Strenghten KP Act further, demand electoral representatives

Elected representatives from eight districts of Mysore district highlighted several shortcomings of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act and suggested measures to strengthen the same, here on Tuesday.

They were airing their opinions during a meeting chaired by K R Ramesh Kumar, who is heading a 21 member legislative committee formed to suggest amendments for the Act.

Soubhagya, a grama panchayat (GP) member from Nanjangud taluk, Mysore district complained that bureaucrats of various panchayats were misleading the elected representatives with regard to various issues.

Though most of the elected representatives are not well versed with laws, officials who administer the local bodies in connivance with them, indulge in corrupt practices, she observed.

Reacting, Ramesh said that suitable amendments to the Act could be made to train the representatives in administration, so that they could check the corrupt practices of officials.

While discussing whether all candidates contesting elections should be trained, or only the ones who win the elections, they opined that training winning candidates would be sufficient.

Nandana Reddy, member of the committee said that though the necessary skills and knowledge could be provided to candidates through training programme, it would not stop corruption. “People cannot be trained to be dedicated in their works,” she said.

Krupa, a GP member from Koteshwar in Udupi district complained that funds sanctioned to GPs were being spent unilaterally without consultation with the members.

The amended Act should have measures to ensure that a majority at a GP approve the expenditure, she said.

Chaitravathy, a taluk panchayat member said that most of the funds allotted were being spent on maintaining buildings and other office expenditure, rather than on works to improve drinking water and drainage facilities.

Raghu, a GP member from Boodanur, Mandya district said that proceedings of meetings in local bodies were not being recorded on the same day.

“If questions are raised on the same, village accountants and others complain that there are no stenographers. Another issue is that the recordings which will be available days later will be contradictory to the statements made by the members during the meeting,” he said.

The recordings should also be uploaded on the web, within a short period after the meeting, he added.

Members present also suggested that the president of a GP must be elected by all the residents of a village and sought restricting his/his powers to prevent unilateral decision making.

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