Panchayat presidents in Tamil Nadu claim that the local bodies are getting only half of the funds earmarked for them, which is barely enough for development works.
The panchayat presidents, who were taking part in the State Executive Committee Meeting of Tamil Nadu Village Panchayat Presidents Federation recently, claimed that the panchayats were entitled to a sum of `8 lakh per year, but were getting only `3 lakh. “Currently, of the `8 lakh, we are provided only `3 lakh. From this, we spend `25,000 every month on salaries for librarian, sweepers and other staff, besides `1,000 as honorarium for the panchayat president,” said the secretary of Tamil Nadu Village Panchayat President’s Welfare Association Vayalur M Sadhasivam. He said there were no funds for maintenance of basic amenities like street lights and water supply. Many panchayat presidents said they had promised during their elections that they would waive water and house tax. But now, with the dearth of funds, have to think twice on collecting the legitimate taxes.
“What we require is a salary of `25,000, besides pension for the panchayat president as being given to MPs and MLAs,” said Sadhasivam. He said States like Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were providing salary to the panchayat heads.