After a year, over 70 per cent of the planned projects caught in red tape
It’s been a little more than a year, and the special package for Maoist-affected areas in the district has proved cynics right.
On June 30 last year, in a ‘people contact programme’, the district administration and elected representatives had promised projects under the Rs. 5 crore package.
One year later, statistics – obtained from a study conducted by the district police – side with the villagers: Of the Rs. 4 crore of projects planned, only 28 per cent have been completed; 55 per cent of the projects, including bridges, power generation projects are yet to be started; just 12 per cent are under progress, while five per cent had been dropped due to civil litigation or difficulty in obtaining permissions from the Forest Department.
Two mini hydro-electric power installations at Kuthlur and Naravi were promised, but are yet to see the light of day. “People still struggle for electricity. Even the promised roads have not been developed, and it has become unmotorable now,” said Sumitra Mala Hegde, president of the Naravi Gram Panchayat.
One of the promises was to increase projects under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) for the villages. However, the nine Maoist-affected gram panchayats have given work to 718 people under the scheme in 2012-13, which down from the 815 people employed the previous fiscal year.
“It was only after a protest that one project was allotted to Kuthlur village. Even the claim of fixing solar panels is a lie. Most haven’t worked for two years,” said Shekar L., president of the Dalita Hakkugalu Horatta Samiti. This is confirmed by the Malavantige Gram Panchayat, which covers the isolated Yelnir village, who say they got no panels in the past year.
Similarly, a proposal to recruit locals into Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation as drivers and conductors hit a dead end; officials said the plan was dropped as training and issuing drivers’ licences is tedious.
Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash blamed difficulties in obtaining permission from the Forest Department, remoteness of the projects and lack of response to tenders for the delay in implementation.
He said out of the 40 damaged solar lights, only 15 had been given batteries at a cost of around Rs. 3 lakh.