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Economically backward Balli Panchayat crying for government aid

Balli-Adnem panchayat is one of the nine panchayats in Quepem taluka, which has never been in news — for either good or bad reasons — but certainly the villagers have remained a neglected lot since past many years.House tax is the only source of revenue for this panchayat. Some years back the panchayat had constructed a panchayat building under RDA. A major part of the building was rented out to an educational society managed by a former sarpanch, with a hope that it would bring in good income for the local body. However, after occupying the premises for two decades, the Educational Society paid peanuts to the panchayat. Currently, it owes Rs 4 lakh to the village body.Annoyed with the society, the administration formed after the 2012 panchayat elections, refused to renew the contract with the education society and took back the premises. Since then, it was rented out to another party who has been paying rent regularly, said Sarpanch Alka Potdar.
Since the revenue of the panchayat is limited, the government’s matching grants are also limited.
The only good thing that the panchayat can boast of is, stability in the last five years. After the 2012 elections, Potdar was chosen as sarpanch and Bhamtu Velip as her deputy; they continue to hold their respective offices till today. Balli-Adnem may one of the few panchayats that didn’t witness musical chair.
Major issues facing the panchayat are haphazard parking, illegal constructions, and lack of sanitation facilities for villagers, lack of crematorium, market complex and poor drainage system in the market.These issues were regularly discussed during the gram sabhas, but hitherto they remain unsolved. Since the village has no crematorium, families perform the final rites for the dead on their own properties. For the landless and migrants, performing the last rites of the departed is a huge task.The panchayat’s best efforts to construct a crematorium haven’t paid off so far, owing, primarily, to the non-availability of suitable land.
The panchayat did identify some places for the crematorium, but the same could not be acquired, either because the owners refused to part with the land, or the residents opposed the crematorium in their locality.“I tried by best to construct a crematorium, but did not succeed,” said Sarpanch Alka Potdar. Her efforts to build a market complex met with the same fate.“Everybody wants development, but at others’ cost. I had identified and shortlisted some places for Market Complex, but those land owners used their political pressure and blocked project,” she complained.“Balli is on NH17 and it is home to holy places like Fatorpa. So, we need a market complex; we don’t have proper market for fish and vegetable vendors, as such, these people conduct their business along the road, which is not only dangerous but also unhygienic,” she said.
The panchayat had appointed various committees but they hardly met and discussed any issues entrusted to themAccounts of the panchayt have never been a problem. Regular audits have been conducted. The panchayat conducted gram sabhas regularly, but the response to the same has not been encouraging. Since the sources of revenue are limited, Balli needs government grants for the development of the village. Recently, the panchayat had started construction of community hall for the benefit of the villagers under MPLAD scheme. [H]

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