Staff Reporter

Panchayat president’s role is vital: Collector Vasuki

DINDIGUL: Panchayat presidents must strive hard to bring about social change in rural areas. Change of people’s mindset and effective community participation are essential for it. The role of panchayat president is vital, said Collector R. Vasuki.

She was addressing a workshop-cum-training session for panchayat presidents in Theni and Dindigul districts here on Wednesday.

Mere construction of buildings, laying roads and provision of drinking water facilities alone would not bring desirable change at villages. Real change can be possible only through a change of mindset. With shortage of labour in panchayats, presidents have a tough time in implementing solid waste management and keep the panchyat clean.

Drinking tanks were not cleaned periodically at some panchayats. Street lights were not switched on and off at a particular time and pumping motors not maintained properly. Drainage canals were clogged owing to dumping of wastes into them. People only can avoid these things, she added. “Enlighten people about the bad impact of wrong habits and the importance of cleanliness.”

Dindigul district was chosen to be made a litter-free zone. Safe disposal of wastes had already been executed in 24 town panchayats. It would be extended to village panchayats and municipalities. Now, presidents should think of safe disposal of wastes, she said.

Greater importance should be given Gram Sabhas and make their functioning meaningful. Presidents should not hesitate to share policies, future plans and development works of panchayats with people.

Panchayat should become independent and have its own financial base. Some panchayats had effectively scaled down EB bills by curtailing unwanted power consumption and saved sizable amount.

Chitraveu panchayat had cleared Rs. 8 lakh electricity charges and increased general funds. The SHGs have maintained water pumps, she said. “We had achieved 95 per cent of target in All Village Anna Renaissance Scheme and identified all works to be implemented for next financial year.”

Regional Rural Development Institute principal P. Jayabalakrishnan briefed the strategies for sustainable development in rural areas utilising rural people. DRDA project officer P. Ponniah spoke.