No proposal before govt to dilute Panchayats: Minister

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Bangalore, Oct 24 (UNI) Karnataka Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Shobha Karandlaje today strongly denied the government was looking to dilute the powers of the Panchayats in the State.

Talking to newspersons after addressing the Chief Executive Officers (CEO)'s of the Departments of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development, the Minister said the State Government did not have the powers to take away the powers of the Panchayats.

Strongly refuting the charges of the Opposition parties on the issue, Ms Karandlaje said the Congress and the JD(S) were indulging in false prapoganda against the BJP Government in the State.

''On the contrary, the government is actually in favour of strengthening the Panchayat Raj System,'' she said.

Ms Karandlaje also said she had instructed the officials to give priority to complete all the on-going drinking water and rural road works for which tenders had been issued.

''We have also directed the officials to take all steps to construct as many as two lakh houses under the 'Ashraya Schemes', meant for the weaker sections of the society by the end of this year,'' she said.

The Minister, however, refused to answer queries on the reported move by the State Social Welfare Ministry to take back administration of the Morarji Desai Residential Schools from the Zilla Panchayats.

''At this juncture, I prefer not to answer this as by-elections are being held from the local bodies' constituencies to three Council seats,'' she said.

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