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Patil promises regular salaries for gram panchayat employees

Special Correspondent
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‘Government has allocated a statutory grant for payment of wages’

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H.K. Patil addressing gram panchayat workers in Belgaum on Monday.— PHOTO: D.B. PATIL
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H.K. Patil addressing gram panchayat workers in Belgaum on Monday.— PHOTO: D.B. PATIL

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H.K. Patil announced here that the government had allocated a statutory grant for payment of wages to gram panchayat employees.

He said panchayat employees would get their salaries by the 5th of every month.

Addressing gram panchayat workers at the end of the three-day Karnataka State Gram Panchayat Employees’ Association meet here on Monday, he said the government had conceded to the association’s demand and made separate arrangements for the payment of wages, instead of disbursing from annual grants. An order to this effect had been issued in September.

Panchayat employees had been demanding that wages be provided under a separate head, as the funds available after the payment of electricity bills were insufficient for salaries.

On the demand for regularising their services, Mr. Patil said he could not give any assurance in view of the court verdict in the Uma Devi case on the regularisation of services on temporary workers.

A five-judge Constitution Bench said courts should not give a direction for regularisation of services of temporary workers, as they had not been recruited following due procedure.

He said panchayat workers could still choose from two available options – to approach the Law Department or the Advocate General.

Mr. Patil suggested the association assess shortcomings in the functioning of gram panchayats and define possible roles of the panchayat development officer and secretary. On the demand for promotions, the Minister said a decision to promote several bill collectors had been taken recently and orders would follow.

The Minister said there was no dearth of funds for development activities in gram panchayats, which should take advantage of various schemes offered by both State and Union governments. Every gram panchayat could avail at least Rs. 87 lakh a year.

Programme

Drawing attention towards the 15-point programme aimed at creating permanent assets such as water tanks, watersheds, cattle-sheds soil conservation, pure drinking water facilities, and toilets, Mr. Patil said the success of these programmes depended on panchayat employees.

Earlier, association president Maruti Manpade highlighted problems of panchayat workers, including irregular payment of salary, regularisation of services and post-retirement benefits.

Trade union leader V.P. Kulkarni and assoociation district secretary Jaine Khan were present.

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