Herald: Against casino concept but governance is a continuous process: Sidharth

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Against casino concept but governance is a continuous process: Sidharth

17 May 2019 06:01am IST
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17 May 2019 06:01am IST

HERALD: You are contesting for the third time and this is the first time that (late) Manohar Parrikar is not with you. How is the response?

Sidharth Kuncalienker: For last 25 years, Parrikar represented this constituency. Even if he is not here with us today, his teachings and his blessings will always stay with us. The response is good. 

H: People are saying that with GSM’s Subhash Velingkar in the fray, Congress’s Atanasio Monserrate is the favourite to win?

SK: It won’t make a big difference. The same combination was also there in the 2017 elections. 

H: Since Utpal Parrikar was a denied the ticket, is there a friction between you and him as has been reported?

SK: This is absolutely not true. Utpal is a very capable person but we are adhering with the decision of the party. Utpal and the other family members are actively participating in the campaign and we are working as a team. 

H: Panjimites are a little upset with you because of your alleged ‘arrogance’. Your comment?

SK: I think somewhere; there is a misunderstanding and misconception. I am a human being and I too have limitations and weaknesses. I have never hurt anyone intentionally and if at all, I have done that then I am ready to apologise.

H: Your opposition has raised an issue over corruption in the Smart City project. How do you respond?

SK: If there were issues, they should have taken it up earlier. If at all, there’s an issue over this project, then they should give proof. The Smart City project has a very stringent process and it is not easy to mess up. There are financial audits, technical audits, and even computer generated audits. All this is there in the mission directives.

They say the cameras that were purchased cost Rs 4 lakhs. If we are calculating 180cr with 4,600 cameras then it will for sure add up to 4 lakhs. The camera component is for 4.5 lakh. We are getting cameras with ten times more features at 500 less rupees then the cost. They accuse me of building a 20cr Smart City office. What do they even know about it? It’s a conservation zone; to restore the building architecturally and build the control centre for the Smarty City, which will include disaster management, CCTV, wi-fi, garbage management, and a welcome centre for tourists and the locals with facilities such as library etc and there will be a office too. 

H: Monserrate controls the Corporation of the City of Panaji. Will he have an advantage?

SK: In this constituency, there are 21 wards in total and we have the majority. Why would Congress want to place a Mayor and a Deputy Mayor from Taleigao. Do they want to prove that the people of Panjim have no respect? The one to provide funds and taxes to CCP are the people of this city and now they want to place candidates from Taleigao here. This is not fair. The people live with respect here and we will not tolerate this.

H: Monserrate was part of the coalition government till now. How come he becomes a criminal only now?

SK: I never thought of him as a friend. Our people have given a fractured mandate. It’s arithmetic, if we are to form an assembly under the mandate by the people.  You have to have a coalition, and we have to take up a common agenda with the coalition party and I think at that time, Babush was our coalition partner; therefore we had to take him along. However, it doesn’t mean that we are friends. 

H: All parties have an issue with casinos; if they get elected they will do something about it, what is your stand?

SK: All parties have been changing their stand. For example, Congress first said that they will remove casinos. Then they said that they will bring it on land and then they said that they will get rid of it completely. They only want to divert people’s minds. I am not for the casino culture, I am against this concept but governance is a continuous process. I am here to solve issues that the people of Panjim face due to these casinos. I won’t let a local step in there and this will be my demand with the government and I will ensure that it is regulated. 
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