Participatory Democracy - Contd
by Paromita Goswami
(Chandrapur, Maharastra, India)
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Next afternoon Devidas, Bagde Patil and Bade Babu sat sipping lukewarm tea in the latter’s office.
“I think you are right,” Bade Babu said in an amicable tone, “the drains need repair and the road needs to be paved. It will give a nice modern look to the village.”
“Yes, but first the money has to come...”
“Don’t worry. I will take the matter to the SDO Saheb and he will present the matter to the higher ups. I give you my word… By the way the feast was wonderful last night!” The men laughed.
“The villagers were saying that since you are doing so much for the village, we too should do something for you...” These were the very words that Bade Babu was waiting to hear.
“Arey, nahi nahi …you people are like my brothers…” he replied in an overtly false tone.
After Devidas and Bagde Patil left, Bade Babu called up Anil Channewar, the Sarpanch of another village with a sand ghat - Yergaon.
“Channewar ji! Do you know the government owes your Gram Panchayat Rs.27 lakhs from last year’s sand mining lease?”
Bade Babu was in a hurry. After Channewar there were twenty other numbers to call. Last night after coming back from the dinner at Jhilgaon, he had calculated the total outstanding dues to all the Gram Panchayats in the taluka. His eyes widened as the amount ran into several crores. Was there a way to bring all these villages together? That would certainly catch the attention of the media and the social media. A joint demand by the netas of the area would undoubtedly expedite the processes of financial decentralisation. Before going to bed he meticulously calculated the share of every potential stakeholder, including his own. Next morning Bade Babu bounced into SDO Saheb’s cabin, brimming with energy and a newfound commitment towards the cause of participatory democracy. *****