Hyderabad: MPTCs, MPPs and ZPTCs in Telangana are set to form a joint action committee (JAC) to lead protests demanding the state government to strengthen the panchayat raj system in the state. The elected representatives of the local bodies are threatening that thousands of them will submit resignations if the state government does not allocate necessary funds to them.
U Manohar Reddy, general secretary of the Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies (ZPTCs) Forum said that the members of ZPTC and Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency (MPTC) have not been functional in the state as they did not receive both central and state funds of the Finance Commission since 2014. “After numerous representations, we started getting central funds from July last year, However, the state government has not given any funds. This is stopping the elected representative from taking up development activities,” said Reddy.
Members of the local bodies are demanding the state government to allot annual funds of Rs 50 lakh for ZPTCs and Rs 20 lakh for MPTCs. They are arguing that the local bodies will be strengthened if the government involves them in implementing schemes.
“The state government will have to prepare its next budget considering our demands. If not, our joint struggle will intensify,” Reddy added.
Presently, 10% and 5% of the local body funds are allotted to MPTCs and ZPTCs, respectively.
“ZPTCs and MPTCs have become powerless and toothless in the state,” says Sarita, former MPTC representative in Nalgonda District. “The panchayat raj system has weakened in the state. There are literally hundreds of MPTCs who did not do any significant work in their constituency during the last term,” she said.
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Speaking at a joint meeting of MPTCs, ZPTCs and Mandal Praja Parishads (MPPs) in Hyderabad, MPP Forum vice president, Sammaya, said that the members will unite irrespective of their political parties to claim their rights. “It is sad that instead of fighting for people’s problems we are in a state of fighting for our own problems. There is a dire need for proper implementation of the Panchayat Act in the state.” he said.
“The situation of several MPTCs and ZPTCs is so worse that they don’t even have offices for conducting meetings,” Reddy said, highlighting the pathetic situation of the panchayat representatuves.
The government is, however, paying Rs 10,000 to ZPTC and Rs 5,000 to MPTC members as monthly honorarium.
After the formation of Telangana state, the state government has enacted a new Panchayat Raj Act and increased the number of Gram Panchayats from 8,368 to 12,751 and the number of municipalities from 74 to 142.
In the June 2019 local body elections, of the 534 ZPTC seats, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) bagged 446 seats. TRS won 3,556 MPTCs of the total 5,800 seats. The Congress secured 76 ZPTCs and 1,377 MPTC seats, while the BJP won 8 ZPTCs and 211 MPTCs.