Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 28
The “financially unviable” sewa kendras (service centres), the pet project of the previous SAD-BJP government, have finally been put to use by the Congress government.
Last year, the Cabinet had decided to shut down 1,647 of the total 2,147 such centres, with only 500 remaining operational.
Following the decision, the buildings of such kendras that were constructed at cost of Rs 200 crore had become redundant. A sum of Rs 1,400 crore was estimated to be spent on their operations in five years.
Now, the water and sanitation department has been handed over 300 such centres in rural areas by the governance reforms department.
“As part of the restructuring of the water supply and sanitation department, junior engineers along with a five-member staff have been stationed at such centres. They would look after a cluster of villages for water supply related complaints and other issues,” said a senior government functionary.
As a result, the villagers would not have to travel long distances for redressal of their complaints.
Sources in the reforms department said the department of panchayats and rural development, social security and some other departments were also seeking permission to run their offices from defunct sewa kenreas in remote areas.
“Such centres have requisite infrastructure, air conditioning and electricity connection. More such centres should be handed over to other departments”, said a government official.
The Cabinet, while deciding to shut down the centres, has suggested using the same as anganwaris or panchayat ghars.
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