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State-level WPR conference begins

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OST Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Jan 5:

The two-day second State-level Conference of Women Panchayat Representatives (WPR) began here today.WPR 1

This has been organised by SWARA, the state women panchayat representatives’ association fighting for women’s issues at the panchayat level, in association with National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO), Odisha branch.

Important issues relating to women at the panchayat level will be taken up for discussion in the conference.

As many as 150 panchayat representatives from 30 district of the state who attended today’s proceedings, discussed a number of problems that they were facing in their respective panchayats.

Many representatives from the backward districts of Gajapati, Kandhamal, Koraput, Deogarh, Rayagada and Malkangiri put forth their grievances before the women activists present on the dais. They alleged that though the state government is announcing various schemes for the people of KBK districts, the benefits are not reaching them.WPR

Badal Naik, a woman representative from Muniguda informed that the district-level  officers are sqindling the money meant for different developmental works like Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY), NREGS, rural road and housing, water and sanitation, social welfare and pension schemes.

They appealed to the activists to look into the matter urgently because it affected people’s livelihood.

State Social Welfare Board (SSWB), President Nibedita Nayak said that as the government has raised reservations for women across all tiers of the panchayati raj system from 30 to 50 per cent, more women should come forward to take part panchayat level rule and help resolve their village issues.

Stressing on the pro-active role the Self Help Groups can play in every panchayat, Nayak said women should either form groups or join existing ones to fight for their genuine demands.

NAWO state coordinator Pramila Mallick said it is very difficult for a woman to move about in the remote parts of the villages and panchayat. She advised the representatives to inform women’s organisations working in their respective panchayat immediately the if they face any problem or challenge.

The representatives also demanded separate meeting houses and bathrooms for women in the panchayat offices.