Independent Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar on Tuesday resigned as chairman of Goa Forest Development Corporation (GFDC) alleging lack of support from the government to run the autonomous body for the last 15 months even though he is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led ruling coalition.
While announcing his decision to resign as GFDC chairman at a press conference in Panaji, Gaonkar maintained that he would continue to support the coalition government led by Manohar Parrikar and would take future political decision, if need arises, by taking his voters into confidence.
“I had supported Manohar Parrikar as the Chief Minister in the interest of development of Sanguem constituency. But now I find that the current government has been doing injustice to me. As chairman I have put forth many proposals to the government to strengthen the Corporation. But there was no cooperation from the government,” he said.
Gaonkar, who was part of the group of six legislators headed by Goa Forward Party president Vijai Sardesai, that showed unity in front of BJP central observers recently, informed that the scheme for rejuvenation of cashew plantation spread across around
9 hector area in the state, which is in possession of GFDC, was also rejected by the government.
“In my opinion, there is a wide scope to take forward this Corporation. But unfortunately I did not get backing of the government. Even the people of my constituency had high hopes from me as chairman of government-run Corporation. But due to lack of support from the government, I cannot take many initiatives forward. Thus I have decided to resign from the post,” Gaonkar maintained, adding that he will continue to support the government as an Independent MLA.
He also said that he is unhappy with the functioning of current Parrikar-led government as entire administration has come to a “standstill” and added that every government has taken support of Sanguem MLA, but failed to provide adequate funds and facilities to develop the remote constituency.
Gaonkar also stated that induction of two new ministers in the cabinet is not a permanent solution to the current crisis.
He also defended his move to join group of six MLAs who met the central observers of BJP last week claiming that they were of unanimous opinion on getting a permanent solution to the political crisis, which has arose due to ill-health of the Chief Minister.
Gaonkar castigated the BJP-led government for failing to find solution to issues like ban on mining which has severely affected thousands of his voters.
“As far as mining issue is concerned, the people of my constituency are very furious as there is no sign of resumption of mining activities. This situation prevails in entire mining belt. If the government gives immediate solution for the resumption of mining then the voters may support BJP in Lok Sabha elections,” he pointed out.
When asked whether he is in contact with Congress to form alternative government, the Sanguem MLA answered in the negative, adding that he will go forward as per decision of his voters as they had elected him in the 2017 polls with high faith and expectations.