Absence of ITDP officer cripples projects in DK

'Rs 5.9 cr released for 2009-10 about 4 months ago has not yet been utilised'

Though the project was implemented with hopes of amelioration of primitive tribals inhabiting in the region, the progress of the project and its implementation is dissatisfactory and many say that absence of a full time ITDP officer for the district is the main reason for the failure. Surprising but true, that the district has not had ITDP officer for the last 2 years, compelling the ZP to have in-charge ITDP officials to carry on the works.

Zilla Panchayat former president Sucharitha Shetty says that Zilla Panchayat implements the regular 10 schemes of ITDP, viz., scholarship/hostels, training component, residential schools, tours for ST students, medical/engineering textbooks for ST students, scholarship for pre-metric students, scholarships for post-metric students (EBL), post-metric scholarships etc while the cluster-level project pertaining to health, nutrition, housing roads for tribal colonies etc are implemented by the Koraga Abhivridhi Samiti headed by the Deputy Commissioner.

Now the contention is that while the said 10 schemes implemented by the ZP are faring off well, the project under the cluster are not being implemented efficiently.

Asserting that a full time ITDP official must be appointed for the district at the earliest, Shetty says that the ITDP officer is the person who brings projects to the notice of the DC and gets funds for the same. “If there is no drawing person in place, how can we expect the project to take off well,” he questions and adds that it is precisely due to this reason that a sum of Rs 5.9 crore released for the ITDP for 2009-10 about 4 months ago has not yet been utilised.

Shetty suggests that since housing is the need of the hour, the district administration must take proactive steps to utilise the funds for providing proper houses for the tribals. “There are several Koraga families living in each and every panchayat limits and they are aware that funds have been released by the Government for them. They question us as to why the funds have not been utilised,” he says and adds that Deputy Commissioner must take steps to get the funds utilised either through the Panchayat bodies or through agencies like Nirmiti Kendra, but by any means, the funds have to be utilised when it is needed the most.

Endorsing the view of Shetty, Jana Shikshana Trust Director Sheena Shetty says that their concern is on utilisation of funds and the DC headed Samiti must see to it that the funds are utilised on time and the projects are undertaken bringing it to the notice of the Gram Panchayat, Taluk Panchayats and the elected representatives as well.

“Why does such a delay happen only in case of projects meant for primitive tribes. This never happens with other projects,” says Sheena Shetty demanding immediate appointment of a full time ITDP official.

A source in the Zilla Panchayat informed that a total of Rs 18.67 lakh was allocated for implementing the 10 schemes of ITDP through Zilla Panchayat for 2009-10, of which Rs 176 lakh was received and Rs 121.93 lakh has been spent. Whatever the saving are it is because of the salary component.

ZP CEO speaks

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Zilla Panchayat CEO P Shivshankar agreed that there is a need for a full time ITDP officer because the officials taken as in-charge have their own duties and hence they have not been able to do justice to the additional work.

He says that at the field-level, there are problems pertaining to shortage of teachers and wardens at the hostels, which is yet another problem that ZP has to manuver.
“Of the total requirement of 40 teachers in the district, as many as 35 have been outsourced. For reasons unknown though the posts for teachers have been created, it has not been filled. As far as wardens in the hostels are concerned, there are 9 hostels, of which only two hostels have wardens on additional charge,” the CEO said.

With the project limping in the district, one has to wait and watch if the district will continue to have in-charge officers or a full time official is appointed at the earliest to accelerate the project.

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