Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: On its campaign against ruling BJD’s bad governance and fight for entitlements for the Odia people, BJP’s town wing under its leadership Sri Bhaskar Panda, President, Town Committee, has spread its tentacles over several irregularities in Rayagada Municipality.
The members had a day long protest near Municipality office which started from Lord Jagannath Temple. They have submitted a memorandum to Governor, Odisha regarding the misrule and lackadaisical attitude of the local municipality. The demands in the memorandum mentions that the sanitation situation is precarious and is an indicator of this govt’s incompetency and stagnation. Though the Municipality is spending more than forty lakhs of rupees per month, the conditions of almost all habitations including roads do not witness any improvement. The filth is dumped beside the road. The huge amount of money spent is actually usurped by a racket of contractors, officers and political leaders.
For example, the road from forest office to Majighariani temple has waste piled at both the sides causing nuisance to the commuters specially coming with religious sentiments. The memorandum has questioned whether the Municipality has taken permission from the appropriate authorities to dump waste there. They have demanded to include all the families residing in the slums in Pradhan Mantri Awas Jojana(PMAY) scheme by allotting entitlement of land to the inhabitants. They have resented the transaction of bribe in sanctioning PMAY and and demanded stern action against those asking bribe.
The demand includes reversal of amount collected govt by instilling fear among those persons who surrendered their ration cards. Street lights in many habitations like Railway sub-way and near Santoshima Temple are not functioning leading to theft and making the road unsafe for the women to use at night. More than fifty persons have been affected by dog-bite. So the Municipality must castrate the stray dogs.
Recently the Rajaya sabha MP assured the inhabitants of Sashtri Nagar to make provisions for roads, street lights, etc which seemed alluring the voters for the ensuing election. It is unfortunate that even after eighteen years of BJD rule, Sashtri Nagar and Sai Priya Nagar are included in the Municipality till today though there are scores of promises during election. They have also demanded a Tribal Farmers’ Market for tribal vegetable vendors-cum-farmers and to save local tribals from the clutches of middlemen.
They have demanded to do away with the centallised pension system for differently abled, old aged persons at Municipality office and in stead, make it ward-based or payment directly to their respective accounts. The demad also includes vigilance inquiry of the works taken up by the municipality. They have complained that there is no transparency in tender process & bills/vouchers and other documentation work is made after execution of the works which are of very low quality.
The other demands are about the safe drinking water at the pump installed near Siva temple, construction of public toilets and bathrooms, tar road around the Landa Pahad, revival of Hatipathar as a tourism spot, Municipality filing criminal cases against the persons who damaged the scenic beauty of Hatipathar by installing a failed hydro-project, construction of a grave yard near Raniguda farm. Alongwith Sri Bhaskar Panda, other leaders of BJP namely Sri Kaliram Majhi, Tapan Tapadar and others led the protest.
However, Mrs. Shantiprabha Pradhan, who is BDO, Kolnara and has recently taken up charge of Executive Officer of Rayagada Municipality, is shouldering the liabilities of her predecessor and trying to address the problems in a phased manner.