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Uncertainty looms: BDOs to take over NREGA work

Gram panchayat heads would not have power to function as their term of five years is slated to be over soon

kolkata Updated: Jun 27, 2013 11:45 IST
Hindustan Times

The government has asked block development officers (BDOs) across the state to take up the implementation and monitoring of 100 days’ jobs under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(NREGA) scheme because of the imbroglio over the rural polls.

Mamata Banerjee’s government is yet to appoint administrators in more than 50,000 gram panchayats though the five-year term of these rural bodies is over. Gram panchayat heads do not have any power to function after the completion of the five-year term since the day of taking oath.

“We have not yet taken any decision to appoint administrators in the gram panchayats. Today, we have asked the BDOs to monitor and implement the 100-days-work-under the NREGA scheme.Panchayat pradhans normally prepare an action plan of NREGA schemes and implement them in villages. They also look after the payment of bills relating to the NREGA projects,” a senior official of the panchayat department told HT.

“We do not know whether the panchayat polls will be held or not this year. Therefore we have asked the BDOs to take the matter into account,” the official said requesting anonymity.

“The government is reeling under an unprecedented constitutional crisis in connection with the rural polls in Bengal. For the first time rural polls seem uncertain even after the five years’ term in gram panchayats is over. The government should appoint administrators to look after the jobs of gram panchayat pradhans till the elections. With the absence of the pradhans who will look after rural development works under different schemes?” some senior officials in the department asked.

All development works starting from installation of tube wells, repair of roads to setting up of buildings for BPL people have been stalled because of the ongoing imbroglio relating to the panchayat elections.

“We have never seen such a stalemate for holding panchay at elections. All development works in the rural Bengal will be stalled if the elections are not held this year,” Mijanur, panchayat pradhan of Trinamool-ruled Polerhat (number one) gram panchayat in Baruipur sub-division in South 24-Parganas.

“With the announcement of election dates around 80 gram panchayats in Baruipur subdivision will be non-functional from June 29. We do not know whether panchayat polls will be held or not. As a result, who will monitor the works when there is no existence of the rural bodies,” Mijanur, a gram panchayat pradhan since 2008, said.

A panchayat pradhan looks after every thing including issuing of certificates of birth and deaths, OBC, free medical treatment facilities for BPL people. Apart from issuing certificates, gram pradhan also approves the salary bill of gram panchayats’ employees.

First Published: Jun 27, 2013 11:42 IST