BENGALURU: The Siddaramaiah government has been celebrating the completion of four years in office in a grand manner. But surprisingly, it seems to be short of funds for construction of the proposed Panchayat Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru. It has now asked gram panchayats to pitch in with Rs 50,000 each.
The government is also planning to ask employees of the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department to donate one month’s salary for the project.
On May 23, a meeting of senior level officers was convened by N Nagalambika Devi, Principal Secretary to the RDPR Department. Proceedings of the meeting, available with Express, reveal that the Department is planning to construct the 11-storeyed building in Jakkur at an estimated cost of Rs 47.45 crore. But the government has allotted only Rs 5 crore in the 2017-18 budget for it.
The note by Nagalambika Devi says as the central government did not give enough grants, the state government will go ahead, mobilising its own resources.
It was decided to collect Rs 50,000 from each of the 6,027 gram panchayats in the state. Gram panchayats with a revenue of Rs 10 lakh and above will have to pay Rs 50,000 in one go while others can pay the sum in two or three instalments.
“If we collect Rs 50,000 from all 6,027 gram panchayats, we can mobilise Rs 30.13 crore. We were also told to use the unutilised Rs 3.09 crore allocated under the Backward Regions Grant to Abdul Nazeer Sab State Institute for Rural Development,’’ official sources said.
This apart, the meeting also decided to collect one month’s salary of the RDPR Department staff for the building.
Opposition Leader Jagadish Shettar has slammed the move, saying many gram panchayats themselves are short of funds. “How can the government ask for donations from them? Why can’t funds from the CM’s special grants be utilised,” he asked.