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Panchayat Raj meeting budget scaled down

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj had prepared a note to seek Cabinet’s approval to hold a 2-day convention of the elected panchayat representatives including the heads of panchayats and zila parishads on Dec 22 and 23.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2007 03:20 IST
Anil Anand

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj had prepared a note to seek the Cabinet’s approval to hold a two-day convention of the elected panchayat representatives including the heads of panchayats and zila parishads, here on December 22 and 23 to commemorate the occasion. It had also sought sanction to divert the Planning Commission approved BRG Fund for the purpose.

But even before the note could reach the Cabinet, it evoked serious objections from the Ministry’s Internal Finance Division. The IFD questioned the basis of the estimation with a direction that the figures be “realistically pruned”, ministry sources said. Following the IFD objections, the projected amount has reportedly been scaled down from Rs 165 crore to Rs 102 crore in the final note to be presented before the cabinet next week.

The ministry has proposed to invite 2.5 lakh delegates with an expected turnout of 1.25 lakh. Despite earlier objections by the Delhi government and civic bodies, like MCD, to host such a big gathering, the Burari camp of the Sant Nirankari Mandal in north Delhi has been chosen as the venue.

The ministry’s wishlist makes an interesting reading. Nearly 1,000 buses to ferry the delegates, the setting up of a 250-bed hospital at the campsite and construction of a helipad. The construction of a 5,000 capacity convention hall and all other arrangements including a provision for a rally of 1.25 lakh is estimated to cost Rs 50 crore.

Significantly, the proposal has met with resistance from JD-U president Sharad Yadav who has sought PM Manmohan Singh’s intervention in the matter.