Howrah

SUCCESS STORY: A STITCH IN TIME

Accurate decisions taken by Gram Panchayat to resist natural disasters – Courtesy Khila Gram Panchayat, Udaynarayanpur Block, Howrah

A hamlet on the banks of Damodar – a picturesque village covered by greeneries, a perfect little example of the dream called Rural Bengal. The huge water mass of Damodar flows through the village located in sylvan surroundings. The Khila Gram Panchayat remains like a small temple complex within it. Every year, during the monsoon, the mighty Damodar overflows, flooding both its banks.

The Khila Gram Panchayat is a part of Udaynarayanpur – a remote block of Howrah district. Kaliyachawk – a backward Sansad of the Gram Panchayat, too, is flooded like the other Sansads in the vicinity. Flood waters isolate the Sansad, cutting off all contacts with the outside world, leading to extreme food shortage. But nothing much could be done against the might of Nature. The 1,132 people living in this Sansad desperately needed development of a mud road connecting Narkel Beria Burning Ghats with Kaliyachawk Shibtala to counter the flood situation. They discussed the matter in the Gram Sansad Sabha of No. 15 (Kaliyachawk) Sansad, and after taking unanimous decision, requested the Gram Panchayat to make the mud road all-weather durable. As a result, the members of Khila Gram Panchayat approved the program under Community Planning and implemented the activity under the financial assistance and supervision of the Fourteenth Finance Commission. The 430 feet long and 8 foot 3 inches wide road has been developed into a concrete road (improvement of road by cement concrete from Narkelberia Swasan to Kaliyachak Shibtala at Kaliyachak) at an expenditure of Rs. 3 Lakhs.

The Pradhan of Khila Gram Pancahayat expressed her pleasure in the actualization of the project and said that the Panchayat has taken a step forward by the construction of this road and has improved the transportation facilities for the people of Kaliyachawk Sansad of Udaynarayanpur Block.

Advertisements

Success Story: From Darkness to Light

The Khalore Gram Panchayat (GP) under Bagnan-1 Block of Howrah district, is a densely populated area. The place is also known for the Bagnan railway station, one of the busiest railway stations in the South Eastern Railway Zone. Lakhs of people commute via this busy railway station daily. Although, the day-time situation of this area has been okay, it used to become difficult after dusk. People have been facing extreme difficulty in travelling from one place to another late at night as there was no street-light at the station as well as its adjacent areas. Local people had a long-standing demand for street-light.

Blog_1_Jul-14Localites had strongly demanded for the installation of street-lights during the 2014-15 Gram Sansad Sabha but the plan could not be materialised owing to lack of fund. In 2015-16 Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayats Project (ISGPP) arranged for a special fund that enabled the GP to materialise their planning. Before this, Khalore GP had taken the initiative to install solar street-lights in some areas, but it failed to provide any suitable solution to the problem in hand as these lights were too few in number.

The GP had earlier decided to install LED lights on roads, but owing to certain changes in Government policy, the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency was not installing street-lights in the locality at that time. The GP then decided to appeal to West Bengal State Blog_2_Jul-14Electricity Transmission Company Ltd., seeking their help to install lights on the electric poles. They received the necessary assistance soon after. It was decided that the cost of illuminating these street-lights will be borne out of the GP fund in some cases. In certain other areas, the GP appealed to the Panchayat Samity for financial assistance. Panchayat Samity finally agreed to the appeal after thoroughly evaluating the nature and gravity of the problem. In short, everybody stepped forward for solving the problem in question.

The scheme was drafted in November after doing several rounds in various areas and evaluating the market price of various materials required for the project. Tenders were invited in the month of December and work commenced by mid-January. Although issues pertaining to the delivery of products from WBSETCL posed some logistic challenges that deferred the entire process but in spite of this, installation of 94 nos. of LED street-lights was completed by mid-June. To finish this two-phase work of installation, an amount of Rs. 4,92,642/- and Rs. 5,12,911/- was spent respectively, adding up to a total of Rs. 10,05,563/-, out of a special grant of ISGPP for 2015-16. Additionally, the GP spent an amount of Rs. 35,895/- to increase the load capacity of the transformers as well as to install new meter boxes, which was not considered in the original cost estimation.

Street-lights have been installed extensively at every Gram Sansad under Khalore GP. 30,000 – 40,000 people, residing at Khalore and its adjacent areas, have been benefitted by this initiative. Everyone is pleased with this noble initiative by the local GP. The women, especially, are very happy as they no longer need to worry while stepping out at night. People all around are thanking their GP & ISGPP wholeheartedly.