Hyderabad: The Gram Panchayat sarpanches have been intensifying their stir against the government’s decision to give cheque power to them jointly with the upa sarpanches. The agitation which had earlier been confined to submission of memorandums to the officials and the ministers till last month, is now taking the form of dharnas and bandhs. Also Read – Two Urban forest parks inaugurated in Hyderabad Advertise With Us The sarpanches of various Gram Panchayats have been giving bandh calls in their respective districts. Recently they obstructed the programmes of Minister Koppula Easwar in JagtIyal district. The sarpanches who participated in protest were arrested. The sarpanches gave a call for district wide bandh on Thursday. According to the leaders of the sarpanches, the agitation against the decision of joint cheque power would be continued till the government changes its decision. Also Read – Hyderabad: Intermediate student dies of cardiac arrest in class Advertise With Us They said that they want joint cheque power with panchayat secretary or any other official. The government has decided to give the joint cheque power to sarpanches and upa sarpanches in the villages, a clause that was added to the Panchayat Raj Act passed last year. Under this provision, the sarpanch and the upa sarpanch have to sign the cheques to draw the amounts from the bank accounts for works and for the other purposes in the panchayats. Advertise With Us However, the sarpanches have been opposing it soon after their election in January this year. They have been alleging that joint cheque power to them along with upa sarpanch would lead to politics and faction disputes in the villages. The process of collecting the digital signatures of the sarpanches and upa sarpanches is going in the State for giving the cheque power. The cheque power to the GPs has been given last month. The sarpanches said that the earlier system of joint cheque power to sarpanch and the panchayat secretary worked smoothly and the sarpanch was able to take up works without any problems and to develop the villages. Due to the joint cheque power to them along with upa sarpanches would become detrimental to development. The upa sarpanches may decline to sign the cheques with political motives. The upa sarpanches with a view to unpopular the sarpanch may decline to sign the cheque. In some cases, the upa sarpanches may insist on giving commission to them to sign the cheque. Citing these reasons they have been demanding the government to do away with the joint cheque power to them along with the upa sarpanches. But the government has not responded so far. Interestingly, it was the sarpanches who got elected with the support of the ruling TRS have been opposing the decision. They are also being supported by the sarpanches elected with the support of Congress and other parties.