With his stint as City Mayor nearing the end, Surendra Furtado has claimed to have attempted to transform the capital but has also faced criticisms for projects that did not take off. His differences with former commissioners has failed to bring to end the market and pay parking scams.
However, Furtado has blamed non-cooperation from the government and some past City Commissioners for some of the failed projects. “I am sick and tired of all these things (allegations). I am always portrayed as a bad man by them, despite dedicating myself for the betterment of the capital city and the people of Panjim,” he commented as he spoke to Herald ahead of the completion of his term.
The pay parking concept that was introduced in order to bring discipline among the vehicle users turned out to be a disaster. The contract awarded to Straight Deal Services was not renewed with the Corporation of City of Panjim (CCP) asking people not to hand over parking fees to the contractor in the city limits from May 1, 2017. Margao-based company had won the contract to implement the pay parking system in Panjim but failed to pay CCP its dues. CCP had earlier even issued a demand notice seeking recovery of the outstanding dues of Rs 24.75 lakh owed to the civic body as pay parking fees. However, Furtado said, the company complained that were going into loses. Since then there is no word of re-introducing pay parking.
The Mayor justified it saying the concept would be taken forward only after thermoplastic vehicle parking marking paint was carried out. “Until the roads are outlined with the paint for parking of vehicles and the balanced pay parking boards are put up; tender will not be issued. The roads are already notified as pay parking by the Collector, but it’s been more than two months that file for certain formalities is with the Commission…” he said. It is learnt that the agency, specialized in this activity, has demanded a hike in payment which is still being discussed by the Commissioner. It is apprehensive that the sanctioning authority PWD will sanction the amount which is beyond the limit.
With regards illegal market tenants, the Mayor is on record alleging the former Commissioner Deepak Desai had mislead the High Court of Bombay at Goa over action taken against illegal occupants at Panjim municipal market.
On the market scam inquiry, Furtado alleged that further action cannot be taken as its proposal on rent and period of agreement, followed by an inquiry report is lying in doldrums.
His refusal to allow the ropeway project created a major hurdle for one of GTDC’s most ambitious projects. The CCP he alleged had been bypassed by the government with regards to developmental work in the city. “CCP is projected as an agency to clean drains and lift garbage but we have no other powers too. Government is bypassing us on every developmental work proposed in Panjim,” the Mayor lamented.
Asked on how his tenure has been so far, he quickly replied, “Enjoyed doing my work despite hurdles and non cooperation from the government. In many cases I brought the CCP administration to the right track which had almost collapsed. There is now discipline in the working of the staff.”
The Mayor also urged that government should help the CCP and the Mayor to resolve several pending issues.