.........JAGATSINGHPUR:Dalit families of Thailo village under Balikuda block have urged the local administration to organise Palli Sabhas at places, which are accessible to all. They have threatened to hit the streets if the local administration does not pay heed to their demand.
Dalits of the village could not attend the last Palli Sabha for approval of different welfare projects, which was organised by panchayat officials in a temple on April 20 instead of a public place. As Dalits are not allowed to enter the temple, they could not attend the meeting where projects such as village pond, culvert, drainage channels and roads were finalised. Although the Dalit families protested outside the temple, none paid heed.
They alleged that although they had informed the Balikuda BDO about the meeting being held in a temple where they are not allowed, the officer did not take any action.
This was against Section 6(1) of Odisha Gram Panchayat Act, 1964 which states that every person registered by virtue of Representation of People Act, 1950 should attend the Palli Sabha.
Thailo panchayat Executive Officer Sulekha Nayak said the panchayat had passed a resolution to conduct Palli Sabha in the temple and information about the venue was passed on to the entire village. But no objection was received over it. Hence, they decided to go ahead with it.
The Dalit villagers have sought the intervention of the District Collector to cancel proceedings of the previous Palli Sabha and henceforth conduct such meetings at public places where everyone can attend. They threatened to sit on mass dharna if their demand is not met. District Panchayat Officer Pramod Kumar Mallick said there is no provision to cancel proceedings of a Palli Sabha on the basis of caste and untouchability but it can be cancelled if 10 per cent of the village do not attend.