K. Jagannath's success story is almost the stuff of legend. As president of a village panchayat in northern Bangalore, he transformed five sleepy villages under his jurisdiction into a hub of development in just a few years. A visionary, Jagannath not only introduced computers in the Bellandur village panchayat office, he also arranged live telecast of the proceedings of the panchayat meetings so that people of the villages could see the goings-on sitting in their homes. Schoolchildren got egg, milk, biscuits and vegetables. This helped in improving attendance in the schools and the dropout rate declined.
For this, he did not ask the government for a subsidy but generated funds by collecting property tax and khata fees. Many property buyers, who lived abroad, could pay fees and get their khata transferred, thanks to the panchayat website. He got the Rotary Club to set up its hospital in the panchayat office, which paid for the salary of the doctor and medicines. An underground drainage system and clean drinking water were provided.
The panchayat also supplied gas stoves to families in Aralur, Ambalipura, Bellandur, Devarabisana Halli and Kariyiammana Agrahara villages.
Learning from the experience of his panchayat, other panchayats across the State improved their revenue and 94,000 panchayat members were imparted training in various aspects of governance. But all this is in the past as Bellandur area merged into the BBMP in 2007. It discontinued all the schemes and programmes in the panchayat office when it shifted to a building at Marathahalli.
However, Jagannath showed the other village panchayats how to become self sufficient. His panchayat bagged the All India Best Village Panchayat Award, given by the Union Government in 2004, and the Nirmala Grama Yojana Award of the State Government in 2006.
Coming from a humble rural background, Jagannath was invited to participate in a workshop organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in New Delhi in 2003 and was made a member of a young Indian leaders' panel. As part of several delegations, he visited Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries. Similarly, delegations from China, South Africa and SAARC countries visited his panchayat to study his developmental model. Jagannath says sewage water let out from Halasuru tank, Kalasipalyam-Wilson Garden-MICO Layout and BTM Layout and Agaram tank is polluting the Bellandur tank and no action is being taken to stop it.
Keywords: Bellandur village panchayat