Correspondent

KORAPUT: Panchayatraj Extended to Schedule area Act (PESA) has failed to ensure grassroots level planning in Koraput district, said, Damodar Jani , president ,

Zilla Adivasi Sangh at Koraput today. While the Act after being passed by the Central Government in 1996 with a provision for conducting separate palli sabha (village meeting) in each hamlet in schedule area to provide an opportunity to the villages to make a plan for the village at the lowest level in the panchayatraj system, no such steps were taken in the district, he alleged.

Amendments

Moreover in line with the Central Act, amendments were made in the Orissa Panchayat and other relevant Acts by the State Government in 1997 eliminating any scope for conducting palli sabha in the hamlets in schedule area in Orissa, thus contravening the spirit of the provision of the Central Act, Dimu Hikoka, Secretary of the Sangh said.

This has further failed to bring any remarkable difference in the functioning of panchayat in the schedule areas and non schedule areas, he added.

Palli sabhas

The hamlet villages in the schedule areas especially in Koraput district are situated at far from the respective revenue villages, due to which reason most of the villagers from the hamlets fail to participate in the palli sabhas conducted in the revenue villages, Mr. Damodar said.

Moreover due to weak representation from the hamlets, the decisions on planning rests in the hands of a few people residing in the revenue villages , Balaji Panigrahy, Advocate and a social worker from Koraput said. Looking at the wide range of variations in the cultural and social ways of living among the communities living within a very short line of geographical difference in Koraput district, the government should look afresh into the amendments made into the Central Act, he added.

The sangh had earlier handed over to the district collector, a memorandum addressed to Governor of Orissa asking for his intervention.