Sugrama seeks more power, funds for GPs

Gram Panchayat Elected Women Representatives’ Forum, Sugrama, has demanded the Chief Minister and the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj to award more power, increase fund allocation to the Gram Panchayats and hike the honorarium of GP members.

During an interaction with the district-in-charge minister Krishna J Palemar in Mangalore on Tuesday, the Forum members handed over a memorandum to Palemar to be forwarded to B S Yeddyurappa and Jagadish Shettar.

In the memorandum, the members said that is not possible to bring about comprehensive development in the GPs with the funds provided at present. Hence the allocation should be increased and the grants released by the centre and the state for various programmes and schemes should be released directly through the GPs.

They said that GP members should not be confined to just attending Panchayat meetings but should be given greater opportunity to interact with people and involve in the community level work. For this, the GP members must be provided honorarium of Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000 for Vice-Presidents and Rs 5,000 for Presidents.

They mooted for strengthening of ‘Grama Sabhe’ and said that the beneficiaries for all the government schemes and programmes should be selected during the Grama Sabhe.

Election of GP presidents directly through electoral system, extension of tenure of GP President to five years and appointment of Panchayat Development Officers and Secretaries to all GPs were some of the other demands.

Some of the members of Sugrama, speaking about their experience in organisation said that after being a apart of Sugrama, their confidence level has boosted up. Florine from Kuppepadau, Kamala from Manjnady, Vijaya from Belma and others said that when they got elected, they were not aware of the rules, laws, duties and responsibilities. They were often taken for granted by the officials and people too. But after joining Sugrama, they have been enlightened in all necessary aspects and today, they are confident of communicating with officials at higher levels.

Jana Shikshana Trust Director Sheena Shetty speaking on the occasion said that the GP members have to work with special emphasis on Koraga community.

Bringing to the notice of Palemar, Shetty informed that there are about 1,000 odd Koraga families who should be provided with good houses.

“Government provides Rs 40,000 and Rs one lakh for construction of houses for Koragas, which is not sufficient. The Koragas themselves have worked out a plan and are demanding Rs 1.5 lakh for construction of a decent three room house. Government should contemplate on the lines of providing this fund,” said Shetty.

Responding to the same, Palemar said that he will do the needful to meet this demand. “There are funds available for welfare of the Koragas in various departments. These resources can be pooled for this noble cause,” said Palemar.

He further said that the Department of Environment has plans of adopting one ‘Kugrama’ (extremely under developed village) in the district.

MLA U T Khader and members of Sugrama were present.

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