'Govt set to annihilate Panchayat Raj system'

Lok Sabha member Shobha Karandlaje said the BJP with its flawless administration in the last term will be able to retain Udupi zilla panchayat.

Speaking to media persons after releasing the party’s manifesto at the BJP office here on Tuesday, she said the zilla panchayat was the hub of corruption during Congress rule. The BJP brought in a new dimension to the administration five years ago, she added.

Congress has already massacred Lokayukta institution and now is all set to annihilate Panchayat Raj System. The government is totally against the strengthening Panchayat Raj system, she criticised.

Karandlaje said the State government decided to conduct elections for zilla and taluk panchayats owing to the strict measures adopted by the Union government. The Union government has already instructed that the states, which fail to hold polls for the rural local bodies in time, will be deprived of  nearly Rs 15,000 crore released to gram, taluk panchayat and zilla panchayats. This compelled the State government to announce the elections, she charged.

Alleging that the State government is ‘the worst-ever irresponsible government’, the MP ridiculed that people are curious to know on what grounds the Congress will fight the election as it has never taken any measures during its term to release funds for the betterment of rural areas.

She alleged that Congress is also interfering in the 14th Finance Commission funds released directly to the gram panchayats. The State government has deducted 25 per cent of the sum released citing the reason of pending electricity bills. However, the gram panchayats, which have paid the bills, have also suffered owing to the illogical and illegal attitude of the State government. The deduction is done to those gram panchayats that have paid the electricity bills, she said.

Development programme
She said the Union government has earmarked about Rs 2 lakh crore under Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) programmes.

Expressing concern over the condition of the Centre-sponsored rural schemes, the MP said that the rural development minister himself agreed that the officials have produced fake utility certificates to avail Rs 3,600 crore from the Union government to provide basic infrastructure facilities to the rural areas. The funds released have been deposited in banks by the officials and they are into amassing the interest out of the deposit, she charged.

She said the planned conspiracy by the government raises doubts against involvement of the politician or a high-ranking official. She alleged that government has not taken legal action against the high-level officers. A few lower cadre officers were detained and later released, she charged.

She said the government mechanism is totally misused. The funds released in the last budget under RDPR Department have remained non-utilised. She said she realised that the action plan has not been approved till January when she discussed the issue of funds earmarked for the drinking water and other rural development works with DCs. 

 Karandlaje alleged that the State government was lackadaisical in its attitude in approving the action plans.

She said that crematorium and solid waste management units in all gram panchayats will be the top priority of the party. An ombudsman should be appointed to look into the financial transaction that take place in the local governance, she added.
DH News Service

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