‘Panchayats should concentrate on tackling natural calamities’

Union Panchayat Raj Secretary Sunil Kumar on Thursday said gram panchayats, particularly in coastal states, should concentrate on effectively facing natural calamities during monsoon and resultant diseases.

He was virtually addressing a regional workshop organised for panchayat representatives with the theme of economic and social development through public participation in coastal and Union territory regions organised by National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Hyderabad and Abdul Nazeer Sab State Institute of Rural Development here.

Mr. Kumar said coastal states and panchayats should ensure priority development of the coastal regions thereby solving community issues. Asking panchayats to undertake natural calamity mitigation and management measures on war-foot, the Secretary congratulated them for playing a major role in COVID-19 management and vaccination drive. These kinds of activities should be given institutional framework, he suggested. In his message, Karnataka RDPR Minister K.S. Eshwarappa said there was need for a detailed discussion on issues being faced by coastal states. At the end of the workshop, panchayats should be able to frame effective plans to address the issues, he said.

Addressing the inauguration virtually, State RDPR Principal Secretary Uma Mahadevan said the Karnataka Government has undertaken several measures to strengthen panchayatraj institutions. She said the Panchayat Raj Act provides for community participation in developmental works.

Ms. Mahadevan said the two-day workshop should focus on addressing soil erosion and livelihood issues being faced in the coastal region. COVID-19 outbreak could be contained because of community participation, she noted.

RDPR Commissioner Shilpa Nag said the hybrid mode of training for empowerment of panchayat members to strengthen panchayatraj institutions has been of much help.

Representatives from three-tier panchayatraj system from different coastal states, officers from central and state governments, policy makers, subject experts and others are attending the two-day conference.

Union Panchayat Raj Joint Secretary Rekha Yadav, Nazeer Sab Institution Director K. Lakshmi Priya, Karnataka Panchayatraj Director Ekanthappa, Dakshina Kannada ZP CEO Kumara and others spoke.

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