SRIKAKULAM: The State government on Tuesday placed a panchayat secretary under suspension after he issued a circular, directing village volunteers to withhold the social welfare pension to beneficiaries who have not paid Rs 10,000 under One Time Settlement Scheme (OTS) under Jagananna Sampoorna Gruha Hakku Pathakam.
The circular raked up a controversy, forcing the Santhabommali panchayat secretary, Prasad, to issue another one in the evening, stating that his earlier one was mistakenly released, and it should be treated as null and void.
Taking serious note of the issue, the government placed Prasad under suspension, besides issuing a show-cause notice to the Mandal Parishad Development Officer at Santhabommali. The ruling party leaders, meanwhile, suspected a conspiracy behind the circular, saying that the Opposition is making every effort to obstruct OTS, though well aware that it would benefit the poor.
Earlier, Srikakulam District Panchayat Officer (DPO) V Ravikumar issued a show-cause notice to Prasad for issuing the controversial circular. He said the scheme is voluntary and does not force people to avail it. “We have initiated disciplinary action against the panchayat secretary and issued a show-cause notice and summoned him to give his explanation in person,” Ravikumar said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Santhabommali MPDO in a press statement said that the panchayat secretary had issued the circular by mistake. “I have pulled him up... no pension will be withheld,” he said.