K C Joseph, Minister for Rural Development, has said that the government would take steps to strengthen the Engineering wing at the Block panchayats so that the various projects could be implemented more efficiently.

Inaugurating the various projects completed by Kanjirappally Block Panchayat as part of the 100 Day Action Plan of the State government here on Sunday, the Minister said one of the reasons for the non performance of the MP’s Local Area Development Schemes in the State, was the lack of technical facilities at the Block Panchayat level.

Accusing the LDF government of weakening the technical capability of these bodies, Mr Joseph said they have to be equipped to handle the huge amounts that are injected into the system through for rural development schemes..” The MP fund has been raised to Rs. 5 crore while the MLA Fund has been enhanced to Rs.75 lakh. In addition there are the Centrally Spnsored Schemes like Prathan Manthri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY),” he pointed out.

Since the grama panchayats have their own works to implement, the only way out to increase efficient implementation of rural development programmes was to enhance the technical capability of the Block Panchayats, he said.

Mr Joseph stressed the need to complete development projects in a time bound manner and pointed out that instead of annual plans, the grama panchayats would have to go in for five year plans so that projects could be taken up in a prioritized manner.

The UDF government would strive to obtain maximum financial assistance from the Central government for the various developmental works being taken up, he said. The expansion of the MGNREGA and enhancement of remuneration have to discussed with Central authorities and the State government is hopeful of favourable responses on both the fronts, he said.

The Minister said that the State government have sanctioned a Folklore Village at Vellavoor. The works on the village would begin this financial year, he said. Kanjirappally block Panchayat president Krishnakumari Sasikumar presided. Grama panchayat presidents, grama and block panchayat members participated.