In a significant development, the J&K government has decided to accord Minister of State status to its two mayors. Junaid Azim Mattu is currently mayor of Srinagar while Chander Mohan Gupta is mayor of Jammu.
With this status, both Mattu and Gupta will enjoy expanded power and will be able to take executive decisions. As mayors, their roles and responsibilities were restricted to their municipal jurisdiction.
Typically, a mayor is considered a ceremonial authority with limited power and state governments with all the resources continue to take most critical decisions.
Recently, after the abrogation of Article 370, the Centre bifurcated the valley state into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir with an assembly and Ladakh without one.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was passed on August 5 in the Rajya Sabha and then in the Lok Sabha.
The controversial Article 370 allowed special status to Jammu and Kashmir for over 70 years. Barring matters related to defence, foreign affairs, communications and other matters which were specified in the Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre required the approval of the state government for other laws.
Life in the Valley is gradually returning to normal. While offices and schools re-opened on Monday, landline phone connections have been largely restored.