To protest e-tendering, sarpanches to lock block development offices in Haryana today : The Tribune India

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To protest e-tendering, sarpanches to lock block development offices in Haryana today

To protest e-tendering, sarpanches to lock block development offices in Haryana today

Sarpanches from across the state gather in Tohana town of Fatehabad district on Sunday.



Tribune News Service

Hisar, January 15

Up in arms against the government on the e-tendering of development works, the newly elected sarpanches today announced to lock up the block development offices across the state tomorrow, and then 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.

Rs 2L limit irks village heads

  • The gram panchayat sarpanch can get up to Rs 2 lakh developmental work done at his level
  • However, works of more than Rs 2 lakh will be done through tender invited on the Haryana Engineering Works portal

The sarpanches and panches from across Haryana gathered in Tohana town, which is the Assembly constituency represented by minister Babli. They have been protesting the state government’s decision to issue tenders of the development works beyond Rs 2 lakh through e-tendering in the villages.

Panchayati Raj Act hit

The Panchayati Raj Act 1994 had been weakened with amendments which had reduced the sarpanch to virtually a non-entity. 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 —Ranbir S Gill, Sarpanch, Samian village

Ranbir Singh Gill, sarpanch of Samian village in Fatehabad district, who is taking the lead in the ongoing stir, urged the sarpanches not to allow the entry of the government representatives in 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.

He said they wanted the state government to withdraw the rule of e-tendering of works and to scrap the Right to Recall, which was being threatened to be invoked for the sarpanches.

Gill stated that the Panchayati Raj Act 1994 had been weakened with subsequent amendments which had reduced the sarpanch of a village to virtually a non-entity. “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 stated, adding that they also decided to form Gaon Bachano Dehat Bachao Committee, comprising 22 members which included one sarpanch from each district of Haryana.

Sanjay Singh, sarpanch of Kanwari village in Hisar, said their agitation would further intensify as sarpanches across the state were unhappy with the government’s decision to cut into the powers of the elected representatives at the village level. Making an indirect attack on Minister Babli, the sarpanches said those who were terming them “spent forces” should know that being sarpanch of villages, they had people of their respective villages standing by them.

“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, demanding that the government should probe the utilisation of grants during the past one year in the villages if it was serious about exposing and curbing corruption.

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