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Report on development boards gathering dust

Firoz Rozindar


A recommendation has been made to either strengthen the boards or abolish them


Chitradurga: It has been over two years since the Centre for Multi-Disciplinary Development Research (CMDR), an evaluating agency, sent its recommendations to the Government on strengthening the three area development boards, but the Government appears to be in no mood to consider them.

The CDMR in its report to the Planning Department, recommended the Government to either wind up or strengthen the three boards — the Hyderabad Karnataka Development Board (HKDB), the Malnad Development Board (MDB) and the Bayalaseeme Development Board (BDB).

These boards were constituted over a decade ago with the objective of giving a fillip to the backward regions of the State.

The HKDB was constituted in 1990, MDB in 1991 and BDB in 1995.

But, owing to reasons, including lack of political will and dearth of funds, the boards have turned out be a “white elephant” for the Government.

Considering these aspects, a high-powered committee, headed by noted economist D.M. Nanjundappa, in its report submitted in 2000 recommended the Government to abolish the boards.

He noted that as the boards undertook similar works which were carried out by various other government departments, the possibility of duplication of work increased.

Following the recommendations, former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna during his tenure decided to wind up the boards, but due to reported pressure from leaders of the Hyderabad Karnataka region, the Government dropped the proposal.

For 2007-08, the Government earmarked Rs. 52.60 crore to HKDB, and of that only Rs. 44.37 crore was released; Rs. 34.50 crore was earmarked for MDB, but only Rs. 28.25 crore released; Rs. 21 crore was earmarked for BDB, but only Rs. 16.69 crore was released.

In successive years, the fund allocation kept declining and so was the release.

An official here said that each board comprised several members, who are mainly MLAs and MPs of that region.

Most of the members remain absent for the quarterly meetings which makes it difficult for the officials to prepare action plans,” the official said.

He said that as per the guidelines, the funds granted should be equally divided among all members for the development of their constituencies.

“But after division, each MLA gets a little over Rs. 3 lakh. What can one do with that meagre amount,” asks BDB chairman Rajashekhar Sindhur.

Though he claimed that he had spoken to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on the issue, there had been no action, he said.

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