Zilla Panchayat members spar over loan waiver, ESZ report

Ruling, Oppn members trade charges; ZP chief elated over completing 1 yr in office

 Unruly scenes were witnessed at the general meeting of the zilla panchayat here on Tueday, with members cutting across party lines, charging against each other.

As the meeting convened, ZP president B A Harish, who was elated over completed one year in office, sought the cooperation of fellow members to continue to deliver duties with a renewed spirit.

He expressed happiness over Sampaje-Polybetta gram panchayat bagging central honour during his tenure, though most of the developmental works remain to be completed.

In-between, however, the BJP and the Congress members indulged in a wordy duel over loan waiver for farmers. The Congress members cited the example of the state government’s announcement to waive short term loans up to Rs 50,000 advanced by cooperative banks to farmers and the pressure on the BJP-led Central government to follow the lead.

They indulged in blame game over eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) in the Western Ghats as mentioned in the report submitted by the state government to the Centre, following recommendations from Kasturirangan committee.

Some of the members questioned the hastiness in implementing the recommendations amid growing opposition to the same. Where should those residing on fringes of forest go to, they questioned.

Sarita Poonacha, a zilla panchayat member from the Congress questioned the action taken by sitting Mysuru-Kodagu MP Prathap Simha who had volunteered to shoulder responsibility, promising measures to prevent the recommendations from becoming a reality.

Mahesh Ganapathy of the BJP claimed that there were no dissenting voices against the report.

ZP president Harish who intervened, blamed it on the part of state government for misleading the Centre that resulted in the announcement of ESZs in Western Ghats. Apart from zilla panchayat, taluk panchayat and gram panchayats too had resolved against the same, the reports of which had also been forwarded to government for perusal.

The Congress members

accused the sitting MP of failing to take further action in this regard.
Agriculture and Industries Standing Committee president H R Srinivas said valve men working under multi-village drinking water project are yet to get their due salaries. It may discourage them from continuing with their work, he said. Kumuda Dharmappa said that residents of Nalkuru Shirangala have already been facing the heat, with disruption in drinking water supply.

Following this, a majority of the members urged zilla panchayat chief executive officer (CEO) Charulata Somal to visit every gram panchayat to take stock of the situation.

It was resolved during the meeting to drill percolation pit next to borewell points to tap rain water for rainwater harvesting under zilla panchayat funds henceforth.

The members also opposed the decision to close Ashrama School at Gonimarur in Virajpet taluk. There are 30 dwellings in the village, but the frequent raids of wild animals has prevented teachers from attending to work, thus prompting the officer to order to close the school.

Social Justice Standing Committee president M K Viju Subramani instructed the officers not to close any Ashrama schools.

Lone protest

ZP member from the Congress Sarita Poonacha staged a lone protest seeking action against waste menace at the villages coming under Siddapura gram panchayat limits. She withdrew her protest only after the president promised action in this regard.

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