The `Palle Pragathi’ programme of improvement of civic infrastructure in villages which commenced on Friday was marred by protests by sarpanches and locals against the failure of government to clear the pending bills of works already taken up in earlier rounds of the programme.
Panchayat Raj Minister E. Dayakar Rao assured the villagers wherever he toured to oversee the programme that the government will issue tokens and cheques towards payment of pending bills. He said the government had released ₹9,560.32 crore to rural local bodies since September 2019.
In Bhadradri – Kothagudem district, the sarpanches and ward members went round villages begging symbolically after boycotting the programme. They told people that the government did not reimburse monthly instalments paid by gram panchayats to clear the loans borrowed for purchase of tractors, fuel expenditure and purchase of bleaching powder
A woman sarpanch V. Anitha of Hanamkonda district pleaded with the Collector that she had borrowed ₹8 lakh to meet the expenditure on works grounded in the earlier phase of the programme. It was more than a year that she spent the money but the bill was not met. As she had turned a pauper after that, she was forced to go for NREGS works for livelihood.
A number of sarpanches boycotted the programme in Nalgonda district. At places, they passed resolutions that they will not ground fresh works unless the pending bills were cleared. Ministers, MLAs and officials pacified the sarpanches.