Despite poor voter turnout in the recently-concluded civic bodies’ elections in J&K, State Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra on Monday announced the schedule for the panchayat polls. “The elections to 316 blocks in 4,483 panchayat halqas comprising of 35,029 panch constituencies will be held from November 17 to December 11 in nine phases,” he said.The last panchayat elections were held in 2011 after a gap of 10 years and completed its term in July 2016. The elections were repeatedly deferred due to volatile situation in the valley in the past three years.A total of 58,54,208 voters were registered for the polls, “In Kashmir division, 29,91,128 voters are registered, while in Jammu Division the number is 28,63,080 voters,” said Mr. Kabra.Migrant Kashmiri Pandits would be provided facility to vote in panchayat elections through postal ballot.“All critical events will be video-graphed and concerned deputy commissioners will arrange sufficient number of video and digital cameras and camera teams for the purpose,” said the CEO.The announcement came despite two main regional parties, Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference, deciding against participating in these polls.Due to boycott by the regional parties and separatists boycott call, the recently-concluded civic bodies elections saw just 35.1 percent in the State. In Kashmir, the voters turnover was less than eight percent.
Story Highlights The Ministry of Health has implemented a five-year strategic plan aimed at tackling the prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Jamaica.Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said the plan will address the four major conditions causing death and illness among Jamaicans, namely cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease.He said the programme will also tackle the four major risk factors for NCDs, which are physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, harmful use of alcohol, and tobacco use.Dr. Ferguson, who was speaking at the launch of the Jamaica National Building Society’s (JNBS) Wellfest Family Fair 2013 on October 25, at the institution’s headquarters in St. Andrew, said the government will continue to place great emphasis on the reduction of NCDs in Jamaica, noting that the problem poses a threat to national development.NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions and cancer, account for some 36 million deaths each year globally, and are the leading cause of death and illness in Jamaica. Statistics show that in 2009, NCDs accounted for approximately 60 per cent of deaths among men and 75 per cent of deaths among women.“What is of great concern is that more and more people are developing these conditions at a much younger age, because of unhealthy lifestyle choices. As policy makers, we have to put strategies in place to combat the incidence of these debilitating illnesses to improve the health of our population,” he stated.Dr. Ferguson said a “whole society approach” is needed to tackle the problem, including Government, civil society and the private sector.“The aim of the Ministry is to build alliances with various groups to promote physical, mental, social and spiritual well being, which will enhance the quality of life of the Jamaican people by empowering individuals and communities to make good decisions for their health,” he remarked.He therefore welcomed the JNBS’ Wellfest Family Fair, noting that the event is in line with the objectives of the Ministry, as it recognises the critical importance of health in facilitating the general wellbeing of any society.“We welcome partnerships like these as the Government alone is unable to address all the health needs of the population,” he remarked.Executive, Business Development and Research, JNBS, Dr. Dana Morris Dixon, said it is critical that the organisation not only encourages its staff to emphasise wellness as a daily part of their lives, but that measures are put in place to facilitate this approach.She said that Wellfest 2013 is just one of the many initiatives geared at encouraging staff to develop good health practices and to make wellness a focal point in their lives and that of their families.The JN Group Wellfest 2013 will be held on Saturday, November 16 on the grounds of Jamaica College, Hope Road, St. Andrew, under the theme: ‘Your Health, Your Wealth…Lifetime Investments’.Those in attendance will benefit from health screenings and consultations, as well as the opportunity to dialogue with suppliers and service providers in the health and wellness sector.There will also be three seminars focusing on financial wellness; diabetes prevention and care; and the health risks of smoking. Dr. Ferguson said a “whole society approach” is needed to tackle the problem. The plan will address the four major conditions causing death and illness among Jamaicans. The programme will also tackle the four major risk factors for NCDs.