Govt’s people-connect drive extended to blocks

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BHUBANESWAR: The state government has planned to cover all 314 blocks under the Ama Goan Ama Bikash scheme (our villager our development) before the forthcoming general and assembly elections due in April 2019.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has so far approved rural projects worth Rs 21 crore for around 50 gram panchayats under the programme launched on March 5 to mark the Panchayatiraj Divas.

The chief minister talks to people in gram panchayats directly through videoconferencing and sanctions development projects for them instantly on the basis of their suggestions under the programme, which is being conducted twice a week.

“Since we have covered at least one or two gram panchayats in every district under the Ama Goan Ama Bikash, our target is to cover at least one or two gram panchayat in all 314 blocks in the second phase (in June) before next year’s elections,” said a senior panchayati raj department official.

According to a party source, the Naveen Patnaik government plans to take up the programme on priority basis as the one-to-one conversation is believed to be a big people-connect exercise in the run-up to the forthcoming elections.

The state government has allocated a whopping Rs 1,250 crore for the programme in the annual budget for 2018-19 fiscal year.

On Wednesday, the chief minister interacted with people from Maidankela panchayat in Keonjhar district, Alasuguma panchayat in Ganjam and Bhedabahal panchayat in Sundargarh and Berthla panchayat in Balangir district and approved 32 projects worth Rs 1.41 crore.

Remembering Mahatma Gandhi’s call for rural development as the Father of the Nation said India’s soul lies in the village, Naveen said Biju Patnaik had also emphasized on rural development.

The chief minister also expressed his happiness as he could directly reach and interact with the people about their needs. “People’s enthusiasm and effort for development of villages is highly appreciable,” he said.
A video titled – Ama Goan..Ama Bikash@50 – was also presented on the occasion which was attended by senior officials of various departments.
BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma slammed the state government, accusing the chief minister of overriding the authority of gram sabhas by launching the Ama Goan Ama Bikash programme.
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