People’s Task Force, Odisha must Put The Last First & Act as Watchdog

Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada, October 30: Inaugurating the closing ceremony of People’s Task Force(PTF), Odisha at Ashok Kalyan Mandap, Rayagada where task force members from all panchayats of Rayagada district assembled, Sri N. Bhaskar Rao, MP, Rajya Sabha deliberated on the task of the volunteers.”Rayagada is a schedule area and represented by adibasi people as ward members, sarpanch, samiti members, block chairmen, Zilla Parishad members and chairman and even MLAs and MP. Apart from spreading awareness on govt entitlements, the task force members must act as watchdogs in monitoring the functioning of people’s representatives and govt officials so that the schemes meant for the poor and the oppressed reach the last person first. The task force members must not get involved in party politics and see that welfare schemes are availed by each and every family in the habitation irrespective of their own party affiliation”, said Mr Rao.

Sri Kailash Mishra, State Chairman of PTF, Odisha explained regarding the prime objectives of the PTF, Odisha and said that PTF was operational in seven districts of Odisha namely Mayurbhanj, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Koraput, Nabarangapur and Malkangiri. It will get involved in other districts in a phased manner. It will not only create awareness on govt schemes for the needy but also ensure that the schemes reach each and every family in a village and a ward as a part of an Urban Level Body. A volunteer recruited for this purpose will intensively work for 50 to 60 families and coordinate with local govt officials in putting the schemes in a right direction. There will be coordination from GP level to block level to district level culminating with Chief Minister’s office(CMO). As the entire human resource recruited is volunteer based and the process will be ultimately monitored from CMO, there will be less chance of corruption and pilferage.

Though assured, the District Collector could not come due to a Collectors’ Conference with CM and Chief Secretary in Bhubaneswar; but as her representative, Sri Muralidhar Swain, PA, ITDA joined as Chief Guest on the 1st day and elaborated on schemes like MGNREGA, Horticulture, Agriculture, Watershed, Education, Health, etc. Smt Shantiprava Pradhan, Executive Officer, Rayagada Municipality and BDO, Kolnara briefly said about the schemes available in urban area and in rural area. She emphasized on working with an attitude of “here & now” in stead of peeping too much into the past. “Not only gaining knowledge, but also change in attitude and mindset will lead to a change in behavior which will ultimately lead to one’s holistic development “, said Mrs Pradhan. Sri Sankaram, Astt Executive Engineer, Rural Water and Sanitation Mission(RWSS) explained about the participatory piped water supply scheme as well as drinking water system through solar water pumps. He also explained about the gravity flow drinking water systems. Sri D Sudhakar, Asstt Executive Engineer, Minor Irrigation explained about the chek dams and extended canals. According to him, people can place a demand before them for such an irrigation scheme and after a feasibility study, the project can be taken up. He shared all the information available for sixty five projects implemented by their deptt and requested the participants to monitor their functioning and report to them directly in case of any functional issue.

Smt Bidulata Huika, Ombudsman, Joined as a guest of honour and described her role in grievance redressal mechanism in solving issues in MGNREGA like non-payment or less payment in wages, corruption in the schemes related to MGNREGA and requestedAC the gathering to send complaints against the erring officials. Advocate Pradip Das, Ex-President, District Consumers Redressal Forum vividly explained about Acts like Consumers Act, MGNREGA, Forest Rights Act, RTI Act, Right to Education Act, Atrocities Act, etc. He also explained about the Lok Adalats, District and Taluka Legal Aid Cells, Legal Aid Clinics, Pra legal Volunteers System, Victim Compensation Award mooted by the court. The meeting was addressed by PTF’s block presidents named Sri Dibakar Sabar, Smt Dharani Saraka, Sri Gopinath Kandagari, Smt Anita Pidikaka, Sri Nabin Nayak, Sri Krushna Sabar, Sri Satya Narayan Pratika, Sri Sibaram Nayak, Sri James Sabar, Sri P N Kuldip, Sri Ajay Rath and other block level leaders. Both the days were moderated by PTF District Chairperson Sri Badal kumar Tah.