South Goa ZP chief supports demand for devolution of powers

MARGAO: The chairperson of South Goa Zilla Panchayat, Ms Nelly Rodrigues on Sunday welcomed the decision of the GPCC president, Mr Subhash Shirodkar with regard to demand for devolution of powers to ZPs and panchayats in the state.

Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, Ms Rodrigues said, "Any demand for devolution of powers for ZPs and panchayats is a welcome step. However, I feel sorry to say that Shirodkar did very little in this regard when he was the panchayat minister."

"When he could do so much when his party was in power both at Centre and in the state he did very little. But now when he is out of power and his party is in the opposition fulfillment of demand for more powers for ZPs and panchayats made by him may remain a distant dream," she added.

It may be noted that Mr Shirodkar has demanded that more financial and administrative powers be given to the ZPs and panchayats after the elected representatives of these grass-roots level bodies urged the GPCC chief during a meeting held on Saturday.

In 2006, she said, "I remember the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the central minister, Mani Shankar Aiyer, Pratapsingh Rane and Subhash Shirodkar for giving more powers to ZPs in areas like RDA, primary education and primary health centres. However, nothing happened."

She said that since the inception of the ZPs in the state 12 years ago the demand for devolution of powers as per the 73rd and 74th amendments has remained unfulfilled.

"After all these years, we are not sure whether the demand would be fulfilled in next two years," Ms Rodrigues stated. Meanwhile, Ms Rodrigues disclosed that the chief minister and the panchayat minister have fixed a meeting to discuss about the pending issues of ZPs in south Goa including devolution of powers.

She said, "The chief minister has given us an appointment on Monday. Most of the ZP members are expected to attend the meeting to apprise the chief minister about the problems being faced in undertaking developmental works."