SDPC meeting witnesses blame game between ruling and Opposition MLAs
"Planning should be of five years. Discussions at the end of the five-year term of ZP has no importance".
Prasad Gaonkar, Sanguem MLA
MARGAO: The long-delayed meeting of South District Planning Committee (SDPC) which was held nearly after five years witnessed blame game between the ruling and opposition MLAs at Margao. MLAs from opposition parties like Goa Forward and Congress alleged that the meeting has a linked to the forthcoming zilla panchayat elections.
On Tuesday the above meeting was held at South Goa Collectorate building wherein South Goa ZP chairman Navnath Naik chaired the meeting. The meeting was attended by Power Minister Nilesh Cabral, Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai, Curtorim MLA Alexio Reginald Lourenco, Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar, besides ZP members of South Goa. Non-other MLA of South Goa was present at the meeting, not even the South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha.
It may be noted that the above meeting was held after a very long gap. On the other hand, there was the big question uppermost in the minds of everyone that is whether the MLAs and MPs from South Goa district will attend the meeting along with other elected members of the SDPC.
The meeting is about to discuss the development plans submitted by the different panchayats of South Goa. At the beginning of the meeting, there was some discussion about the developmental plans but later on, the blame game begins. Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai said that this meeting has a direct link to the forthcoming ZP elections.
"This meeting is just an eyewash and has been called keeping in mind the forthcoming ZP elections", he alleged.
He further said, "South Goa ZP chief officer is on record stating that the DPC meeting is defunct. It has been informed to the government that due to a shortage of staff it is unable to conduct the DPC meeting and they had even urged the government to sanction the staff. Actually, this meeting of DCP should have been called out in the beginning years of the ZP tenure. Now, this is a just an eyewash", he added.
Vijai also said that what is the use of this meeting and discussion on the developmental plans submitted by a few panchayats at the end of the tenure of ZP. "The government is under pressure due to the 15th Financial Commission", he stated. "ZP election should not be held on party lines", he further added.
Congress MLA Alexio Reginald Lourenco said that this meeting of DCP is nothing but a formality. While MLA Prasad Gaonkar said, "Planning should be of five years. Discussions at the end of the five-year term of ZP has no importance", he stated. He also said that once the plan of concerned panchayat is submitted there is a need to study that plan.
While Power Minister Nilesh Cabral defended the ZP stating, "There is no link of DCP meeting to ZP elections. There were some issues and one of the issues of shortage of staff which has delayed the DPC meeting. The panchayat needs to submit the proper plan so that grants are allowed for the developmental works", he stated.
South Goa ZP chairman Navnath Naik agreed that the meeting of DCP has been called out after four years of gap. "We had no staff to handle the DCP", he clarified.
While chief officer Agnelo Fernandes stated that out of 88 panchayats of South Goa, only 44 panchayats have submitted the development plan. It must be noted that the last DPC meeting of South Goa was held on October 30, 2014. Thereafter ZP did not hold a single meeting of the planning body during the last five years.