KARNATAKA

Good news for area development boards

Special Correspondent

More funds will be allotted in the next Budget: Yediyurappa

Minister criticises the tussle for supremacy among legislators and members of local bodies`Coalition government ready to release more funds to Malnad Area Development Board'

SHIMOGA: Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said here on Saturday that more funds will be earmarked for all area development boards in the State in the next Budget.

He was speaking at a function in which A.S. Padmanabh Bhat took over as the chairman of the Malnad Area Development Board (MADB). The secretary of the MADB, G.C.R. Subramanyan, handed over charge of office to Mr. Bhat.

Mr. Yediyurappa said these boards were constituted with the specific purpose of ensuring rural development. "But their closure is not the solution if their performance does not come up to the expected level," he said.

He took the bureaucracy to task for being lethargic in implementing programmes which ultimately brought discredit to the Government. He wanted the officials implement the programmes with all seriousness.

He took a jibe at the unseemly fight for supremacy among legislators and elected members of the Panchayati Raj institutions forgetting their primary duty to serve people. He said democracy assumed real meaning only when the ruling and the Opposition party members worked in unison.

Mr. Yediyurappa said he never thought that the BJP would come to power in Karnataka. "It was a total surprise to me when as an ordinary party worker I rose to occupy the post of the Deputy Chief Minister," he said.

He said: "The MADB was like a temple without a deity when this Government came to power. Now it is on the path of progress after a higher allocation in the budget last year. I can allocate more funds only if the works taken up are completed."

Referring to the misuse of the authority by the elected members, particularly at the lower rung of the Panchayati Raj system, Mr. Yediyurappa said it was unfortunate that the husbands of some of the gram panchayat presidents acted as de facto heads. He said reservation for women was introduced to empower them. Minister for Higher Education D.H. Shankaramurthy said the coalition government was ready to release more funds to the MADB.

Mr. Bhat denied the allegation that the MADB had become a "white elephant". Earlier, the finance officer of the MADB, Mahadev welcomed the gathering. Executive engineer Yogesh proposed a vote of thanks.