Staff Correspondent

Over Rs. 2.5 crore has not been utilised in gram panchayats Gram panchayats fail to utilise over Rs. 2.5 crore meant for welfare activities

  • Nodal officers to examine the issue
  • Officials blame it on poor collection of taxes

    Madikeri: Are the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in gram panchayats in Kodagu being deprived of the actual funds earmarked for them? It seems so, going by the figures.

    According to sources in the zilla panchayat here, a sum of over Rs. 2.5 crore may be carried forward without being utilised over a period of several years now from the panchayats in the three taluks of Kodagu.

    Zilla panchayat Chief Executive Officer K. Sundar Naik says that he has now instructed the nodal officers appointed for the purpose to examine the matter.

    From the actual fund allotment to each of the gram panchayats, 25 per cent of the sum should have been earmarked for welfare activities of the SCs and STs. But, the executive officers contend that 25 per cent of the recovery made by each panchayat from various tax sources would be spent on the welfare of these people.

    Poor collection of taxes on house, water and electricity is said to have come in the way, executive officers say. Mr. Naik said they need not wait for recovery of taxes when in effect, 25 per cent should be allotted from the actual grant to each panchayat. The issue had come up in the Virajpet Taluk Panchayat recently where the president of the taluk panchayat had served notices on 11 gram panchayats in that taluk, asking them why 25 per cent funds were not spent on SCs and STs.

    The president had put the blame on the executive officers. Officials had stated that owing to inadequate recovery of taxes from various sources in the gram panchayats, funds could not be spent on the SC and ST welfare.

    The serving of notices was also contended by the officers, but sources from the zilla panchayat pointed out that the president of the taluk panchayat was well within the ambit of the regulations of the Panchayati Raj Act to do so.