Gram sabha corners sarpanch over a host of issues; Members grill him for nearly an hour for permitting a foreign national to participate at previous meeting, demand registration of FIR against the foreigner
MARGAO: Sao Jose de Areal Sarpanch Perris D’Costa was totally harassed and at a loss to answer the various questions asked by the villagers at the gram sabha on Sunday where nearly one hour was spent discussing the minutes of the previous meeting.
The adjourned gram sabha commenced only with the panchayat members present where the minutes were read. The villagers who came shortly thereafter objected to reading of the minutes in their absence and insisted that the panchayat adhere to the Panchayat Raj Act while conducting business.
The sarpanch was grilled for nearly an hour for permitting a foreign national to participate in the gram sabha held on May 13, 2018 and recording his statement in the minutes of the meeting. The sarpanch was accused of letting the Portuguese passport holder participate in the gram sabha despite knowing the fact that he was not an Indian national.
The sarpanch admitted that there was a lapse and offered to delete the reference made to him in the minutes which was also objected to by the villagers who had already obtained copies of the minutes under the Right to Information Act.
The sarpanch was asked to file an FIR against the foreign national who they alleged not only disrupted the gram sabha but also disturbed the peace of the village. The gram sabha that day was discussing the issue of Curtorim Comunidade giving permissions for crushers and quarrying.
Peter Viegas, a villager, disclosed that he has already filed a complaint against the person with the police and urged the sarpanch to follow suit.
The sarpanch also had no answer when the villagers asked why resolutions at the last gram sabha to file FIR against illegal constructions and development of land were not followed up and why no complaint was filed.
As the villagers rejected the Sarpanch’s claim of having filed complaint with the Collector, Mamlatdar and Sub-Registrar and insisted that a police complaint be filed, Perris D’Costa promised to do that next week.
The sarpanch was also hauled up for approaching the Sewerage Development Corporation to clear the overflowing septic tanks at Ramnagari instead of raising the matter with the Health Services and he agreed to approach the health services next.
The sarpanch did not have any answer when the villager asked why a file was kept pending for one month even though a scrap yard was set up adjacent to a field.
Fidelis Freddy Travaso alleged that the panchayat uses different yardstick for different people and that while some get their licences without even an inspection some are made to submit specific plans. Therefore, Travaso asked the panchayat to function as per the Panchayat Act.
The sarpanch who is a crusher owner was also totally exposed for his failure to act decisively against the illegalities committed by the crusher units as he brazenly said that there are no illegal crushers in the village only to change it to say that some may have done extensions which were illegal.
He could not give any valid reason why the panchayat took six months to move for demolition of nine crushers after the demolition order was passed and people demanded that the exemption of conversion sanad given to crusher units be extended to people for their houses too.
The villagers also exposed that the panchayat deliberately delayed filing an appeal against Zakir Saudagar to enable him to invoke the deeming clause to get a construction license.