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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Five years on, panchayats in search of grant

Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times  Nawanshahr, January 22, 2013
First Published: 19:36 IST(22/1/2013) | Last Updated: 19:55 IST(22/1/2013)

The SAD-BJP government has failed to keep its five-year-old promise of providing incentive grants to the village panchayats that had been elected unanimously.


The reply of the department of rural development and panchayats under the RTI shows that it never issued any letter to award the incentive grant of Rs. 3 lakh to such panchayats.

The reply by the department reads that the award of incentive grant was announced by the government and the department had nothing to do with it. Moreover, it was revealed that the news was carried in the papers on behalf of the announcement by the government, as the department had not issued any advertisement in this regard.

The government had announced during the last panchayat elections in 2008 that it would give a grant of Rs. 3 lakh to those panchayats which elected its members unanimously, and not by electoral process.

As many as 2,806 panchayats were elected unanimously, but the government allegedly failed to keep its promise.
Behind the incentive, the government’s aim was to save funds used in holding elections and to promote peace and brotherhood among panchayat members. A total grant of nearly Rs. 84.18 crore was to be given to such panchayat.
RTI activist Parwinder Singh, who collected the information under the RTI, said the panchayat elections might be due in three months, but the state government had not provided a single rupee to these panchayats, which was announced by the government on May 26, 2008.

He alleged that the government had cheated these panchayats by announcing the incentive grant, as the reply given by the panchayat department revealed that it had not released such orders, and it was announced by the government.
Singh said his NGO 'HELP' had already sent a legal notice to the department of rural development and panchayats for not releasing the grants to the panchayats. He said the government's aim of promoting brotherhood among panchayats through the grant had also failed. 

Districts                       Numberof panchayats elected unanimously
Amritsar                                                      168
Bathinda                                                        18
Barnala                                                          22
Ferozepur                                                     273
Faridkot                                                         30
Fatehgarh Sahib                                            109
Gurdaspur                                                     368
Hoshiarpur                                                    309
Jalandhar                                                       223
Kapurthala                                                    145
Ludhiana                                                       202
Mansa                                                            31
Muktsar                                                         42
Moga                                                             90
Patiala                                                          180
Rupnagar                                                      216
Sangrur                                                          44
Mohali                                                           76
Nawanshahr                                                 165
TarnTaran                                         95                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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