Bhubaneswar Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Feb.5, 2003

The ‘annual’ Conference of Collectors, convened after long 32 months, was to hear from the Chief Minister yesterday that the people have lost their faith in administration. Make the welfare measures like the Pani Panchayat, Mission Shakti, and Watershed Mission a success; speed up execution of Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Programmes; take up e-governance; take administration to doorsteps of the people; retrieve their faith on government; they were told.

Expressing ire over delay in implementation of the centrally sponsored schemes in the State, the Chief Minister called upon the Collectors to monitor every ongoing project within the areas under their respective jurisdiction and to faithfully follow the guidelines issued by the Chief Secretary recently. In view of exposure over starvation deaths, the Collectors were advised to be more cautious and to file their reports in time in the matter of draught management and malnutrition.

The Collectors had to hear all the Ministers who competed with each other in criticizing the chief executive offices of every district, but had no free scope to air their respective experience in the matter of execution.

In almost a manner of rushing to a hide out, some of the collectors tried to take the plea that vacancies in most of the base level posts are the main cause of delay in implementation of welfare projects. But this couldn’t convince the State. Later of course, reporting power in respect of character rolls of district level officers of all streams was announced vested in the Revenue Divisional Commissioners, who, armed with this magic stick, the government believe, can cause officers of departments not belonging to the department of revenue to which the collectors belong co-operate with them in monitoring of projects. Lack of manpower in the base level remained covered up under ambiguity.

However, one thing was clear that the ruling leadership is feeling uneasy over decadence of public faith in administration, even as bickering between both the partners in government is refusing to decline.

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