Sarpanches Oppose BDO Interference In Panchayat Works, Take Out Rally In Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: Sarpanches from across Odisha on Friday took out a rally in Bhubaneswar in protest against the role of government officials in development works of the panchayats.

Speaking to media persons on the sideline of the rally, president of State Sarpanch Federation Romancha Sahu said they have to obtain the permission from the Block Development Officer (BDO) for every development work. “Despite being people’s representatives, sarpanches have no role in development of our areas. Our powers have been heavily curtailed. We cannot even repair a hand pump without the approval of the BDO,” he said.

“The sarpanches, who were vested with the district collector’s power during COVID pandemic, have been deprived of all powers now. The money disbursed to the panchayats under ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ scheme is approved on the whims of the BDOs and not after discussions in Gram Sabhas,” the protesting sarpanches said.

They demanded restoration of decision taking power to sarpanches instead of BDOs, raise in sarpanch allowance to Rs 30,000 per month, health insurance and special fund for natural calamities.

They threatened to launch an indefinite dharna in front of the Assembly from September 22 if the government failed to consider their demands.

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