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Kerala village Nadapuram wins union award for empowerment accountability

Nadapuram Panchayat in Kozhikode district is being governed by IUML for few decades now.

By Shafeeq Hudavi, TwoCircles.net,

Kozhikode: Nadapuram often comes to the headlines for bad reasons, political and communal clashes. The riot hit Grama Panchayat in the rural outskirt of the Kozhikode district in Kerala has, however, brought cheers to the entire state by bagging the Panchayat Empowerment Accountability Incentive Scheme award, instituted by the Minstry of Panchayati Raj for the best Grama Panchayat in the country.

The award comes few months after the local self-governing body (LSGD) was conferred with the Swaraj Trophy and cash award of Rs 25 lakh by the State Department for Panchayats in February, 2015.

According to the Panchayat president Sooppy Narikkatteri, who is also the local Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader, the achievement assumes much significant in the present political scenario of the country.

This is the tenth time any award has come to Nadapuram under the rule of IUML. The panchayat has been the best in Kozhikode district for six years. In 2014, it was the second runner-up for the Swaraj Trophy.

Nadapuram Panchayat in Kozhikode district is being governed by IUML for few decades now.

“It seems exciting for a Panchayat, being ruled by the IUML for past few decades, to win a remarkable award from the BJP led NDA Government, which is, allegedly, infamous for anti-minority stances,” Sooppy says.

Nadapuram was selected for the award on the basis of a study, conducted by the Indian Institute of Rural Development, functioning under the Union Panchayat Raj Ministry.

When it comes to the political cauldron the Panchayat might be divided into factions on the basis of the political views. But these differences hardly affect the initiatives, being taken up by the panchayat for the comprehensive development of its wards and people.

Sooppy lays his trust on the theory ‘Koodaymayil ninnu koottaymayilekku’, which literally means ‘from differences to working together’. No doubt, this theory helped the riot-torn panchayat in getting laurels.

“In fact, the basic concept of a panchayat is to work jointly for the development. Our joint efforts made our land a panchayat in a true sense that was conceived by the father of the nation. The deserved beneficiaries are extended help as per their needs, irrespective of their religion, caste or creed,” says vice president P V Jayalakshmi.

Everyone had words of praise for the President of the Panchayat for no compromise or partiality on the issue of development.

“We follow a mechanism, where no discrimination and partiality are allowed. Members of ruling and opposition front are equally treated,” says Muneer Master, who represent Kakkamvalli, 15th ward of the Panchayat .

Nadapuram leaves some emulative instances in women empowerment, providing employment opportunities, welfare and charity schemes and waste management.

Nadapuram Panchayat in Kozhikode district is being governed by IUML for few decades now.

An array of buildings, located in various villages of the panchayat, is telling the tale of how could a LSGD effectively utilized the fund, allocated through the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

The utilization of fund, according to Sooppy, often turns farce by not using for the innovative or developmental initiatives. MGNREGS pays Rs. 700 per day to a beneficiary, but the LSGDs are reluctant to use it right way.

“The women employees, registered under the scheme, are generally given only petty assignments like cleaning roads, which hamper the spirit of the scheme. But, making the right use of the fund and potential of the employees we could erect several buildings including a shopping complex and auditorium in Kallachi,” Sooppy adds.

Besides, hundreds of women entrepreneurs are scripting success stories of empowerment through Kudumbasree Mission, envisioned by the State Government for the comprehensive uplifting of the women in the state.

Sooppy claims, these are unprecedented cases of fund utilization and women empowerment.

In last few years, the panchayat administration has been extending priority to the construction of modern and fully equipped buildings for all government-owned institutions including the panchayat office, Krishi Bhavan, schools, Anganwadis, and hospitals. Most of the roads in the panchayat, both wide and narrow, are effectively repaired when it requires.

The educational sector tops the list of development.

“The school and Anganwadi buildings are modern and fully equipped,” says Anas Edoli from Kakkamvayal, a student, who is now pursuing PhD in History in Sanckaracharya Sanskrit University at Kalady in Kerala.

Indoor Stadium set up by Panchayat

The garbage treatment plant in the panchayat is a model for the whole state, where cities as well as the rural areas are gripped with the garbage dumping issues. The plant converts most of the solid waste into organic manure, which in turn is sold to the farmers at subsidised rates. The plant gives a sigh of relief for the public by keeping streets, roads and house-holds clean and at the same time it lends a helping hand to the farmers folk.

An indoor stadium was recently constructed, first of its kind owned by a grama panchayat in the state. The panchayat kalyana mandapam (wedding hall), where the organizations and individuals can avail spaces to organize functions in moderate rates, is nearing completion in an hasty mode at Kallachi.

“Unlike the rural LSGDs in the state, Nadapuram has gone far ahead in the sports sectors. Youths are getting every opportunity of growth as the administration is giving top priority for the promotion of physical activities,” points out Mohammed Aslam, another Phd student from the Panchayat, who is in studying in the University of Calicut.

An efficient front office system, through which beneficiaries of various schemes are extended technical support to fill forms and redress various issues pertaining various government schemes. Marking the achievements it has attained, the panchayat was recently granted ISO certification.

Top it all, the proposed housing scheme, is all set to start works at Cheralil colony, one of the rural hamlets of the Panchayat. Through this scheme around 25 under privileged families belonging to various communities will be provided with houses. The panchayat as well as the beneficiaries owe much to the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, an IUML undertaken collective of expatriates from the state, for contributing rupees one crore for the scheme.

“We can allocate Rs. two lakh for each house through Indira Avas Yojana scheme. But taking note of the plight of the poor families in the colony, KMCC has lent us a helping hand by offering Rs. one crore through the Baithu Rahma (house of mercy) scheme,” Sooppy says.

The plan for the houses has been drafted and the panchayat authorities expect the work to start soon. Sooppy, who has been serving the panchayat for last fifteen years, is about to complete his third term as president.

Muneer Master further informed that Nadapuram will soon form Pravasi Sanghams in a bid to utilise the financial potential of the expatriates.

“The project is aimed at rehabilitating the underprivileged Gulf returnees,” explains Vijayalakshmi.

Sooppy, who has been serving the panchayat for last fifteen years, is about to complete his third term as president. IUML has 10 members in the Panchayat.

Sooppy along with vice president P V Jayalakshmi and chairmen of Development and Education affairs MP Sooppy and C K Nasar will leave for New Delhi on April 20 to attend the function on April 24, where they will receive the award from President Pranab Mukherjee