Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Chakmoh panchayat should tag ‘smart panchayat’- demands Dr P.C.Sharma

YS RANA | May 15, 2021 11:05 AM

PARKASHPUR (H.P)—Smart gram panchayats could be more helpful in containing Corona pandemic as the invisible enemy in the form of virus has now made impingement in the villages and rural areas as these have easy access to each village, perceivesDr PC Sharma, eminent descendant of Baba Balak Nath Cave Shrine. He further pronounced that presently panchayats have been working as implementing agencies of government programmes and marshalling ballots for politicians and thus village could not become Republic and it defeats our fight against COVID.
Panchayat of ancient village Chakmoh in district Hamirpur although has gained great popularity due to the presence of globally acclaimed 9th century old Baba Balak Nath Deity and famous early man inhabitation in the area dating back to about 2.5 million years ago having worldwide footfall but miserably the civic and other developmental issues are still plaguing the prestigious village panchayat of Chakmoh for want of legislative and bureaucratic commitment and conviction.
As the Sidhpeeth in the area inter-alia attracts lakhs of devotees and tourists, the Chairman of JKJJ Society Dr PC Sharma has appealed to include the Chakmoh panchayat into the smart tag during the current National Panchayati Raj Month of May 2021. An Environmentalist of repute Dr Sharma has also conceptualized rainwater harvesting and waste disposal mechanism in the area in view of prevailing climatic conditions. The newly elected enthusiastic Chakmoh Panchayat, its residents and huge adherents of the famous cave temple have highly commended the idea and initiative of making of smart panchayat. The proposal is also being mooted out for adoption of Chakmoh village by the local magnetic Member of Parliament and Union MinisterMr. Anurag Thakur under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana of Ministry of Rural Development in view of socio-cultural development and upliftment as the area has remained neglected since longdue to lack of democratic stewardship and statesmanshipasserted Dr Sharma, a living legend from Sidhpeeth’s noble lineage.
Most of the panchayats in Himachal Pradesh present a poor picture of sanitation, broken roads and pathways, dark streets, lack of health services, unsafe drinking water, lack of community needs including poor condition of infrastructure as pathways dimly lit after dark making it perilous and vulnerable. In such scenario whole onus lie on the shoulders of state government.
Panchayats in the state have been enduring various problems during all these years such as infrastructure related problems—villages are more remote worse off with no proper roads, no access to clean water, irrigation canals either damaged or not functional and no proper bus stops for commuters to wait for buses. How could such panchayats be able to fight pandemic of their own deplored Dr Sharma. On the other hand, the health department in the panchayat didn’t have staffs and a proper building to conduct health care activities. Prevalent open defecation and poor waste management expostulation are still of common sight in every panchayat in the state rued the villagers.
Top-down planning, delayed decision on fund disbursement and red tapeism prevailing in the corridor of bureaucracy need to be changed. Instead, bottom-up participatory planning is required. Though the Government of India has envisioned many programmes for Smart Panchayat, Model and Heritage Village under various central and state funded schemes yet the results to be seen on the ground.
A legendary, Dr Sharma believes that instead of smart city, smart panchayats should be established so that country could take combat against pandemic with momentum and better management through efficient delivery of health services, best connectivity with villagers, easy access to the patients in their jurisdiction.
Smart gram panchayat can work a repository of information of activities, mandatory panchayat’s monthly performance and progress report online along with the annual allocated budget and expenses, digital lab with broadband connectivity for having access of internet by the students and teachers in the village schools, geotagging of services, education monitoring system, midday meal management, connecting of local health center with a district-level doctor on a weekly or biweekly basis through video conference to improve health in villages, digital facilities to anganwadi workers.
Wi-Fi hot spots to the remote areas villagers on a chargeable basis for more accountability in governance and in business, creation of an ecosystem of panchayat-level data centers with direct connectivity toa block-level database and then at the district level, mapping of public institutions and offices, local businesses and organizations, connecting schools, colleges, sub-health centers, hospitals, anganwadis, panchayats, markets, micro-enterprises, NGOs, self-help groups, libraries andother public spaces to the panchayat level intranet-cum-database etc. are some of the parameters for granting the smart tag to the gram panchayat, enumerated a great visionary Dr Sharma
With panchayats emerging as front warriors in the collective fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister’s applauding the sarpanches for their critical roles in ensuring social distancing and providing vital information related to COVID-19 on daily basis.Therefore, with having primary and secondary healthcare under their purview, all panchayats can be on the forefront of coordinating government in tracing, organising health checkup camps, sanitization, masking and social distancing messages among othersdiscerned Dr PC Sharma.
COVID 19 has set up the critical importance of panchayats in moblising resources, managing many tasks with responsibilities that no other institution can replace. This transformation of panchayats requires political statesmanship from the state and the centre. Once this is achieved, it strengthens the local community members to become smart individuals who, in turn, will help create a smart village or a smart panchayatanticipated Dr Sharma, a distinguished social meliorist.

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