Don't misuse drinking water funds, Varthur tells officers

Sets March-end deadline for completion of work in district

Officers should take care using the crores of rupees released to alleviate the drinking water problem in the district, cautioned District In-charge Minister Varthur Prakash.

He was addressing the quarterly progress review meeting of the Zilla Panchayat in the City on Monday.

He said an amount of Rs 45 crore had been released for the purpose and Rs 20 crore was already utilised. “The remaining amount should be used by the end of March and the work completed. Officers should ensure the funds are not misused.”

‘Be transparent’

He also called upon the department officers to be transparent in their work, right from installing pipes to giving contracts, so that there are no complaints from the public regarding irregularities.

Reminding that the rural areas are in worse shape than the urban, Varthur instructed the Bescom inspector to provide power connection to the borewells dug in the villages. 

“Pumps should also be installed within a week’s time and a report submitted regarding supply of electricity,” Varthur told the officers.

Road work

Devaraj, executive engineer of the Zilla Panchayat technical division, said, funds up to Rs 1.13 crore have been approved for development of roads under the Chief Minister’s Rural Road Development Scheme. 

“Already, Rs 84 lakh of the amount has been released and Rs 41 lakh utilised for construction of roads. Of the 59 projects carried out, 35 have been completed and the rest are in progress,” he said.

An amount of Rs 88 lakh has been approved for small irrigation scheme and Rs 66 lakh released. “We have undertaken 158 projects under the scheme and 91 have been completed,” he said. “Every taluk has been released Rs 70 lakh for drinking water supply from the natural disaster management fund. Pumps will be installed and drinking water supplied to villages,” added Devaraj.

Varthur said Rs four to five crore has been released for each taluk for desilting and rejuvenating water tanks all over the district. “But there is barely any proof of the money being used in the taluks as the water tanks are in no better shape than before,” he said and warned the officers that there were series of complaints from the public. “The tanks should be desilted before further complaints are registered.”

‘Live near HQ’

The minister said the officers should reside near the department headquarters. “But most officers do not do so. Worse still, during emergencies, the mobile phones of officers are switched off,” he alleged and instructed the officers to get permission from the Deputy Commissioner before moving from the headquarters.

Referring to sand mining, Varthur said preventing the mining is everyone’s duty. The PWD should implement proper rules to prevent the mining. Alleging that middlemen are looting the people through sand mining, he instructed the police department to ensure the beneficiaries of the mining should face no problem.

Tank encroachment

The Kolaramma tank spreads across an area of 600 acres. Thirty-eight acres of the land has been encroached, said Varthur. “People who grow vegetables and unlicensed buildings should be cleared from the encroached area without leeway,” he told the officers concerned.

G K Venkatashiva Reddy, legislator, said, with the onset of summer, the district would begin to face drinking water problem. He agreed with Varthur that the funds released for each taluk should be used judiciously. “Just digging borewells does not complete the work. We also need to connect electric pumps and ensure water is supplied to the people,” he added.

Zilla Panchayat president Manjula Venkatesh, vice-president D V Harish, Member of Legislative Council D S Veeraiah, Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar Meena and Zilla Panchayat chief executive officer P Rajendra Cholan were present at the meeting.

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