Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Bhubaneswar, Dec 20:
Expressing concern over the tardy utilization of its share of the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) and delay in submission of UC (Utilisation Certificate), Odisha Panchayati Raj Minister Dr Arun Kumar Sahu today urged the concerned officials to submit the annual plan prepared by the District Planning Committees to the state government by next February so that the final report can be submitted to the Centre by 2015 April end. He was speaking at a workshop organised to discuss way for better utilisation of the BRGF funds.
Noting that Odisha fails to avail the Rs 400 crore earmarked for the state under the BRGF, the minister said the major reason behind the unutilised funds was its inability to submit annual plan and utilization certificate in time.
During the day-long workshop, Planning and Coordination Minister Usha Devi stressed the objectives and role of district officials in proper implementation of the scheme.
“There needs to be a concerted effort on the part of the officials and other stakeholders for the success of the projects,” Panchayatiraj Secretary DK Singh said.
The DRDA project directors have been given the additional responsibility of District Urban Development Agencies, Commissioner-cum-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Department G Mathivathanan informed.
As per official data, Centre had sanctioned Rs 283.63 crore for FY 2013-14 and Rs 144.91 crore for the current fiscal.
The BRGF scheme is implemented in 250 districts across the country and 20 in the state. The 20 districts covered under BRGF are Balangir, Bargarh, Boudh, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Sonepur and Sundargarh.
Besides, 3921 gram panchayats (GPs), 217 panchayat samitis (PSs), one municipal corporation, 22 municipalities and 50 NACs are covered under this scheme.
Project directors of DRDAs and executive officers of these 20 districts and special project directors also attended the state-level workshop.
BRGF aims to redress the regional imbalances in development, bridge critical gaps in local infrastructure and other developmental requirements. It also envisages to strengthen panchayat and municipality level governance with more appropriate capacity building, provide professional support to local bodies for planning and improve the performance of panchayats.