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Funding for sanitation campaign held up for error in data

Jaideep Shenoy

Union Ministry puts number of BPL families at 16,052, ZP at 59,000


Authorities have sent revised list to the Ministry

About 55,000 families are to be paid Rs. 1,200 each


MANGALORE: A difference in the number of beneficiaries quoted by two agencies involved in the implementation of total sanitation campaign in Dakshina District is threatening to derail the programme.

The district has earned a distinction for effective implementation of the scheme and a team of the UNICEF visited a few villages recently. It was impressed with the cleanliness in the villages and the steps taken against the menace of plastics.

The campaign is launched by the Union Ministry for Rural Development.

The Ministry pays Rs. 1,200 to below poverty line families for toilet construction through its Department of Drinking Water Supply. Toilets are also constructed at government schools and anganwadi centres. The money is disbursed through the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat.

As per the Ministry records posted on its website, www.ddws.nic.in, the number of BPL families in the district is 16,052, whereas the estimate of the zilla panchayat puts it at 59,000.

However, authorities term it as a technical error and state that efforts were on at the highest level to rectify this error so as to clear the way for the release of incentive money to beneficiaries.

The zilla panchayat has constructed more than 3,600 toilets for beneficiaries under the “total sector reforms programme” undertaken in the year 2000.

Sources in Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat told The Hindu on Saturday that the department should provide incentive amount based on the statistics provided by it (ZP). Observing that the number of beneficiaries posted on the website in 2004 was erroneous, the sources said that the zilla panchayat had urged the Ministry to take into account the revised number of BPL families.

“We have submitted a list of BPL families, gram panchayat-wise and village-wise to the department,” the sources said. The Ministry has approved a figure of 43,890 BPL families in three taluks of Udupi district, while it has pegged this number at 16,052 for five taluks in Dakshina Kannada. The Ministry blames the panchayat for this erroneous data.

Meanwhile, the panchayat has sent the revised list of BPL families for reconciliation to the Ministry, pointing out that a high-power committee chaired by the Union Minister for Rural Development, was empowered to approve the revised list, the sources said.

If approved, the panchayat will receive the incentive amount for more than 55,000 BPL families at Rs. 1,200 each. Stating that this incentive amount would be around Rs. 6 crore, the sources said: “At present, the people’s participation in implementing the campaign is very encouraging throughout the district.” The department should consider the issues holistically and not deny the funds to us based on a technicality, the sources said.

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