KARNATAKA

Grants for Kodagu Zilla Panchayat decreasing over past five years

Jeevan Chinnappa

MADIKERI: Though funds from the Union and State Governments are being granted to Kodagu district for various public works under the zilla panchayat engineering wing, problems with regard to roads, water supply, and other basic amenities persist. However, the annual allocation of grants to the Kodagu Zilla Panchayat has been decreasing gradually over the past five years.

A total of 2,420.69 km of rural roads come under the zilla panchayat engineering wing. Of this, 1,182.01 km are asphalted; 561.77 km, metalled, and 676.01 km are kutcha roads. The asphalting of the remaining 1,238 km will be taken up in a phased manner based on the release of grants, the executive engineer of the wing, Hemagiri, told The Hindu .

A sum of Rs. 117.69 lakhs was given for Kodagu in 2004-05 by the State Government for roads and bridges in the rural areas. Of this, only Rs. 71.24 lakhs was utilised till the end of March, and 2.65 km new roads were formed, 16.95 km metalled, 16.95 km asphalted, and six small bridges were constructed.

Non-release of grants

The Government did not release the rest of the assured grant under this head though there was no delay on part of the wing in completing the works. Some spill over works were also taken up under this head, Mr. Hemagiri said.

An amount of Rs. 1.55 crore was granted to Kodagu in 2004-05 under the Chief Minister's Rural Road Development Fund and Rs. 1.54 crores was spent till March 31. Under this scheme, 3.87 km of roads were formed, 25.24 km metalled, 17.38 km asphalted, 10.11 km re-asphalted, seven bridges were constructed, and 26.37 km of pothole filling works were finished.

Under the Centre's Sampoorna Grameena Rozgar Yojna, Rs. 60.39 lakhs was utilised during 2004-05 till March 31. A total of 167 works were taken up and 85 completed till the end of the last fiscal.

Of the 516 tonnes of foodgrains that were lifted, 509 tonnes were used, Mr. Hemagiri stated. A sum of Rs. 7 lakhs was released under the Western Ghats Development Scheme. Of the eight works taken up, four have been completed, he said.

Drinking water

The State Government had released Rs. 1.35 crore with a target of 50 drinking water works. By March end, a sum of Rs. 1.37 crore was spent and 52 works completed.

Similarly, Rs. 1.55 crore was provided as Central assistance with a physical target of 63 works. Till March, Rs. 1.54 crore was spent and 78 works were completed, Mr. Hemagiri said.

An amount of Rs. 20.40 lakhs was given to Kodagu under the Prime Minister's Gramodaya Yojna during 2004-05 with a target of 27 works. Of this, Rs. 15.46 lakhs was spent to finish 23 works.

Minor irrigation

A paltry sum of Rs. 6.99 lakhs was granted for eight minor irrigation projects, of which four were completed. For repair of tanks, Rs. 5.99 lakhs was released. Eleven projects were taken up and only three have been completed, Mr. Hemagiri said.

A sum of Rs. 60 lakhs was provided to the district under the 11th Finance Scheme. As many as 66 works were completed in the minor irrigation sector. A sum of Rs. 7 lakhs came from the Western Ghats Development Project.

Pending bills

The non-release of assured funds has resulted in a delay in paying contractors. For the construction of roads and bridges, the engineering wing has to pay contractors Rs. 39.41 lakhs.

The contractors are awaiting clearance of bills to the tune of Rs. 99.30 lakhs in the non-plan works concerning roads and bridges, covering 160 spill over works for the past two years.

In the State sector, the zilla panchayat has to pay contractors Rs. 15.14 lakhs for crossing the target in drinking water supply schemes. Under the Central scheme for water supply works, the panchayat owed Rs. 16.51 lakhs to the contractors last year.

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