ROQUE DIAS | NT
MARGAO : The sixth minor irrigation census and the first-ever water body census have failed to take off in Salcete and Mormugao talukas as senior officials in the mamlatdar and BDO offices have crossed swords over the requisition of the talathis, who have also been put in for the work on electoral process being carried out in the light of the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
The census was supposed to begin in January. And in fact, the census work has already begun in other talukas of the state. However, the work has not yet begun in Salcete, and also in Mormugao taluka, as Salcete mamlatdar office has refused to allow the requisition of officers for the census work, delaying the training programme for the chosen staff.
Reliable sources said the Salcete BDO, who has been appointed by the department of planning and statistics and evaluation and minor irrigation census commissioner Dr Y Durga Prasad as the taluka-level officer in-charge for the census work, had ordered eight talathis from the Salcete mamlatdar office and five officials from the South Goa district rural agency office to attend the training programme, which had been scheduled for January 28, for conducting the census.
The order to this effect, a copy of which is with ‘The Navhind Times’, had been issued on January 21. However, on January 25, Salcete mamlatdar Joao Fernandes wrote to BDO Amitesh Shirvoikar stating that the talathis of his office cannot be relieved for the census work as the mamlatdar office has also received an order from the South Goa district collector stating that the talathis are required for checking EVMs and VVPATs from January 28, 2019 till the completion of the electoral process for the Lok Sabha polls.
The order issued on January 23 by district collector Agnelo Fernandes stated that as per the instruction of the Election Commission of India – and as a preparatory measure for the parliamentary elections – the first level checking of the EVMs and VVPATs would commence from January 28.
The district collector’s order named the same talathis, who had been roped in by the BDO for the census work.
Commenting on the piquant situation, an officer in the Salcete mamlatdar office said, “Why the BDO is not engaging panchayat secretaries for the census work? Why not even a single panchayat secretary has been asked to do the census work? Why the staff of mamlatdar and other offices are being requisitioned?”
Countering this point, sources in the BDO office argued that schedule for Lok Sabha elections have not yet been announced, adding that the mamlatdar and the district collector could have allowed the talathis to attend the training and at least some talathis could have been requisitioned.
“We must not forget that we all do government work. We understand the need for requisition…why did the mamlatdar and the district collector inform us at the last minute? We had booked the hall for the January 28 training programme… food had also been ordered. Everything was ready…. This is bad administration,” the BDO sources said.
It is understood that the BDO office has managed to get the necessary staff for the census work and the training programme has now been scheduled for February 12. The programme will be held for the requisitioned staff of Salcete taluka.
The sixth minor irrigation census the first-ever water body census now could begin on February 13 in Mormugao and Salcete talukas.