Special Correspondent

Says Government aims to provide basic amenities to all villages in next five years

‘21,000 villages in State lack drinking water facility’

Foundation stone laid for drinking water supply schemes

SHIMOGA: Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Shobha Karandlaje said here on Wednesday that the Government was considering a proposal to take up rural development programmes under public-private partnership.

At a review meeting, she said that 21,000 villages in the State lacked drinking water facility. Many houses did not have toilets in villages of north Karnataka, she said.

Ms. Karandlaje said that Information Technology and Biotechnology companies had been urged to get involved in the process of rural development by adopting villages, hoblis and taluks. It was heartening to note that the Government’s initiative in this regard had evoked an encouraging response, she said.

She lauded the progress of various rural development schemes, particularly the Total Sanitation Campaign, in Shimoga district. It had become a model for the other districts, she said.

Ms. Karandlaje said she was aware of the problems regarding deployment of staff in Panchayati Raj institutions, and added that there was a need for a separate Act to tackle the issue.

Referring to the plea for enhancement of wages being given to beneficiaries under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, she said that though the Government was sympathetic in the matter, it was dragging its feet apprehending that it may affect traditional farm activities.

She instructed officials to take up survey of tanks as part of conservation efforts. She suggested that fruits and vegetables be grown under the social forestry development schemes.

Anbukumar, Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat, said that a proposal to train youths in naxal-affected areas in the district had been sent to the Government.

When K.G. Kumaraswamy, Shimoga Rural MLA, complained that uniforms of inferior quality had been supplied to children in government schools, the Minister asked the Deputy Director of Public Instruction to inquire into the matter. and send a report to the Government.

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Hartalu Halappa; Bharati Shetty, MLC; Chandrakumar, president of the zilla panchayat; Jyothi S. Kumar, vice-president; and T.K. Anilkumar, Deputy Commissioner, were present.

Earlier, Ms. Karandlaje laid foundation stone for drinking water supply schemes to be taken up under the Rajiv Gandhi Rapid Rural Water Supply Project at a cost of Rs. 6 crore at Honneguddgondi in Bhadravati taluk. It will benefit 21 villages that fall under the Hiriyur, Kamadal, Hosur and Singanamane gram panchayats.

Speaking on the occasion, she said that the Government aimed at providing basic amenities such as drinking water, road connectivity, toilets and drainage system to all villages in the next five years.