ZP president pulls up PDOs for funds lapsing year after year

The failure to spend three per cent of the budgetary allocations for persons with disabilities or its misuse by the Panchayat Development Officers (PDOs) in numerous villages of the district came to the fore at the Karnataka Development Projects (KDP) review meeting here on Monday. It was chaired by the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat president K. Koragappa Naik, here on Monday.

Pulling up officials, Mr. Naik said many villages had not yet made an action plan for the three per cent, because of which funds allocated since 2011 had been unused. “Many villages haven’t even kept the money aside… or their action plans are not according to the guidelines of the government. It is the PDOs who should ensure this,” he said.

Among the villages that had lagged behind in spending the funds are Koltige village, Uppinangadi, Panaje, Narimogeru and Kolya, among others in Puttur taluk; while only 18 out of the 27 villages in Sullia taluk had reported the status of the scheme so far. The ZP president vented his ire on the taluk-level officials, who were “in the process of collecting” details of the scheme even though the ZP had asked for it more than four months ago.

PDOs came under fire from Mr. Naik on the issue of laptops, which he insisted were panchayati property and not personal properties to be taken home. Previously, members had voiced concern that whenever a PDO was transferred, he took the laptop — and the information related to the panchayats – with him, which hindered the working of the panchayat.

However, Thulasi Maddineni, Chief Executive Officer of the ZP, assured the ZP saying that though the laptop could be taken by the PDO, the information would be uploaded to the taluk office before the transfer.

Nagabana delays project

While the delay in many multi-crore projects were blamed on the lack of applicants or coordination between government departments or stuck in the bureaucratic tangle, the stoppage of construction of the Rs. 1 lakh Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendra in Kinnigoli elicited the most debate, mockery and jest. Officials of the Mangalore taluk panchayat, which is executing the project, said construction stopped mid-way after a gram panchayat member said there was Nagabana (a shrine for a snake god) at the site. Instead, officials had started constructing an Atalji Janasnehi Kendra adjacent to this building.

“An investigation should be launched into this. First, if there was a Nagabana there, how did the PDO allow construction? Second, if there was no nagabana there, how did the entire government machinery stop on the claims of one man? We will conduct an inquiry and it is up to the officials to recover the money spent on the building,” said Mr. Naik.

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