A V Swamy: Man behind panchayatiraj system

Nuapada: The birthday of legendary leader Biju Patnaik, March 5, is observed as the Panchayatiraj day and hundreds of functions are organised all over the state to mark the day. But do you know who was the first non-government or honorary Block Development Officer (BDO) of the state?

Meet noted social activist and pioneer of Bhoodan Movement in the state A V Swamy from Khariar Road in Nuapada district. It was 1956. A V Swamy equipped though with a degree in chemical engineering from Mumbai returned to the state with a different dream. He jumped into the Bhoodan and Gramdan movements launched by great Gandhian Binoba Bhave. A V Swamy had realised well that the villages could develop properly if the panchayats are equipped with real power.

He had a meeting with legendary Biju Patnaik. Biju Patnaik impressed by A V Swamy appointed him as the first non-government or honorary BDO of Boipariguda in undivided Koraput district. That was 1961 and A V Swamy`s honorarium was fixed at just Rs 1 per annum.

A V Swamy served in that capacity for three years. He then had given the 17-point proposal to bring in reforms in the panchayat sysytem. Swamy`s dream was accomplished when all his points were incorporated when the Parliament amended the constitution for the panchayati raj system. A V Swamy in his ripe age remembers his association with Biju Patnaik and dreams of his very own panchayati raj system and its success.