A high drama for nearly three hours, amidst raising of slogans was witnessed at the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) on Tuesday as chief officer Johnson Fernandes locked himself in the chairperson’s cabin and refused to accept the memorandum of 50 Gandhi market vendors who entered into his cabin.
The angry vendors shouted slogans, squatting in the passage near the cabins of the chairperson and the chief officer demanding the ouster of chief officer Fernandes. Later they submitted a memorandum to the chairperson Dr Babita Prabhudesai protesting the removal of a shed at the Gandhi market. Police presence was sought to maintain law and order.
The vendors argued that the then council headed by Arthur D’Silva adopted a resolution that the Gandhi Market shed will be constructed, but in the last three years nothing was done. The chairperson after hearing the vendors, assured to resolve the issue within a month’s time after taking a legal opinion and conducting site inspection.
She however demanded from the vendors to give in writing that they wanted the shed to be constructed even though it is a high risk to fire.
Rajan Azgaonkar, the Gandhi market vendors’ association president said, “Four days ago I met the chief officer regarding the shed which was removed. The chief officer asked us to give in writing about the shed. Hence, we have submitted a memorandum. The MMC had passed a resolution earlier to legalise the vendors shed, but it was not done. We have put a plastic sheet to cover our goods from the heat till the shed is constructed. But, the MMC removed it some 15 days ago for which we are protesting today”.
Chief officer Fernandes said, “We demolished the shed as it was illegal and blocking the passage. There were observations and guidelines from the Fire and Emergency services to this effect. What I cannot understand is about 50 vendors barging into my cabin and forcefully asking me to accept the memorandum. This is not acceptable”.
Justifying the act of the chief officer, the chairperson Dr Prabhudesai said, “There was no need for 50 vendors to barge into the cabin of the chief officer. They could have taken an appointment. We will definitely take a call on the shed after obtaining a legal opinion”.