Mrunal Manmay Dash

In a setback to the Odisha government, the Orissa High Court on Wednesday directed the inclusion of local public representatives in the shortlisting and finalisation of projects under the Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha programme.

However, the court refused to intervene in the implementation of the projects.

The ruling came while hearing a petition which alleged that the Odisha government is ignoring local public representatives in the Nabin Odisha programme.

Speaking about the case, the Counsel of the petitioner Pitambar Acharya said, “We had raised the issue of government employees selecting and shortlisting projects to be developed under Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha programme ignoring the public representatives like Sarpanchs. The act by the government was defeating the primary objective of the Gram Panchayat law and the Constitution of India.”

court today clarified that it is absolutely necessary to include elected public representatives like Sarpanchs in the Nabin Odisha programme and select the projects with their cooperation, because the developmental projects are meant for Gram panchayats and villages,” Acharya added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the three-tier Panchayati Raj law was introduced to develop the grass roots of the Nation so that the Country can be developed as a whole. Under the law, the Sarpanch was vested with some powers which they can exercise towards the development of the respective panchayats.

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However, following the introduction of the Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha programme in July 2023, it has been alleged by the Opposition that local public representatives are being ignored by the District officials including the Collector and BDO to select the projects to take up under it.

Under this, every panchayat has received a sum of Rs 50 lakh to carry out several development works. And of this, Rs 10 lakh is to be set aside for the propagation of the Jagannath culture.

As per the guidelines, the developmental works to be executed under ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ are being done by any department engaged by the government or any agency engaged by the BDO or the District Collector.

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