MARGAO: In a move that will not go down too well with the residents of Madel, the Margao Municipal Council has announced its decision to forge ahead with organising a feast fair on land specifically acquired for parking purposes.
Despite receiving a legal notice from concerned residents, the council remains undeterred. The fair, set to take place on the grounds near the Old Market Circle, will span seven days, commencing on May 28.
Interestingly, in response to persistent demands from feast fair vendors, the council has yielded and reduced the stall fees from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 8,000.
Local resident Savio Joao Maria Dias, through his legal advisor, had recently served a legal notice to the council, urging them to reconsider granting permission for fairs and exhibitions on the land designated for parking. Dias argued that the civic body's actions disregard the original intent behind the land acquisition. Instead, it has exploited the space for various commercial activities, including leasing it for private exhibitions, stalls, and fairs, all in the pursuit of monetary gain.
Nevertheless, the council remains undeterred, asserting its entitlement to utilise the land it owns as a means of generating revenue. “We possess the right to grant permission for the feast fair stalls since the land is municipal property. Who decreed that the civic body cannot capitalise on its assets?” questioned Damodar Shirodkar, the Chairperson of the Margao Municipal Council. Shirodkar reminded stakeholders of the council's previous success in hosting a feast fair at the same location, generating a revenue of nearly Rs. 36 lakh.
Shirodkar revealed that he discussed the matter with the petitioner, assuring him that the council would address concerns raised, including the management of garbage and parking-related challenges. On Friday, a delegation of vendors convened a meeting with the Chairperson, demanding a further reduction in the fixed stall fees.
“After careful consideration, it was initially agreed to set the fee at Rs. 10,000. However, due to the requests of the vendors, we decided to lower the amount to Rs. 8,500. Now, they are again claiming that the amount is too high for them,” remarked the Chairperson. Consequently, the council opted to reduce the fee to the desired Rs. 8,000.