100% tax collection, biogas plant and more: 2 Kerala panchayats named best local bodies

Announced by the Kerala government, Pappinisseri in Kannur district has been named the best grama panchayat, while Nedumangad in Thiruvananthapuram is the best block panchayat.
100% tax collection, biogas plant and more: 2 Kerala panchayats named best local bodies
100% tax collection, biogas plant and more: 2 Kerala panchayats named best local bodies
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Pappinisseri grama panchayat in Kannur district and Nedumangad block panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram have been recognised as the best local bodies in Kerala.

Announced by the Kerala government, these local bodies receive a cash prize in recognition of their performance in administration, revenue collection, planning, people’s participation and distribution of social security pension. Apart from the cash prize, which serves as financial assistance to the local bodies, these panchayats also get the Swaraj Trophy and citations. Local Self Goverment (LSG) Minister AC Moideen announced the awards on Saturday.

Among other local bodies named for the award, these two panchayats have been recognised for setting a model in executing a plethora of initiatives, including managing daily waste and converting it to energy, involving public and other stakeholders in implementing schemes and offering subsidies to the residents.

Slaughter waste plant to 100% tax collection

Pappinisseri has been selected as the best grama panchayat in the state for the second consecutive year. A slaughter waste rendering plant, solar panel for energy conservation, a biogas plant, well-equipped buds school (open and free school) for children with disabilities, plastic bottle collection units and cloth bag manufacturing units, among others are some of the factors that helped this Kannur grama panchayat win the recognition.

“We have launched many projects under Haritha Kerala Mission, aiming at a clean and green village. We have collected 100% tax and spent 100% funds for a plethora of projects," K Narayanan, Pappinissery Panchayat President, told TNM.

He added that the biogas plants and manure manufacturing units are also unique projects of the panchayat. The manure from the production unit is given to farmers at a low cost. The biogas plant unit helps generate biofuel for the panchayat offices and is also used to run the slaughter waste rendering plant.

“For a long time, slaughter waste had been polluting the panchayat. We then constructed the waste rendering plant at a cost of Rs 3 crore. It was fully sponsored by a group of non-resident Indians from an association called the Bahrain Malayali Koottayama. The panchayat did not spend a single penny for the project. This plant has helped keep this panchayat clean,” he added.

Interestingly, the panchayat uses solar panels to produce electricity and sell it to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

Performance of the Grama Sabha, working groups, standing committees, too, are considered for the award. “We involve non-governmental organisations and the public in implementing schemes in the panchayat. We have been able to implement central and state government schemes and make good use of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) scheme and other government projects,” the president said.

The panchayat also helps people avail pensions and other schemes accurately.

Pappinissery had also secured the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) award from the Central government in 2019.

Clean river to subsidised medical treatment

For Nedumangad block panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram district, cleaning Killiyar, the river that flows through the panchayat, was one of the main challenges staring at the local body.

“It was filled with filth, weed and all other waste for the last several years. Since we got immense support from the government, we were able to achieve it,” Biju, Nedumangad Panchayat president told TNM.

Killiyar cleaning began in 2018, as a prestigious project announced by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. Finance Minister Thomas Isaac announced the project as a model for others in his budget presentation for 2019-20 and 2020-21. The first phase of cleaning was in 2018 while the second phase began in February 2020. After the first phase, which extended for a few months, the Killiyar remained clean for two years, and by the second phase, the panchayat was able to revive the river completely.

Biju added that their plastic shredding units and medical schemes providing subsidised treatment for children, adolescent and aged patients also fetched them the recognition.

The palliative care activities by the panchayat were also applauded. "We have also launched an indoor stadium for the children from Scheduled Caste communities. Jobs were given to many within the panchayat. We also have introduced projects to protect traditional art forms and crafts like basket weaving that are unique to our villages," the panchayat president added.

Interestingly, Thiruvananthapuram has also bagged the best district panchayat award.

Apart from the Swaraj Award, Nedumangad had earlier secured the 2019 Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar, an award to honour best performing panchayats in the country.

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