MARGAO: The villagers of Rachol passed the annual budget for the financial year 2012-2013 for the panchayat at the gram sabha on Sunday, amidst chaos. The meeting was held at Ilha De Rachol.
Majority of the panchayat members along with the locals approved the budget. However, the former sarpanch and present panchayat member, Mr Gilerminho Oliviero, raised objections to it; he also raised opposition to the venue of the gram sabha.
This is the last gram sabha of the Rachol village panchayat as in the next fifteen days, the code of conduct for the general panchayat election would come into force.
The sarpanch, Mr Joseph Vaz, disclosed that as per the Rule3 of the gram sabha, the sarpanch has full powers to decide on the venue of the gram sabha and he is using his powers in the larger interest of the villagers.
Mr Vaz urged the few villagers that whatever information, they have sought, would be made available to them under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
He said that the panchayat being very poor, it has to depend on government funds and schemes to sustain. The increase in tax was not feasible as the panchayat is ST dominated.
A local resident, Mr Rosebelt Rebello, argued that it took one year for the sarpanch and the panchayat members to have an ordinary gram sabha.
Mr Rebello alleged that the gram sabha was adjourned soon after passing the budget and that their questions were not answered.
It may be recalled that few of the Rachol villagers on Friday had visited the Block Development Office ( BDO) and complained about the panchayat body that it was violating the Panchayat Act by not convening ordinary gram sabhas in the village.
They had also demanded to change the venue of the gram sabha fixed for April 1, to which the BDO, Mr Uday Prabhudesai claimed that the sarpanch had the power to convene it anywhere within the panchayat jurisdiction.