Govt takes solar route to harness energy

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj K S Eshwarappa speaks at a district-level Chintana Manthana programme organised for Zilla, Taluk and Gram Panchayat presidents, vice presidents and members at B C Road in Bantwal on Friday. DH Photo

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj K S Eshwarappa said measures will be taken to harness solar energy in the buildings of all 6,021 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the next one year.

“Gram Panchayats, which do not generate adequate revenue to pay electricity bills, often face disconnection of power supply. Thus, the government has resolved to address the problem by taking the ‘solar’ route to harness solar energy,” Eshwarappa said while speaking at the district level Chintana Manthana programme organised for Zilla Panchayat, Taluk Panchayat and Gram Panchayat presidents, vice presidents and members at B C Road in Bantwal.

He said many GPs have already installed solar rooftops to harness the solar energy to meet electricity requirement. The necessary funds can be mobilised under MLALAD, MPLAD, Zilla and Taluk Panchayats. 

Eshwarappa urged ZP, TP and GP members to identify land for crematorium in each Gram Panchayat jurisdiction. Once the land is identified, the work will be taken up by mobilising funds under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and other sources. If government land is not available, then private land can be purchased for burial grounds, he added. 

He said Dakshina Kannada will be developed as a model district.

Stressing the need for scientific waste management, Eshwarappa said the ZP can focus on developing solid and liquid waste management units by bringing six to seven GPs under one cluster.

All the gram panchayats in the state should become active in solid and liquid waste management, he added.

He said rain had wreaked havoc on roads in rural areas and added that the state government has sanctioned Rs 1,500 crore to repair rural roads, he said.

The minister said the demand of increasing honorarium of ZP, TP and GP members will be looked into.

Eshwarappa also said Panchayat Raj act will be amended after consulting experts to overcome a few loopholes in the system.

On the demand by Zilla Panchayat President Meenakshi Shanthigodu to release pending Rs 2.25 crore for drinking water projects, he said the needful will be done.

District In-charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary urged the minister to strengthen Bapuji Seva Kendras  in Gram Panchayts to provide service to the citizens. 

“Librarians working in libraries in GPs should be given a monthly salary of Rs 13,200 and their work hours should be extended from four hours to eight hours,” he said.

Poojary urged the minister to provide PF and ESI facilities for GP employees.

“The department is facing 55% shortage of employees. The government should fill up vacancies to help them serve people better,” he added.

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