Planning in Block Panchayats yet to gather momentum - The New Indian Express

Planning in Block Panchayats yet to gather momentum

Published: 19th November 2012 10:55 AM

Last Updated: 19th November 2012 10:55 AM

With half the financial year already over, a majority of the block panchayats in the state are yet to begin even the preliminary steps for planning projects for  2012-13.

The main reason for the delay is the huge burden of the revised subsidy rates of the Indira Awas Yojana on the block panchayats. The enhanced subsidy leaves no room for fund planning, says the block panchayat representatives in the state.

The state government had increased the outlay under the Indira Awas Yojana housing project  from `75,000 to `2 lakh per house.

In Kerala, 50 per cent of the funds under the project is being contributed by the block panchayat, whereby, instead of the previously fixed outlay of `50,000 per household, the block panchayats will now contribute `1 lakh.

“We had approached the government regarding the issue. The Ministers concerned agreed to issue an order enabling the block panchayats to procure loans for the project, with the interest burden to be borne by the state government. In spite of the assurance, we have not received any circular in this regard.

Now, the only option is to start the development seminars and go ahead with the planning with the hope that the funds would arrive. As long as the uncertainty remains, no concrete action can be taken in the planning process,” said Paul Uthup, secretary of the Kerala Block Panchayat Association. But having said this, most of the block panchayats would still be lagging behind the deadline set by the local self government for the completion of the planning processes. According to the Government Order released by the Department of Local Self-Government on November 6, the vetting of the projects approved by the governing council is to be completed by November 26.

A majority of the panchayats have not even held the development seminars that discusses the projects for the year and prepares the rough draft, said the sources from the block panchayat association.

In Ernakulam, two of the 14 block panchayats have conducted the development seminars and only one has begun the data entry for the approved projects.

Minister for Rural Development and Planning K C Joseph said that the whole issue has risen owing to the confusion prevailing over the scheme. “We had asked the block panchayats and the local bodies to provide the sanction for the houses only according to fund availability. Besides, from this year onwards,  the state government would sponsor `75,000 towards each housing project. Hence, the issue would be solved in the subsequent years. The current scenario has risen mainly because some block panchayats have sanctioned funds for the project exceeding their current fund availability. Considering the present  situation, the state government is mooting a scheme to provide loans to the block panchayats,” the Minister said. 

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