Officers face music at ZP meeting

Members express displeasure over inordinate delay in implementing development works

Wide gamut of issues - forwarding false information to the government on the calamity relief works, misuse of relief money, faltering in implementation of Nanjundappa committee report, delay in submitting report on progress of development works, negligence in implementing National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the irregular power supply - invited the wrath of the ZP members at the meeting.

“We don’t office such officers who display laxity in executing development works. You seek transfer before we do it,” the members said in unison.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Zilla Panchayat members condoled the death of people in the natural calamities in the State. They declared to contribute their one month’s honorarium to the Calamity Relief Fund.

Volley of questions

A barrage of questions immediately followed soon after. Member G R Narayanaswamy, who represents Nandi constituency said alleged that it was decided in the last meeting to recommend government include Chikkaballapur in the list of backward districts in terms of the Nanjundappa committee report. However, the report has been submitted to the government after two months, the member fumed against the ZP chief executive officer Krishnappa. Attempts by the CEO to pacify the angry member went in vain.

However, he said that it had been planned to submit the report to Member of Legislative Council Susheel Kumar Namoshi, who is also the chairman of a committee for implementation of Nanjundappa Committee report. The MLC was scheduled to visit Chikkaballapur and the programme was cancelled following the floods in North Karnataka, the CEO explained.

Not satisfied with the reply, the members said that a distinction has to be made between submitting the report to the MLC and the government. They termed explanation as a lame excuse.

Another member P N Jagannath, who represents Pura constituency in Chikkaballapur taluk also took up the same issue. He alleged that the drought relief work and recommendations of Nanjundappa Committee are not being implemented properly in the district.

 He charged that the government funds are being spent to favour the members and contractors of a particular party. The grants are being released with taking public representatives into confidence. “If you alone can take decisions, what is the need of elected representatives,” the member questioned.

Extent of damage

Giving details of the damage caused by the rain havoc, the officers told the meeting that as many as 714 houses have collapsed partially; three persons and 13 livestock have been killed and crop in 350 acres has been damaged. The damage has been assessed at Rs 26 crore. The state government has released Rs 6 crore and Rs 4.50 crore has been released by various departments for relief work.

D V Obalappa countered that while the damage has been quantified at Rs 26 crore, the official figures say only Rs 9.50 crore has been released for the relief work. On the other hand, during the teleconference with the Chief Minister, it was told that there is no widespread damage due to rains in the district and that there is no problem at all. “Why are giving false information to the government? Is it to get a pat from the Chief Minister?,” an irritated member questioned.

The money released for calamity relief work should be used to take up emergency works. Instead, it is being diverted for construction of houses in urban areas or such other work and thus the very purpose of releasing the money is being defeated. Shidlaghatta taluk has suffered extensive damage due to incessant rains. But the tahsildar there has no courtesy to consider the advice of elected representatives. “Why the Deputy Commissioner is not initiating any action against such officers?”  Obalappa gave went to his ire.

Report sought

Another member Jagannath sought report on the progress achieved by Watershed Department and other departments under various government-sponsored schemes. He alleged that none of the projects is being implemented properly and no information furnished to members for the past six months. “Whenever queried, the district-level officers always say of meetings,” he said.

It was again the turn of Naraynaswamy to resume the volley of questions. It was resolved in the earlier meeting, held six months ago to complete the work on the maternity hospital in Nandi village. However, the work has not commenced so far. The officers are not forthcoming on the fate of Rs 2.90 lakh meant for the purpose. He sought the District Health Officer to furnish clarification.

However, the DHO did not give a convincing reply which prompted Muniyappa  to chide that officers are not coming to meeting with information. Narayanaswamy insisted that the tender for the hospital work should be called before the meeting concluded.
Legislator K P Bachegowda, Zilla Panchayat president Vinutha, vice-president Chenduru Venkatesh, members Srinivas, Prabhavathi were present.

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