HUBBALLI: Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister H K Patil said all 439 new gram panchayats (GPs) recommended by the Nanjayyanamath Committee will come into existence by March 15.
He told reporters that the state government had directed all deputy commissioners (DCs) to issue a notification regarding the creation of new GPs in their respective districts by January 19. The public have been given 10 days to file their objections.
After that a final notification will be issued by the DCs on or before February 4. Later, one month will be given for the public to file appeals in the courts, if they have any objection which was not addressed at the DC level, Patil said.
He said the average population of GPs, after their reorganisation, stands at 6,654. However, there are a few exceptions, especially in districts that fall under the Malnad region and those areas with more forest cover, where the population of a few panchayats ranges from 2,000 to 5,000.
The government plans to complete the process by March 15 to facilitate the Election Commission to hold polls to these new GPs also. He said the government will also start the process of upgrading 40 bigger GPs into town panchayats as recommended by the committee.
“The government has accepted the recommendations and asked the Urban Development Department to start the process,” he said.
Patil said the Cabinet has given its approval for the department’s proposal to frame special rules for the recruitment of 352 Panchayat Development Officers (PDOs) and 600 secretaries. The process will start in a week’s time, he said. Similarly, the process to appoint 202 assistant engineers, 442 junior engineers and 30 junior environment engineers has already begun and is likely to end in 20 days, Patil said.
‘Central Govt Discriminating’
Patil reiterated his charge that the Centre has been discriminating against the state as far as the release of funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gaurantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is concerned.
Reacting sharply to state BJP president and MP Prahlad Joshi’s accusation that the government was pointing fingers at the Centre for political reasons, Patil said he would stand by what he said and was ready for a debate on the issue with Joshi.
“In the first instalment, Karnataka received just around `750 crore out of its share of `3,315 crore for the current year. But Andhra Pradesh has been given over `4,415 crore. How can Joshi explain this?” he asked.
Accusing Joshi of defending the Centre, he said, “Joshi should be in favour of the state and not the Union government though he is the state BJP president.”
He said the southern states had unitedly urged the central government not to dilute the scheme. “This was one of the major concerns expressed by the RDPR ministers of southern states at a meeting convened by Union Rural Development Minister Birendra Singh Chaudhary in Thiruvavanthapuram recently. Chaudhary had assured of strengthening the programme,” Patil said.
He said 10,000 villages would be made open defecation-free (ODF) by August 15 and another 1,000 by January 26. He said the government wants to build around 10 lakh toilets in 2014-15.
Up to December 31, 2014, around 5.05 lakh toilets have been built and efforts are being made to complete the remaining 4.82 lakh toilets by March, he said. Patil said that at present, the state government is in first position in the country in terms of construction of toilets.