officials to speed up the preparation process so that the elections can be held smoothly and within the shortest possible time.

He said by establishing the Panchayats, “We would be transferring the power to the grass root level, involving the people.”

Sagar said a three-tier set up would ensure effective decentralisation of power.

Noting that substantial amount of funds remain unutilised due to non-establishment of panchayats in the state, he said, “Holding elections would help to secure additional funds from the Centre which would go a long way in alleviating poverty and improving the socio-economic conditions of the people of rural areas“.

The meeting was attended among others by Chief Electoral Officer of the State B.R. Sharma.