The Block Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held from 9 am to 1 pm on October 24, and votes will be counted from 3 pm, Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar said on Sunday. They will be held in 310 of 316 blocks in the state, a week before Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh are notified as Union Territories, ANI reported.

Earlier in the day, Home Minister Amit Shah said the tehsil and zila panchayat elections in the state would be announced in the next four to five days, India Today reported. Shah, who was speaking at an event in Delhi, said the government was committed to making the three-tier panchayat system functional in the region.

Shah said the Centre would provide Rs 70,000 crore to panchayats to develop villages. “The money will directly go to sarpanches’ bank accounts,” he said. “Earlier, it did not go below secretariat level.”

India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status on August 5, imposed a security lockdown, and detained Kashmiri politicians. The government also severed communication networks. Though the government claims the situation in the state is almost back to normal, the restrictions continue in most parts of the state.

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