Govt claims funds given to panchayats, DC ground report finds otherwise
Hyderabad: The state government on Thursday claimed that it was regularly releasing grants to gram panchayats for taking up developmental works, including payment of salaries to multipurpose workers.
In a rejoinder issued by an ‘unnamed’ director of Panchayat Raj and Rural Employment, to the news item ‘No salaries for 6 months, 50K sanitation workers go on strike’ published in these columns on Thursday, the government also claimed that the maintenance of daily sanitation and other essential services had been going on without interruption.
Our correspondent replies:
“We stand by our report. The strike by sanitation workers entered eighth day on Thursday and they continue to boycott works leading to piling of garbage in all villages as no alternate mechanism was set up to lift the garbage. Though unnamed PR&RE director claimed that the state government had been releasing grants regularly to gram panchayats, the data speaks differently. The arrears of gram panchayats accumulated to Rs 1,190 crore over the last one year and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao issued orders only on May 23 this year to release Rs 1,190 crore at one go after several sarpanchs, including those from the Chief Minister’s native Medak district and belonging to the ruling Bharata Rashtra Samithi, threatened to resign en masse in protest against pending bills.”
“The representatives of Sarpanches Association alleged that they were forced to borrow and complete development works as government stopped payments. As loans were raised at higher interest rates, a few sarpanchs died by suicide due to mounting debt.”