Implementation of innovative projects, overall performance make it the best in the State.

Ernakulam District Panchayat is all set to be declared the best District Panchayat in the State under the Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyan (RGPSA) of the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj.

Ernakulam pipped Kollam District Panchayat in the State government’s nomination for the recognition. A three-member team from the Centre for Rural Management, which is entrusted with reporting to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj about the credentials of the local body nominated, visited the panchayat on Wednesday and Thursday.

The District Panchayat was found eligible based on two important considerations – overall performance and implementation of innovative projects.

The seed farm being administered by the District Panchayat near the Periyar in Aluva, the School Infra project implemented during the ongoing fiscal to spruce up the infrastructure of 27 higher secondary schools under the District Panchayat, the high class facilities at the District Panchayat hospital in Aluva, the introduction of training in the martial art taekwondo for girls in 12 schools, Vismaya Jaalakam, an IT-enabled awareness campaign against cyber crimes, distribution of tricycles to differently-abled were some of the projects that impressed the agency members.

District Panchayat President Eldhose Kunnappillil told The Hindu that zero tolerance to corruption coupled with the concerted efforts of the members and officials going beyond the immediate call of duty have made the District Panchayat eligible for the coveted recognition.

“We have been able to break the widely held perception that District Panchayat is just a body the functioning of which is limited to the funds allocated to it. We are perhaps the only District Panchayat in the entire State, which has got all its projects for the 2014-15 financial year ready ahead of the deadline of January 20 set by the government,” Mr. Kunnappillil said.

The District Panchayat has addressed issues of relevance to the public as reflected in its various drives like Operation Hot Water targeting food joints selling unhygienic food or the one against the use of contaminated ice blocks, he said. Vice-President Bindu George said that Ernakulam was perhaps the only District Panchayat to have a modern office and a dedicated administrative committee for its upkeep.

“The committee is by no means a mandatory one but has been formulated for operational efficiency. In fact, a two-member group has been entrusted with the responsibility of clean and tidy upkeep of each floor, which is then reviewed in a meeting held on the 5th of every month. The agency members who visited the panchayat to assess our credentials for the award was impressed by the arrangement certifying that they had not a found a better local body office in the entire State,” Ms. George said.

M.J. Prince, finance officer of the District Panchayat, said that once declared as the winner, the various innovative projects of the District Panchayat, how they were implemented and amount spend on them would find a mention in the website of the Panchayati Raj as a model worth emulation.

Kasargod and Pathanamthitta District Panchayats had won the award in the previous two editions. Along with Ernakulam District Panchayat, two block panchayats and four grama panchayats from the State have also been nominated for the award in the respective categories.

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