Haryana: Sarpanches vow to continue agitation against Khattar govt over e-tendering
The chief minister said the sarpanches raised 15-16 demands and every single one was discussed at length
A marathon meeting between Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and an outfit representing sarpanches protesting the state's e-tendering policy was held on Thursday late evening.
After the talks, Khattar said consensus was reached on most issues, but president of the Haryana Sarpanches Association Ranbir Singh Samain told reporters late in the night, "So far, there is no consensus on any issue. We have given the government time till Friday 12 noon."
The chief minister said the sarpanches raised 15-16 demands and every single one was discussed at length.
"The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. On many things, consensus was reached. And on a couple of issues, we will have another short meeting on Friday after which a decision will be finalised," he said.
On the sarpanches' demand that the limit under the e-tendering policy to approve development works be increased to Rs 50 lakh, Khattar said, "When deliberations are still going on, it is not appropriate to comment on this."
Samain, however, said, "If a consensus is not reached by tomorrow, our agitation will continue."
The sarpanches have intensified their protest over the past few weeks in support of their various demands.
On Khattar's statement that consensus has been reached on most issues, Samain said, "On the main issues, there has been no consensus".
The meeting, held in two rounds, came amid protests by several sarpanches who are mainly opposed to the provisions of e-tendering in development works.
The Haryana government has maintained that the e-tendering system would bring transparency, ensure quality in development works and ensure their completion in a time-bound manner.
Under the system, village heads can approve development works up to Rs 2 lakh at their levels but e-tendering is mandatory for projects above Rs 2 lakh, and many village heads feel their powers will be curtailed.
Among other demands put forth by the association, the sarpanches said the right to recall law should be implemented first on MLAs and MPs, and then on local bodies.
The group is also demanding that toll taxes be waived for sarpanches. Among other demands, the sarpanches sought the right to write the annual confidential reports of employees of all the departments working in the gram panchayats.
The association further demanded that should there be a deficiency in any development work done in a village, action would be taken against the officers concerned and not the sarpanch.
It should be made mandatory to take certificate of completion from sarpanches for all works done by the government in the gram panchayats and sarpanches should have a role in all the works, it said.
Recently, police had "lathicharged" several village heads who had gathered in Panchkula to protest against the Haryana government's e-tender policy as they tried to break barricades and march towards the chief minister's residence.
Main opposition Congress has been opposing the e-tendering in development works in rural areas.
Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram
Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines