02 Dec 2015 07:12am IST
Port town residents surprised to find Sambhaji as area name in new ration card issued by Civil Supplies Department
Vasco: History repeated itself and sparked controversy after residents of a few pockets of Vasco received new ration cards and found they were living in a town called Sambhaji.
While many ignored it thinking it was some error, others were happy and still others aware of the events of several years ago when an MLA had moved a private member’s bill to change the name of Vasco to Sambhaji Nagar, protested.
“I was shocked to see my address in the new National Food Security card issued by Department of Civil Supplies. The address had changes and Sambhaji was added to the area name. Goa’s port town was named after Vasco da Gama (the 15th century Portuguese explorer) and in past there have been unsuccessful attempts to change the name to Sambhaji and possibly this would be another attempt to give a back door entry and change the name of Vasco,” said Vasco resident Pramod Kudalkar.
According to sources in the Civil Supplies Department in Vasco, they have no information about the addition of Sambhaji and the official in charge has been directing complainants to higher officials. Citizens are worried as once the name gets added in the card then it becomes a vicious circle to get it rectified.
When Herald contacted Civil Supplies Director Vikas Gaunekar for clarification on the issue, he said, “It is as per government records which show that certain pockets in Vasco were named as Sambhaji in 1971 for which the notification under Revenue Code was issued. We are not bothered about the same as we are just following the Registrar General of India (RGI) census records. As per RGI records our system has Sambhaji as the official name of certain pockets in Vasco.”
He added, “Moreover even if it is known as Sambhaji then it is only for the purpose of identification and ration cards cannot be used as a document for residence proof or identity proof as it is barred by law. From 2012 we have digitalised the data and since then this name exists and it is only now when the cards were printed that people have noticed the same.”
Asked if there is any demand from citizens or political leaders to revise the errors and restore the existing area name and exclude Sambhaji, Gaunekar said, “This is the name given by the government by following legal process. There is no question of changing the name because the system has on record that the revenue name was given to some pockets of Vasco which we are following now and there is nothing illegal.”
The issue kick started a debate in the port town with leaders across politicla parties expressing their displeasure. Nationalist Congress Party President Jose Philip D’Souza, Mormugao Municipal Council councillors and leaders from the ruling BJP, all showed surprise over the change in name and have termed it an illegal act.