Damp squib: Action plan for villages comes a cropper on day One

In all villages, the officials read out the letter of pledge that the chief minister had sent to the sarpanches, but enthusiasm was clearly lacking among the people
For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)
For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

HYDERABAD: The first day of the 30-day action plan for the development of villages has turned out to be a damp squib in many districts with neither the people nor the people’s representatives and the officials, showing much interest in its implementation.

In all villages, the officials read out the letter of the pledge that the chief minister had sent to the sarpanches, the staff and the people to read after them but enthusiasm was clearly lacking. In some villages, the turnout was poor and in other villages there were heated arguments. In Vanjaraguda in Mancherial district, people wore black badges and obstructed special officer Hanumantha Rao to discharge his duties as they were against carving out the village from Venkatapuram.  

They argued that in the process Vanjaraguda lost its identity as agency village. They entered into argument with officials expressing their displeasure. In Chimmapudi of Khammam district, the gram sabha called for commencement of the action plan, but it turned out to be a lack-lustre affair. The villagers were angry with the government for allocating just `40 lakh for development works which they contended would not be sufficient. They were angry with the government for not bothering about the need for a burial ground. Collector KV Karnan asked the villagers to identify problems in their village for addressing them in future.
In yet another dull gram sabha in Fasalwadi in Sangareddy district, the officials exhorted the people and the sarpanch to solve all their problems by Dasara festival. They wanted the people to participate in the implementation of the core components of the action plan — sanitation, greenery and power and transform the villages into livable habitats.

Poor attendance
In Dharpally in Nizamabad district, the attendance was very poor. Though there were 8,000 voters in the village, hardly 100 attended the gram sabha. The reason attributed to the absence of a good number of people was that most of them were busy with agriculture work. The officials conducted the meeting as though it was a ritual since the attendance was poor. In Kashtala in Nalgonda district, it was all soap box oratories by politicians and nothing substantial had emerged at the end of the day. The attendance too was very poor despite publicity created by the officials for nearly three days. The village sarpanch Karunakar wondered how development was possible without funds.

“We need to have funds first and then we should think of development programmes,” he said. A local Congress leader Narasimha dismissed the action plan as yet another ploy of the State government to divert the attention of the people from the pressing problems defying solution. “This is a political gimmick,” he said.

In Mogdumpur of Karimangar district, the people crowded officials with demands for a cremation ground and a dumping yard, not allowing them to explain to them the purpose of the plan. In Narsingaraopalle in Warangal district, the gram sabha ended as a dud with not much work being done.

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