Jameela Bibi: Showing the way forward in village development

Report by: 
ZEENATH BIBI
Port Blair
11 Nov 2018

Rural Indian women haven’t always had much by way of social agency or power to formulate strategic choices, control resources and take decisions that affect important life outcomes. But things are changing fast. In the recent years, several women have successfully overcome deep-seated cultural resistance to catalyse change as the head of village councils or Gram Panchayats across the country. The stories of these dedicated women reveal the potential of good grassroots leadership in making a difference in rural areas. Development experts too have widely recognized women’s contribution to village leadership as critical to economic progress, healthy civil society, and good governance in India. Jameela Bibi is one among them!
Since her election to the post of Pradhan of Gram Panchayat, Kanyapuram in South Andaman in March 15 this year consequent to the demise of Zareena Bibi (former Pradhan), Jameela Bibi not only tries to focus on the problems of villagers under her Panchayat but also made sure that these problems reached the authorities and got solved.
“It is a challenging job, but I am determined to ensure development reaches every villages under Kanyapuram Gram Panchayat. It is my priority to ensure optimal utilization of funds allocated to the Panchayat. Improvement of rural road network, cleanliness and sanitation, water supply pipeline network to every households besides development of other rural infrastructure is key areas I am currently working on. The Panchayat receives funds under different heads like Non Plan Rural Road Fund, General Fund etc. An amount of Rs 5 lakh has also been allocated for repair and maintenance of GI. Besides, the Panchayat is rigorously working on effective Solid and Liquid Waste Management system,” says Jameela Bibi.
In my stint as the Panchayat Pradhan so far, I managed to get land allotted for the much needed Gram Panchayat Bhawan. Land measuring 8000 sq.mtrs has already been allotted at Kanyapuram-I and the project has been included in the village development plan of 2019-20. A letter has also been submitted to the Director of PRIs to expedite allocation of funds for the purpose after which the project will kick off, she informed.
Construction of rural road from Kanyapuram to Markaz School, executed by the Zilla Parishad, will be further extended by the Panchayat once NOC is obtained from the concerned authority in the administration. Revamp of water supply pipelines in Kanyapuram will also be taken up soon. Long pending demand for construction of rural road in Ward no 4, Kanyapuram, Wimberlygunj was also taken up with the Rural Department and Deputy Commissioner of South Andaman. “We’re awaiting issuance of NOC after which the work will be taken up. Extension of a CC Road at Nayapuram, Kanyapuram –II is also in the pipeline. A letter has also been submitted to the Lt. Governor recently to drop the proposed settlement of Sri Lankan settlers at Kadakachang here,” informed Jameela Bibi.