Haryana: Sarpanches to Lock Block Development Offices to Protest E-tendering
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI
The newly elected sarpanches in Haryana announced that they would lock up the block development offices across the state on January 16 against the government's move to start e-tendering of development works.
Furthermore, the sarpanches plan to oppose "a programme of the Development and Panchayat Minister Devender Singh Babli on January 23, scheduled to be attended by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar."
Gram panchayat sarpanches can get around Rs 2 lakh for various development projects in their respective villages. However, the government has introduced e-tendering for works more than Rs 2 lakh, implying that the tenders for such development works could only be invited on the Haryana Engineering Works portal.
Ranbir Singh Gill, sarpanch of Samian village in Fatehabad districts, urges the sarpanches to stop government representatives from entering their villages.
"The sarpanches will not let the government representatives enter their villages to attend official functions. However, we will not oppose private visits to the villages," he said.
Gill further lamented how, over the years, the Panchayati Raj Act (PRI) 1994 had been weakened with amendments targeted at reducing the powers of village sarpanches.
“We demand that the PRI Act 1994 should be implemented in letter and spirit. The sarpanches are left with little powers with several amendments in the Act," he said. Gill added that they have formed Gaon Bachao Dehat Bachao Committee. The committee currently includes one sarpanch each from all 22 districts of the state.
Sanjay Singh, sarpanch of Kanwari village in Hisar, said that the agitation would not stop if the government did not take back its decision to reduce the powers of elected representatives.
“Though we have just got elected and are yet to start functioning, certain leaders have started branding us corrupt. This will not be tolerated. Shockingly, corruption had taken place during the past one year. All powers were vested in government officials, as the previous panchayats had completed their terms and the new panchayats were yet to be constituted,” Singh said.
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