'Both poor, govt are struggling to procure sand’

Members raise a point at the Zilla Panchayat meeting which was presided by the president of the zilla panchayat, Dinakar Babu, at the Zilla Panchayat Hall in Manipal.

The anomalies in the availability and the distribution of sand came in for sharp criticism at the Zilla Panchayat meeting held on the Zilla Panchayat premises here recently.

The members alleged that sand was illegally transported, particularly from Kundapur. The cost of sand is high in most of the places, and thus, the rich are able to buy sand, ZP member Babu Shetty charged.

He said besides the poor, the government constructing houses for poor was also struggling to procure sand.

Another member Gowri Devadiga criticising the E-Sand App, said that the app is not customer-friendly and many people in the district and villages in particular are not tech-savvy. They are finding it difficult to place an order for sand. Though the district administration had fixed the price of a truckload of sand at Rs 5,500, it was being sold for Rs 9,000 in Byndoor, she added.

She urged the district-level sand monitoring committee to redress the problems earnestly.

Ranji Naik, senior geologist from the Mines and Geology department, said that he would ensure that the problems were addressed by the seven-member committee, which monitors all sand-related issues, he added.

The members also raised concern over the delay in the distribution of ration cards.

Pratap Hegde Marali, raising the issue, said the beneficiaries were not receiving cards on time. The delay has ensured that poor families don't get benefits. The officials should ensure immediate supply of ration cards, he demanded.

The officials clarified that the server, which was malfunctioning, had failed to issue ration cards on time.

Another member Janardhan Tonse charged that many Anganawadi centres in Havanje area do not have proper structure. The deputy director of the department of Women and Child Welfare promised to look into the issue.

The discussions on absentee officials who ignore their responsibilities also rocked the meeting. Officials are skipping zilla panchayat, taluk panchayat and gram panchayat meetings, the members charged.

Chief Planning Officer (CPO) Srinivas Rao said that there was a shortage of field employees which includes PDOs and village accountants, and thus, the gram panchayat meetings were witnessing absence of officers.

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