Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: The district is witnessing extensive review of all the welfare programmes being dovetailed with spot verification at the field level. The year 2017 witnessed with successful completion of Chaiti, an important cultural extravaganza and a people’s festival of the district. The district administration under the aegis of District Culture Agency(DCA) and the able leadership of Ms Guha Poonam Tapas Kumar, IAS, District Collector-cum-Chairperson, DCA could showcase the enriched culture, heritage of Rayagada along with sale & exhibit of rural handicrafts in Pallishree Mela in association with Rayagada units of ORMAS and OLM. Going a step ahead, Mrs. Guha could limit the ever increasing expenditure with transparent spending mechanisms and in spite of demonetization.
The top-notch officers of the district headed by the Collector decentralized the grievance redressal mechanisms to the block levels on rotational basis thereby coming closer to the people at ground zero. These grievance redressal meets were followed up with reality checks in few villages randomly selected. This made the entire block administration alert and active with rectified measures. For example, the collector visited a nondescript tribal village named Jugapadara in the most interior Chandrapur block where there was a smell of corruption in Indira Awas Yojana(IAY) and interacted with the beneficiaries directly and appreciated their efforts in investing beyond the sanctioned amount both in case of materials and labour. The strict monitoring of IAY and Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana(BPGY) could see 93.31% housed completed during 2015-16. This also brought laurel for the district when Mrs.Guha received rupees one crore from CM Naveen Pattanaik as Rayagada district became number one in housing programme.
She also spent hours with the tribal girls students and staff in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya in Chandrapur block and recommended a slew of measures for further improvement. Chandrapur is known to be infested with ultra-left activism. Spending the whole day in the block has exploded the myth that there is a fear psychosis among the government officers due to the presence of Maoists. She along with the top bureaucrats of the districts barged into a hamlet to listen to the angst of the women regarding paucity of drinking water. Instruction is issued then there with follow-up action. The horrible communication system in Chandrapur was recently supervised by Mrs.Guha personally during a surprise visit to the block. “We will take the grievance redressal process to the GP and even to the GP level after it is strengthened at Block level”, said Mrs Guha during a press meet after newly joining as District Magistrate. And she has kept her commitment. This has set an example before her colleagues and boosted their morale. She has proved that if one has genuine intention to become pro-people, nothing can deter her or him.
Much before the CM Naveen Pattanaik declared the 3-T(Team Work, Transparency and Technology) and recent one more T(Transformation) as an addendum, Mrs.Guha made it possible. The team under her leadership has been active in redressing several issues at grassroots, especially education, health, agriculture, labour, drinking water, housing, sanitation, etc. She is very much tech-savvy and always online in whatsapp and responds to each query even late at night. Rayagada district has a blog and recent opened facebook and twitter accounts. As a token sign of transparency, the statistics of grievance redressal meetings is swiftly shared to scribes using a group SMS. The district portal’s who’s who is updated regularly and tenders and advertisements, results are regularly posted. And lo and behold ! The district has been awarded 1st position in housing. Nine girls belonging to Primarily Vulnerable Tibal Group(PVTG) Dangaria tribe from SSD schools created history for first time by passing matriculation and opting for higher studies. We have seen least migration and gastroenteritis deaths. The deaths due to hunger is zero. Certainly these are bold steps towards transformation.
You need to wait a bit after fixing an appointment; but get a real solace after interacting with her regarding your owes. She believes in allotting particular slot of time for a person so that optimum time can be spent with that person. The grievance redressal mechanisms have been systematized at block and district levels. One has also a space to vent out one’s owes in these meets. Though maintaining a balance in political vendettas for which Rayagada is famous for, the district administration has been very strong in handling those. “We all cherish her mid-night rescue operation in Hirakhand train accident which left forty dead and sixty seriously injured”, said a CRPF Jawan.
Apart from taking up development initiatives in an innovative way and maintaining law and order in the district, Mrs.Guha made the denizens of Rayagada astonished when she sang in a cultural function : “Zindegi Pyar ka geet hai” and other melodious songs and left a footprint for her colleagues to follow and a legacy to be followed by her successors. She is very particular in blessing an orphan girl getting married, helping a tribal boy with disability for his higher education in IIT. She was instrumental in facilitating railway pass for all the functioning scribes and recognized the efforts of the working journalists in the inclusive growth of the district. “As a people’s Collector Mrs Guha has responded to the call of conscience without waiting for instructions, adhered to minimum quality standards in implementing govt welfare measures, socialized with common mass and with local culture and became a model by her own actions”, said Sri Ajay Rath, Convenor of Rayagada Nagarika Manch.