Elections to urban local bodies and panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir will begin in September, Governor NN Vohra said in his Independence Day speech in Srinagar on Wednesday. These elections have not been held since 2011.

“Elections to urban local bodies and panchayats have been pending for long,” PTI quoted Vohra as saying. “The prolonged delay in the establishment of democratically elected self-governing bodies at the grassroots level in urban and rural areas has resulted in the loss of considerable funds that would have become available if elections had been held.”

Urban local bodies will have elections in September and October, and panchayat polls will take place in phases between October and December, Vohra added.

“Soon after assuming responsibility, the governor’s administration has taken the required steps for organising elections to panchayats and municipalities,” he said. “Necessary amendments to the existing laws have already been made and speedy action is underway to gear up the administrative and logistical arrangements for undertaking both these elections.”

Vohra became the executive head of the state after the government led by Mehbooba Mufti collapsed in June and Governor’s Rule was imposed. The elections will “pave the way for the restoration of peace and normalcy” in the state, the governor added.