In the wake of the new annual budget of the district panchayat scheduled on Monday, former minister and senior MLA from the district Jose Thettayil has come down heavily on the functioning of the apex panchayat body.
The functioning of the Ernakulam district panchayat in the ongoing financial year was a disaster, he said.
“The decentralisation and the resultant three tier panchayat system in Kerala is a progressive model in democratic governance. The model is admired even in the West. The district panchayat being the apex body in the district should be the role model for block and grama panchayats. There are plenty of programmes funded by the Central Government which can be used by panchayats. Unfortunately, there were no such scientific initiatives by the district panchayat which could reach its logical end,” he said.
The former minister alleged that the apex body miserably failed to provide succour to the most vulnerable sections in the district, including tribes and Dalits.
“When the LDF was ruling the district panchayat, there were focused attempts to address the issues of vulnerable sections like tribal population in Kuttumpuzha panchayat. Special focus were given to the development of tribal and SC colonies along with other issues affecting them. But the new dispensation could not intervene in the issues of these vulnerable sections apart from making cosmetic announcements,” he said. Despite having enough funds, the panchayat also could not constructively intervene in the management of schools and hospitals it. The functioning of many taluk hospitals are good examples. The president of the panchayat may not be corrupt but he may have to face faction feuds in his party. But material facts show that he has failed to coordinate the team,” he said.
B A Abdul Muthalib, KPCC secretary, and member of the finance standing committee of the apex body, admitted that many programmes announced in the last budget could not materialise.
“The district panchayat leadership was fair in distributing funds to the members without subscribing to narrow politics. But I feel that there were serious problems in the implementation of the projects. This failure is a warning to all the administrators that consistent hard work will only give results,” he pointed out.
M B Syamanthabhadran, of LDF, said that a glance at the old budget will tell that “most of the announcements like establishment of mobile crematorium remain on paper.”
Bindu George, district panchayat vice-president claimed that the apex panchayat has tried its best to reach to the people despite several odds. “We will continue the same prop people policies in the budget,” she said.