Hyderabad: At a time when the developed world is trying to find ways to contain the dreaded Covid-19, rural Telangana which underwent two rounds of Palle Pragathi programme in the recent past has been comparatively safe from the pandemic. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has repeatedly spoken about the impact of the programme on the level of sanitation and hygiene in the villages making them corona-proof.
“Much ahead of the outbreak of the pandemic, Telangana’s villages underwent a transformation. The Chief Minister’s vision of clean villages helped clear the garbage, led to creation of dump yards and vehicles were issued to carry the garbage outside the villages. Stagnant water and overflowing drainages have been cleared,” Minister for Rural Development Errabelli Dayakar Rao told Telangana Today.
The Minister, pointing out that the process was on, said Pattana Pragathi, the urban version of Palle Pragathi, would also yield similar results in urban areas.
An overall look at the day to day data on coronavirus cases in the State clearly indicate that cities such as Hyderabad, Karimnagar and Warangal that had considerable footfall from other countries and States have more Covid-19 cases compared to rural areas.
Predominantly rural districts such as Mahbubabad, Siddipet, Bhupalpally, Peddapalli, Khammam, Jangaon, Nagarkurnool and Jagtial have been relatively safer. Rural areas also showed increased awareness about the pandemic by shutting down entry points of the villages blocking entry for outsiders.
The Palle Pragathi programme was launched by the Telangana government with the twin objective of enhancing the quality of life in rural areas and improving the governance of gram panchayats. It is a continuous programme to improve the village sanitation, infrastructure, green cover and governance. Till now, two campaign rounds of Palle Pragathi has been taken up. The first round was from September 6, 2019 to October 5, 2019 and the second from January 2 to 12 ,2020.
In the first round of campaign, various activities like cleaning of roads and drains, identification of low-lying areas and filling them up with gravel, bailing out of water from low-lying areas, identification of old and dilapidated houses and offices and demolition and cleaning of debris, filling up of old and unused open wells were taken up.
“In the second round, the broad objective was to institutionalise and intensify the activities of the first round. To support all these, apart from the income generated by gram panchayats, government has been releasing Rs 339 crore per month to the gram panchayats. So far, Rs 2373 crore has been released by the government from September 2019,” said Sandeep Kumar Sultania, Principal Secretary, Panchayat Raj and Rural Development, recently.
As part of the Palle Pragathi programme, each and every gram panchayat has been sanctioned a dump yard cum segregation shed at a cost of Rs 2.30 lakh, Vaikunta Dhamam at a cost of Rs 12.50 lakh each, and a nursery. To collect and transport solid waste, a tractor and a trolley has been sanctioned in each GP. A tanker has also been sanctioned in each panchayat to water the saplings planted. Each and every household has been sanctioned a soak pit for collection of waste water.
In all, Rs 799 crore worth CC roads have been sanctioned to 10,758 gram panchayats. Damaged, bent and rusted electric poles were rectified as part of Power Week. Loose wires were tightened and third wire was installed. A new Panchayati Raj Act was enacted with a view to bring in greater responsibility, transparency and accountability on the part of Panchayati Raj functionaries for effective delivery of services through gram panchayats. As many as 9,355 gram panchayat secretaries were recruited to ensure proper functionaries in each panchayat.
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