Bajpe, about 22 kilometres from Mangalore, is a small gram panchayat with an ‘international’ airport coming under its limits. Now, the Gram Panchayat is scripting a success story, in a quiet, unobtrusive manner. The Gram Panchayat is getting ready for a model grama sabha, wherein all the district-level officers will take part, interact with the residents and try to find solution to the problems of the people in the gram panchayat limits.
Normally, grama sabhas are organised for the namesake wherein no top officials attend and those who attend will not be in a position to solve the problems being faced by the residents. Moreover, the attendance of the villagers are minimal. To make all the villagers to take part in the Gram Sabha and make them participate in the process of the development of gram panchayat, a model gram sabha is being planned in the month of April, says Gram Panchayat President Shahul Hameed, speaking to City Herald.
Vice-President Vedavathi said a booklet is being prepared to give complete details on the Gram Panchayat members, with their telephone number, the facilities available from the Gram Panchayat, various schemes of the gram panchayat, proceedings of the Gram Panchayat meetings and will be distributed among all the 2,400 families coming under the GP limits before the model Grama Sabha. Such an initiative is being carried out for the first time in Dakshina Kannada district, she added.
“The model grama sabha will have cultural programmes including comedy show, variety entertainment to attract the villagers and to attend the meeting. The cultural programmes will be presented by Sugrama Elected Gram Panchayat Women Members Federation members and school kids,” she informed.
“Being the member of Sugrama Elected Gram Panchayat Women Members Federation, I have only heard about model Grama Sabha. It feels happy that the Bajpe Gram Panchayat could organise such sabha.” Gram Panchayat Secretary Aboobakkar said the model grama sabha aims at transparency in administration. “The beneficiaries of MGNREGS, Basava Vasathi Yojane will be selected at the model grama sabha,” he said.
Apart from model Grama Sabha initiative, the Gram Panchayat has undertaken several other initiative in its jurisdiction.
The stench and ugly sight of garbage dumped on the roadside, sometimes overflowing from dustbin was a major problem in Bajpe. After coming to power, the first thing Gram Panchayat President and the Vice-President did was to take steps to collect the waste from about 450 business establishments daily. The Gram Panchayat charges Rs 300 to Rs 500 from bars, hotels, Rs 50 from small shops and Rs 300 from vegetable markets per month. “If the traders fail to pay the fee, then we will not renew the trade license,” says the President.
As Bajpe is a main junction, people from neighbouring gram panchayats come and dump their waste on Bajpe roadside, which is creating nuisance to the residents of Bajpe.
The door-to door waste collection from about 1,500 houses will be started from April 1, said Vedavathi and added that the Gram Panchayat is also planning to collect organic waste and produce vermi compost from it in the future.
The Gram Panchayat has constructed market for the vegetable vendors to sell their produce. In fact, most of the vegetable vendors were functioning on the roadside thus disrupting the traffic, creating problems on vehicle parking. Now, all the illegal shops were demolished and a fulfledged vegetable market has come up in Bajpe. The work on laying interlocks inside the market are under progress, says Shahul Hameed and Vedavathi. The flower stalls have also been set up by the Gram Panchayat, says Hameed.
A fulfledged fish market is being developed at the cost of Rs 15 lakh, which will be completed at the earliest, says President.
The Panchayat has systematic water distribution system. All the households have metres fixed to the pipeline. The Gram Panchayat supplies one hour water everyday. In fact, Bajpe is the only gram panchayat which pays Rs 4,000 for valvemen for the supply of water, said Hameed. “Those residents who fail to pay the water bill, the water connection will be disconnected. The very next day, they come and pay the bill,” says Vedavathi.
Vedavathi says all the houses in the Bajpe Gram Panchayats have toilets. “Realising the fact that open defecation is bad for health, we have seen to it that all have toilets. There were few houses which did not have toilet, which we got it constructed by taking the help of donors.”
The Gram Panchayat has an ambitious plan to build a bus stand cum complex at a cost of Rs 4 crore. The proposal has already been sanctioned by the Zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat. The work on the bus stand is likely to be started at the earliest, he added. Though the members belong to different party, all the members irrespective of party-affiliation, caste or creed, support the president and vice-president in all their ventures, says Vedavathi.
Vedavathi is also a trainer for vocational training for neo-literates and handicapped being organised by the Directorate of Loka Shikshana, DK Continual Education Association, ZP and Jana Shikshana Trust in 50 gram panchayats in Dakshina Kannada. About 10 neo-literates in Bajpe gram panchayats are being trained in the preparation of soaps, phenyl, soap liquid, detergent powder, agarbathi. “The products will be sold to shops. Even if the phenyl is sold at cheaper rate, it will be profitable venture for women. In fact, a representative has already approached us and has promised us to sell the products produced by our women,” she says.