Udupi ZP members argue over dead issue

Please maintain dignity, Zilla Panchayat is not Vidhana Soudha, appeals ZP chief to members

In a political drama, the members of Zilla Panchayat had a tussle over an already settled issue of implementing the project of Tiger Reserve in Kudremukh National Park region.

The hot discussion led the members to the well of the house in the general body meeting of Zilla Panchayat held here on Tuesday.

The drama unfolded as BJP Members Uday Kotyan and Mamatha Adhikari raised the issue of displacement of the people in the area of 11 villages coming under the project. The entire issue took a political turn when the members started war of words against each other. Congress Member Manjunath Poojary argued that the project was consented by the State government and Central government had no role to play except for supporting the State government with necessary financial and other sorts of infrastructures.

On the other hand, Mamatha argued that there was no need for discussion over the issue and the house should take unanimous resolution against implementation of the project, following which, Manjunath Poojary rushed to the well of the house and sat on the floor and demanded detailed discussion over the issue. He threatened that if the house does not permit the debate, he and his party members will walkout. Even though ZP President Katpadi Shankar Poojary was in favour of healthy discussion, he could not continue as both Congress and BJP members started arguing before him. He repeatedly yelled that Zilla Panchayat is not Vidhana Soudha and was appealing to maintain the dignity of the house. However, all his efforts to convince the members went in vain.

Mamatha said the tribal people residing in the forest do not have any proof for their settlements and they will be displaced if at all the project is executed. Central government’s offer of uniform compensation package of Rs 10 lakhs to all evacuees is absurd, she added. But, Manjunath Poojary demanded document proof for the entire allegations made by Mamatha and Uday Kotyan. It can be recalled that District-in-Charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary had already clarified the issue that Kudremukh National Park will not be converted into tiger reserve. Meanwhile, Karkala MLA Gopal Bhandary who made an entry was able to bring back the situation to normalcy.

Bhandary said he has all documents to prove his statements. He said that he will produce the documents before the house comprising the signature of State Forest Minister consenting the project that is been sent to the central.

He said in 2011 state government’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest had written to Central Government demanding the project, following which, the then Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda along with State chief Secretary Ranganath decided against the project.

The MLA added that Minister of Forest in the presence of Chief Minister had already assured in the Assembly session that the project will not be coming up in the region.
Despite all these measures, the members of some organisation are trying to mislead the people by spreading false rumours. They are sending wrong messages to the tribal people and villagers in the region, he lamented.

The other issue that rocked the floor of the house was issuing of the ration cards. MLC Prathapchandra Shetty demanded clarification over the appellate authority in the process of giving ration cards.  Members Arun Kumar, Indira, Ananth Muwadi joined him and alleged that Gram Panchayat officials are treated like slaves and when it comes to granting of ration cards.

PDOs and VAs are asked to collect the basic information from the applicants and later their report is ignored. Indira said that there are many cases where many BPL applicants are given APL cards. Gopal Bhandary said the poorest of the poor is also given APL card.
MLA Raghupathy Bhat said the officials in the district should not work to please their higher officials, instead, they should work with real concern towards the poor. He alleged that department officials are showing less number of BPL cards, to keep higher officials under false impression that the district is fast progressing. He also urged that the department should issue notification indicating that the process is an ongoing process and is not a short term process.

District in charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary insisted on having token facilities to the applicants. He added the process of issuing ration cards is messed up with confusions. Government has come out with new criteria for the applicants, he added.

There was also demand for “Nada Kacheri” in Siddhapur as it is a naxal infected area. Earlier, there was Nemmadi Kendra in Siddhapur, which will be shut down following the opening of Nada Kacheri in Vandse. Mamatha Shetty argued that Vandse is a distant place for the people, residing in and around Siddhapur, Hallihole, Hosangadi, Macchettu and Shankarnaryana.

The House took an unanimous resolution favoring Nada Kacheri in Siddhapur considering the sensitiveness of the region.

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