BHOPAL: Inspired by design of Central Vista (New Parliament complex under construction in New Delhi) gram sabha of village Hirankheda in Seoni Malwa block of Hoshangabad district proposed to construct its building on the same design but the officials of the panchayat department are against it.
With the intent of providing more work during the pandemic at the village level, the department had ordered the construction of panchayat offices. The department had shared a standard architectural plan, which the panchayat said doesn't meet their needs.
Hirankheda is the biggest village in the area with a population of 3,800. Sarpanch Mahesh Parihar said, ‘To pass any resolution at the gram sabha, a minimum quorum of 10% is required. Therefore panchayat office should have the capacity to accommodate at least 380 people in the meeting hall.’ The government-sanction design is too small to accommodate that many people. Moreover, given the pandemic, there should be enough space to maintain social distancing norms during the meetings, Parihar added.
Hirankheda panchayat was awarded by the state government for electing the entire panchayat unopposed. The young panchayat, whose members are mostly in their early to mid-30s, is raring to change the face of the village, said Panch Ashutosh Litoria (28).
Part of this effort is a modern and eye-catching panchayat bhawan with facilities that can cater to all the needs of the residents. Apart from being used to hold gram sabha meetings, they would also like the new building to serve as a community space that can host official and social events.
Eng Abhishek Rajput who created the design of panchayat bhawan inspired by Central Vista said he was wanted to design a building that would instill a feeling of pride among the villagers. ‘The official design has only one floor but I planned a mezzanine in order to increase the capacity of the building. So instead of 60 people, this building can accommodate 150.’
Though the Hirankhedi panchayat submitted this design to the Janpad Panchayat office four months ago and have since then been pursuing them to grant permission to go ahead, they haven’t received any word of approval.
On the contrary, some Janpad Panchayat officials had arrived in Hirankheda in the first week of July to demarcate the land in accordance with the original design. But they were prevented from doing so by the panchayat.
The incident has left the villagers incensed that the higher-ups simply chose to ignore the resolution passed by the gram sabha a few days earlier and imposed their own plans. Durgesh Kumar Bhumarkar, CEO Janpad Panchayat, Seoni Malwa, said, “We have a design that is approved by the Zila Panchayat office and other higher authorities. The design submitted by Hirankheda gram sabha has been sent to the Zila Panchayat office.”
Gram Sabha people doing netagiri, says Panchayat Officer
CEO of the Hoshangabad Zila Panchayat, Manoj Sariyam, said that the people of Hirankheda were indulging in ‘netagiri’ (political tactics). ‘If government funds are being used to construct the panchayat bhawan then it will be built as per the design given by the government and not that of the gram sabha,’ he said. ‘Let them build their panchayat bhawan with their own money if they want to go by their own design.’
‘Will move the court if gram sabha resolution not approved’
But the village is determined to not allow the bureaucracy to force its design on the gram sabha. Resident of Hirankheda, Rakesh Malviya defends it as the fundamental right given to the village panchayat. ‘The Gram Sabha is the basic unit of democracy. Any decision taken by the village panchayat is binding on all higher officials. In this case, the village panchayat has taken the decision unanimously. It is beyond comprehension as to why higher officials want to impose their plans on us. This is unconstitutional,’ he added. He resented the Zila Panchayat CEO’s comment about ‘government money’. ‘It is our money. We will move to the court if they do not okay the resolution passed by our gram sabha,’ Malviya added.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)