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Chicalim villagers raise issues of high rise buildings, illegal construction

VASCO: The issues of high rise buildings and illegal construction activity dominated the gram sabha of Chicalim panchayat, which was held at the panchayat hall on Sunday.

The meeting was chaired by ward 3 panchayat member Robert Falcao in absence of sarpanch Sebastiao Pereira and deputy sarpanch Kamla Prasad Yadav.

The issue of high rise buildings was raised by Edwin Mascarenhas, Rui Araujo and Pratap Mardolkar wherein they questioned the panchayat as to on what grounds the panchayat body has issued permission to construct the high rise buildings.

Falcao in turn asked the gram sabha members as to what is the definition of high rise building as according to them, and further clarified that either the building should have over four floors or else it could be 20 metres of height from the ground.

The gram sabha members demanded the panchayat authorities to show the infrastructure provisions made for the construction of high rise buildings.

They also asked the panchayat authorities, as to whether the provisions for electricity, sewerage network and roads are looked into while issuing the permissions.

“Unless and until the provisions are met, the panchayat should not give permission or entertain proposal for the construction of the high rise buildings,” said the gram sabha members.

Falcao informed that the panchayat authorities receive the “approved files” pertaining to the high rise buildings from the MPDA for the issuance of permission, but in case the panchayat fails to issue permission within the next 30 days then the project components obtain permission from the office of the deputy director of panchayats.

Mascarenhas and Mardolkar raised the issue of illegal construction of flats and buildings in the Dabolim area with the “involvement” of a panch member, and went on to ask as to what action the panchayat has been initiated on the illegality so far.

Falcao, while replying to the gram sabha members, said that the panchayat has limitations in taking action – the panchayat can send stop work notice, carrying out inspection and convey to the BDO.

Mardolkar then urged the panchayat body to conduct a survey of houses in the panchayat jurisdiction.

“The survey will help the panchayat to know how many constructions have come up in its jurisdiction, and even it would help in keeping a track of tenants, thereby helping the panchayat to earn revenue,” he added.

He also pointed out during the time of elections, the panchayat would be able to know the genuine electorates as he alleged that some people possess two election identity cards – they use both one at their native place and another at the place of residence.

The gram sabha members raised serious concern over the absence of sarpanch and deputy sarpanch for the two consecutive gram sabhas.

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