The new Siolim-Marna village panchayat body, which had convened the first gram sabha, on Sunday, had to face the wrath of the people as there was congestion
MAPUSA: The new Siolim-Marna village panchayat body, which had convened the first gram sabha, on Sunday, had to face the wrath of the people as there was congestion — many from the large crowd of villagers, who had turned up for the meeting, could find a place to sit inside the small panchayat hall.
And, due to this, the sarpanch, Ms Anita Chaari, had to adjourn the gram sabha to a later date.
In the backdrop of a large scale and alleged illegal construction activity flourishing, especially, in Marna, a large number of villagers converged at the panchayat ghar for the gram sabha, besides there were also people from other wards who had come in large numbers.
As the meeting began, the small panchayat hall, in which the gram sabha was organised, was packed with people, and there were people even standing outside the panchayat office due to the lack of space inside.
The secretary began reading the minutes of the last gram sabha, but in no time had to stop due to the furious crowd who sought to know what was the motive of the panchayat in holding the gram sabha in a congested hall where people could not get a chance to speak or even to hear.
Villagers lashed out at the panchayat body as they felt that this was a deliberate attempt to bulldoze the proceedings and there was chaos everywhere. The agenda could not be taken up as people were in mood to allow the meeting to proceed.
They sought to know why the panchayat was not taking adequate steps to make available enough space for holding the gram sabha.
Villagers gathered protested and shouted, after which, sarpanch, Ms Chaari bowing to public pressure informed the gram sabha members that the meeting stood adjourned to a later date. The whole thing lasted barely for about 45 minutes.
Incidentally, people had come prepared to take the panchayat to task over the construction activity going on and wanted to know what action the panchayat was planning to take, but as the gram sabha was adjourned the aggrieved locals vowed to raise the issue when the meeting would be held the next time.
On the other hand, villagers also did not spare the BDO observer, who was present for the meeting.
Some villagers at the fag end of the proceedings asked him as to who was supposed to conduct the gram sabha, to which the observer said that in normal circumstances it was the sarpanch, else in his absence it could be the deputy; villagers brought to his notice the fact that it has been witnessed in Siolim and also elsewhere in Goa that the sarpanch and deputy just sit as dummies and instead it was the secretary who was conducting the meeting which was completely wrong, at this the observer said that he could not do anything in the matter and the people should approach the BDO with their grievance. Locals, then wondered what was the purpose of the observer at the gram sabha when he was incapable of submitting his ‘factual’ report to his superior and felt that this was all a mockery and not a healthy sign for the functioning of the panchayats.