Officials of the Social Welfare Department should hold camps every month to issue fitness certificates to physically challenged persons, Krishna Narayan Gowda, president of the Uttara Kannada Zilla Panchayat, has said.

He was speaking at the general body meeting of the zilla panchayat here on Thursday.

Mr Gowda issued this direction when ZP members complained that physically challenged persons were being harassed by officials while issuing fitness certificates. To get the certificate, physically challenged persons should go to the district headquarters. Doctors did not issue the certificates on time and this had become a hindrance for such persons in getting government benefits, the members said.

The district health officer said that if camps were to be held every month at taluk levels, doctors should be deputed there to issue certificates. Uttara Kannada district had only one psychiatrist and because of this, physically challenged persons had to come to Karwar, he added.

Replying to the members, who alleged that illegal quarrying was on the rise in the district, the deputy director of Mines and Geology Department said that electricity supply to quarries and crushers which violated the Supreme Court guidelines had been disconnected. Applications had been invited for setting up of new stone crushing units in the district. Nearly 80 per cent of land in Uttara Kannada was forest and the apex court had banned stone crushing units in such areas. A total of 102 stone crushers, which were operating in the district, had been banned. Only two units, which had fulfilled the guidelines of the Supreme Court, were operating in the district, he said.

The members were informed that though grants had been released under the 13{+t}{+h}finance scheme, no guidelines had been issued to use the fund. So action plans had not been prepared for this fund. Now, a directive had been issued to prepare action plans in accordance with the guidelines issued for 12{+t}{+h}finance scheme. Except Sirsi, action plans were being prepared for other taluks.

Distribution of new ration cards in rural areas was on. A fee of Rs. 20 had been fixed for each card. If officials collected more money, action would be taken against them, the deputy director of Food and Civil Supplies Department said.

The president of the panchayat asked the electricity department to replace the wires and poles which were in bad condition.

Vice-president of the ZP Lalita Patgar was present.

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