The 3-day National Convention of Chairpersons of District and Intermediate Panchayats was inaugurated by Hon’ble. Mani Shankar Aiyar Union Minister of Panchayati Raj at 10.00 A.M. today. Shri Tako Dabi Panchayat Minister, Arunachal Pradesh and Secretary, Panchayati Raj also spoke on the occasion. Shri Rathore, President Zilla Parishad, Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh delivered the keynote address and elaborated on the issues relating to the Panchayati Raj 15 years after the 73rd Amendment came into force. Shri Hari Prasad Sao, Panchayati Raj Minister, Bihar joined the Convention a little later. Several other State Ministers are expected to participate.
Around 8000 delegates from 26 States & 5 UTs are participating in this National Convention. This includes around 1500 women. The delegates are mainly the Chairpersons of District and Intermediate Panchayats. However there is a sprinkling of elected representatives of all the three tiers. The officials and other invitees number around 2000.
Elaborate arrangements have been made for the Convention. The participants are being housed in large hangars-36 in all, each of which has 288 beds. Hence, there are arrangements for 10000 persons to stay in the camp. There are separate facilities for men and women. The catering service in two separate halls provides North Indian and Andhra cuisine.
Reception Counters have been operated at the Airport and Railway Stations since 20th April and a shuttle bus service has been provided to the Burari Camp. At the camp the counters are manned by volunteers from Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, NSS, Bharat Scouts and Guides etc. There is a 24 hour control room and a 60 bedded hospital at the camp site. Departments of Delhi Administration, Delhi Police, Delhi Fire Services, MCD, Delhi Jal Board, NDPL etc. are providing their support services at the site.
At the Convention there are wireless translation facilities in 10 languages. The translation service is being provided by experts from JNU. Also, giant screens have been put up in the hall so that even if a person is far away from the stage the proceedings are clearly visible.
Today each state delegation has authorized two speakers to speak for five minutes each to give their comments on draft 15th Anniversary Charter. The delegates who have spoken have highlighted the situation and issues relating to Panchayati Raj in their states. They have also suggested steps that need to be taken to strengthen Panchayati Raj in their states.