Staff Correspondent

‘Lack of involvement obstructing implementation of schemes’

Bailoor (Udupi District): Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar said on Saturday that creation of a separate cadre (of officials) for his Ministry had been given high priority.

He was speaking after inaugurating various projects under the Suvarna Gramodaya scheme for the Neere Gram Panchayat and the Swachcha Grama scheme for the Bailoor Gram Panchayat here.

Mr. Shettar said that at present, officers and personnel from other departments were being deputed to the Rural Development Department. But this was creating problems while implementing projects. “We want to have our own cadre right from the top in Bangalore down to the bottom at the gram panchayat level. We want to frame our own Cadre and Recruitment Rules,” he said.

Both the Union and State governments had several schemes for rural development. But lack of involvement and corruption were coming in the way of their implementation. The target for the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in the State was Rs. 2,800 crore. Of this, the State had so far spent Rs. 1,925 crore. Rural development schemes could also be taken up under this, he said.

In order to tackle the shortage of drinking water in villages during summer, he had called a meeting of chief executive officers of zilla panchayats at Bangalore. He had directed them to identify villages likely to face this problem and take steps to address it, Mr. Shettar said.

His Ministry was giving importance to improving sanitation in villages. Last year, 240 villages had been chosen for the Nirmal Gram Puraskar. Of them, 29 villages were in Karkala taluk of Udupi district. He wanted a team of local representatives from north Karnataka to visit Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts and see for themselves the excellent implementation of sanitation facilities there, he said.

The State was likely to face power crisis from April to June. But the Government was taking steps to mitigate this problem by purchasing power from power-surplus States.

The long-term goal was to make the State self-sufficient in power sector, Mr. Shettar said.

Home Minister V.S. Acharya said that 1,200 villages had been selected under the Suvarna Grama scheme in the State. These villages had been given Rs. 1 crore each for development of basic amenities, he said.

MP D.V. Sadananda Gowda, MLA Gopal Bhandary, MLC Kota Srinivas Poojary, president of Zilla Panchayat Gladys Almeida, vice-president Santoshkumar Shetty and former MLA Sunil Kumar were present.