Over 2,500 north coastal villages in dark

Published: 20th May 2013 08:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th May 2013 08:57 AM   |  A+A-

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Over 2,500 villages in North Coastal Andhra region are literally in the dark, thanks to the State Government lacking the interest and courage to conduct local bodies’ elections. Barring some villages, whose panchayats are assisted by the district administration in the matter of supplying drinking water, the majority of the villages in the region are facing acute drinking water problem. With no proper sanitation facilities and maintenance, many villages are littered are littered with garbage and filth. As there are no elected bodies to the panchayats since August 2011, there is no one to coax the administration to take up the needy works on a priority basis in the villages. The state has directed the district administrations to deploy special officers to the gram panchayats to look after the day-to-day needs of the villages in the absence of the elected bodies. However, the district administrations have deployed one official for gram panchyats for local administration and with that official unable to spend quality time to see the administrative matters of the village, the entire administration of the village has collapsed. The Centre has stopped its funding for the villages since the past two years. Union Minister of Panchayat Raj Y Kishore Chandra Deo on several occasions told the state government that unless the government conducted the elections tor the gram panchayat central government funds would not be released. With no central funds, several development activities in the villages have been halted. Even sanitation works, potable drinking water and street lights maintenance have suffered. The Centre provides `2 lakh to `25 lakh to each panchayat based on population to be spent on road repairs, drinking water schemes, sanitation, etc. The State Government funds are not released in time, which becomes a problem in payment of salaries to staff and wages to workers, says a junior assistant in the panchayat office. As the bills were not paid, the EPDCL cut the power connections during 2011-12. Some of the major panchayats made their own arrangements. But, the minor panchayats failed to pay their power bills. In October, 2012, the state government gave circular to the gram panchayats to pay the power bills from October onwards only. Following this, the EPDCL slackened its pressure on the panchayats with regard to their arrears. However, some villagers still lack funds to pay electricity bills.

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