Gram panchayats can disallow liquor shops: Mahadevappa

Special Correspondent

DHARWAD: The Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, H.C. Mahadevappa, has said that it is the prerogative of gram panchayats to either permit or not permit liquor shops in their jurisdiction. The Government will not interfere if a gram panchayat decide against having arrack shops in the villages coming under it, Dr. Mahadevappa told presspersons here on Saturday.

Responding to questions during his tour of Dharwad taluk, the Minister said the Centre should decide in favour of imposing prohibition all over the country.

The State Government has taken up, as a pilot project, a new scheme for landless people in rural areas called "Namma Mane, Namma Thota" (our house, our Garden), under which five guntas each will be given to about 30,000 landless families to enable them to develop kitchen gardens to grow vegetables and sell them. An amount of Rs. 20 crores has been earmarked for the purpose, and the Government intends to extend the scheme to all the landless people in rural areas.

The Government also plans to provide toilet facilities to rural women. The Union Government would give Rs. 200 crores for the scheme and the State Government would provide its share for which the budgetary provision has been made, he said.

Dr. Mahadevappa said the Government has decided to create a separate cadre of panchayat extension officers who will be secretaries of the gram panchayats. Recruitment will be made soon.

On the appointment of an ombudsperson in each district to look into cases of improper utilisation of funds by panchayat raj institutions, he said the Government is considering the matter.

On the tenure of presidents of taluk and zilla panchayats, Dr. Mahadevappa said he is in favour of granting a full five-year term to them instead of the present three tenures of 20 months each. But the Government has not yet taken a decision on the matter, he said.

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