GPs seek subsidies, scheme implementation powers

The grant given to gram panchayat members should correspond to the population in a panchayat, urged gram panchayat members who participated in a day-long meeting of panchayat members of the district held at a hotel in B.C. Road, 20 kms away from Mangalore, on Saturday. The meeting was organised by the Dakshina Kannada Gram Panchayat Members Federation.

The federation said currently each gram panchayat received around Rs. 25 lakh per month. Deducting the salary for employees and amount for electricity bill, there was hardly around Rs. 8 lakh left with the panchayat. “How can any work be carried out in such a meagre amount,” asked Sadanand Poojary, the General Secretary of the Foundation. Hence the Foundation sought grants that correspond to the population in the panchayat.

The Federation also decided to ask the government to provide gram panchayats with the responsibility to implement schemes for road works and drinking water. They have also sought allocation of funds for maintaining roads in villages. They also asked the government to waive off arrears in electricity bill of gram panchayats. The government should also subsidise electricity bills related to street lights and supply of water, the Federation said in memorandum addressed to Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H.K. Patil.

The gram panchayat members also sought monthly honorarium to Rs. 5,000, Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 2,500 for the president, vice-president and Members of a gram panchayat respectively.

‘Use powers’

Addressing the members, former Minister and MLC Kota Srinivasa Poojary said it was important for members to know about their powers and make use of them. An instance, Mr. Poojary said, was the power vested in panchayats to form school development committees in primary schools. “None of the panchayats in the State have been using this power and working towards improvement of schools in their vicinity.” He said there was diffidence among panchayat members in using their powers. “We (legislators) have failed in making you realise powers vested in you all,” he said.

District In-charge and Environment Minister B. Ramanath Rai, Health Minister U.T. Khader, MLAs Mohiuddin Bava and T. Shakuntala Shetty, MLC Pratapchandra Shetty and MP Nalin Kumar Kateel also spoke.

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