Wait for a paradigm shift

Davangere Taluk

Drastic differences in the way of governance in two villages of the same taluk, highlights a lot of troubles in today’s scenario

The state government rolls out funds under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) for the upliftment of the SC’s in the state. These funds are allocated to every taluk which is later channelized into the villages that are a part of the taluk. These funds include hostel facilities, scholarships, agriculture, healthcare and education primarily taking into consideration the status of the SC’s in the village.

 Areas of Expenditure.

However, governance and degree of utilization of funds can bring drastic differences. Kammarghatte, a village in Honnali ignores a group of twenty five scheduled caste families and deprives them of basic necessities in life. Not a single part of funds from these schemes reach these twenty five families.  SC’s are entitled to get land and a house under this scheme, the panchayath has not batted an eye in this regard. The panchayath authorities do not consider them for an job opening too, even as a helper or a porter. Their voices are never heard, every time they visit the panchayath office with a grievance, they are redirected to a higher authority and then their superior, ultimately they are asked to speak to the first line of contact in the Gram Panchayaths.

In addition to these problems, the degree of discrimination and untouchability is shameful. These families are not allowed to sit in the common dining areas of temples. They live in isolation, away from all the other villagers and hardly any contact with the villagers. No concrete house, no access to public washrooms. Men of the houses manage to find a spot elsewhere, women are not allowed to access public toilets and are pelted with stones if they find a spot elsewhere. Asha workers usually pick children of the general class and other classes up from home to encourage them to go to school. In their case, no asha workers come to pick children up. When the children poop in their pants, the asha workers clean them up and send them back to classes. Children of these SC families are sent back home when they do anything of this sort.

Speaking of better governance, Arundi another village ten kilometres away from Kammarghatte is doing exceptionally well. The SC’s are not discriminated against, they are included in celebrations of the village. The education facility for SC children has been implemented well. They are given B and C grade jobs in the panchayath. The SC’s are considered while executing new schemes formulated by the Government. Above all this, barring the benefits from various schemes untouchability and discrimination is not practiced in this village. The people have done away with old practices that their forefathers practiced.

The Additional Chief secretary of the Department of Social Welfare, Govt. of Karnataka concluded by saying that this is a mere problem of the level of commitment taluk level officers show. He said the govt sanctions funds for the betterment of SC’s. The amount should be utilized in the best way possible. A deficit of 35 percent between the amount sanctioned and the amount utilized is a bad indicator and the grass root level officers should show commitment to better the conditions. The people should be involved because the schemes are for them and in case the officer in charge does not carry his duty, the people can step in and control. The officer has assured he will look into the matters and set right the current condition.

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