Fund dole delay: Irate Telangana sarpanchs expose Centre, state govt

Hyderabad: Funds crunch is adversely affecting administration in gram panchayats across the state. Sarpanchs, the heads of gram panchayats, having lost patience because of erratic disbursement of funds from the Union and state governments, have decided to raise their voice against this apathy.

The formation of Telangana saw for the first time tribal hamlets (thandas) getting upgraded as gram panchayats so as to get direct funds from the central and state governments.

However, the fund flow is inadequate to carry out developmental works in villages. For the last one year, sarpanchs are facing severe financial problems and facing the ire of people. Unable to cope with the pressure being mounted by different sections, some sarpanchs have decided to resign from their posts while a few ended their lives.

Telangana state sarpanches association woman president J. Dhanalaxmi said that the state government had given an ultimatum to sarpanchs to construct rythu vedika within 40 days after sanction of funds or face action. Unable to bear the pressure from the government, some of them spent from their pockets to take up construction works, she said. If the government fails to release funds to gram panchayats, who will come to the rescue of the already anguished sarpanchs, she bemoaned.

There are 12,751 gram panchayats across the state and a majority of sarpanchs are associated with BRS. However, given the current crisis, cutting across party affiliations, sarpanchs have decided to join forces and launch agitations.

According to some of them, the Union government contributed 14th and 15th Finance Commission funds while the state government deposited money proportionate to the population of villages.

Under the new Panchayat Raj Act, stamp duty and mining cess recovered from the central pool were deposited in gram panchayats. Central government asked us to open different bank accounts for deposit of funds, but it released funds only in the last week of December, many of them rued.

Meanwhile, Congress MP N. Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao was responsible for driving many sarpanchs to suicides as he was diverting funds meant for gram panchayats without their knowledge. Central government has released funds under 11th Finance Commission to gram panchayats. Around Rs 35,000 crore intended for GPs was diverted by the state government, he alleged, and demanded a white paper on the subject.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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