Water crisis dominates ZP meeting

The newly-elected members took the Babus to task for not listening to any of their suggestions.

The issue of drinking water crisis and apathy of officials dominated the first meeting of the zilla panchayat. They demanded stern action against the callous officials.

Basavaraj of Congress, who raised the issue, said although many taluks were reeling under severe water crisis the officials were not ready to sink new bore wells stating shortage of funds. Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar had recently announced in the Legislative Assembly that ` 100 crore had been released to all PR institutions to tackle drinking water crisis. But the engineers of Zilla Panchayat deny receipt of any funds from the government. The chief executive officer owes an explanation whether money had been received or not.

Basavaraj demanded the CEO to create separate department in the Engineering section exclusively to deal with water crisis in villages. There should be a set of separate staff for this department.

Dr S C Shankaregowda of JD(S) substantiated Basavaraj’s statement and flayed the officials to mitigate the problem of drinking water in villages. Many of the problems in villages would have been solved if the engineers and PDOs work in tandem. The PDOs were not at all bothered to collect water bills in villages. The engineers have failed to implement ‘swajaladhara’ scheme to improve under ground water level in dry land areas.

Marigowda, an independent member complained regarding shortage of funds for repair the defunct bore well motors in Gram Panchayats.

The newly-elected women members did not utter a word since it was their first meeting.

Appoint all party members

Dr S C Shankaregowda of JD(S) and Kempugowda of KRRS urged the ZP to nominate members belonging to all parties for the various standing committees as it would ensure transparency in the implementation of developmental works.

CEO promises to solve issue

Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer G Jayaram promised to solve drinking water crisis on priority and denied shortage of funds to take up drinking water schemes in the district.

Responding to complaints from members, he clarified that the government had released adequate funds to ease drinking water. In fact, ` 4.5 crore has been reserved under the Natural Calamity Fund for this purpose. Besides, the ZP has constituted taluk- level committees comprised tahsildhars, taluk panchayat executive officers and engineers to solve water crisis.

The ZP was supplying drinking water to 480 villages through river sources in the district and the remaining 1,000 villages were getting water from bore wells.  The State Government had directed Zilla Panchayat to take up improvement of ground water level where the bore wells have become defunct. The policy of the government against sinking of new bore wells has prevented the ZP from sinking new bore wells in problematic villages. However, alternative measures would be taken in the affected villages, he added.

Besides, the ZP cannot directly implement any water supply schemes in the financial year 2010-11, as per the new directions from the government. However, it can implement schemes only after collecting opinion of the elected representatives and after calling fresh tenders.

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