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Former sarpanches wait for 13-month salary still continues

Former sarpanches wait for 13-month salary still continues
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Even eight months after they relinquished their offices on end of their terms, former sarpanches still wait for release of funds towards salaries

Hyderabad: Former sarpanches of Gram Panchayats are yet to get their honorariums even eight months after they relinquished their offices on the end of their term. The former sarpanches have to be a paid honorarium for more than 13 months. Along with the former sarpanches the present ones are also not being paid salaries for the past eight months.

According to sources, the honorariums of about 8,000 former sarpanches were not paid due to lack of funds with the Panchayat Raj Department. Though the department has been allocated funds by the government, they were not released.

The term of the former sarpanches, who were elected in 2013, has ended in December last year. Election to the offices of the sarpanches was held in January this year. The government has raised the number of Gram Panchayats and took it to 12,850.

Even the new sarpanches have not received their honorariums since their election. Recently the government released part of the funds to them and about four months of honorariums have been paid to the new sarpanches.

The total amount required to pay the honorarium to the sarpanches per month is about Rs 6.2 crore. Though this is a meagre amount, the government did not pay them every month and the dues of the honorarium reached Rs 48 crore.

Several former sarpanches said that the government was not paying the honorariums every month. They said that those who hail from backward castes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes have been facing difficulties with the delay in paying the honorariums.

They said that though the honorarium was not a big amount on which a family of the sarpanch can depend, regular payment would have instilled confidence in them to serve the people.

The new sarpanches said that the government has put lot of responsibilities on them. But when it comes to pay the honorariums, it has been now showing the same sincerity.

On the other hand, leaders of the political parties have been criticising the government for not releasing the funds to the Panchayat Raj department on time. They said that this shows government's apathy towards the Panchayat Raj institutions.

While the government states that it would strengthen the PR system with powers, funds and responsibilities, the same spirit was not shown in releasing the funds. On the other hand, the sarpanches have been threatened with removal from the offices for failures in discharging their responsibilities.

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