Participation of representatives of District Legal Services Authority in the gram sabha meetings here on Thursday enabled the rural masses to gain valuable insights into their rights and privileges.
Legal aid and guidance was provided by lawyers who took part in the meetings that were conducted as part of the Republic Day celebration. Across the district, gram sabha meetings were conducted in 404 panchayats.
Presence of lawyers created an opportunity to the public to discuss discrepancies in implementation of various government schemes, particularly the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The villagers were told about their rights and responsibilities to monitor implementation of schemes and ensure transparency in administration, according to K.C.Mariappan, secretary of Vengur panchayat where the secretary of Tiruchi District Legal Services Authority R.Navamoorthy interacted with the villagers. Mr.Navamoorthy urged the public to approach the lawyer representing the District Legal Services Authority for various legal requirements free of cost.
District Collector Jayashree Muralidharan took part as an observer in the meeting at Alandur panchayat in Manikandan Union. The purpose of such meetings is to enable people take decisions on their own requirements, she said, informing them about the various schemes of the government to create basic amenities in villages. The public ought to know if the money was properly utilised. The MGNREGS must be utilised optimally for deepening water bodies and strengthening roads, she said, and observed that the women self help groups have been instrumental in increasing the socio-economic conditions in villages.
Handing over four goats each to 74 beneficiaries, the Collector said the scheme was meant to enhance their living standards. Those found selling the goats will be firmly dealt with according to law, she said.
The Collector was accompanied by Project Officer of District Rural Development Agency M.Santhosh Kumar, Revenue Divisional Officer K.Sampath, Assistant Director of Panchayats V.S.Rajendra Prasad and other senior officials.