CALANGUTE: Ruckus marred the marathon gram sabha of Calangute panchayat held on Sunday with two groups of villagers nearly coming to blows over the presence of the Calangute MLA Michael Lobo. The gram sabha that started at 10.30 am went on till 7.30 pm with two breaks for lunch and tea.
The problem started when Sherwin Lobo, a supporter of Lobo, raised the issue of construction of overhead water tank, tourism circuit road and electricity woes. Villagers demanded an answer from the sarpanch Shawn Martins but he asked the MLA to respond as the issues pertained to the government. This irked some villagers who created ruckus and booed the sarpanch. There were arguments between supporters of the Calangute MLA and other villagers and Martins was forced to adjourn the gram sabha for 15 minutes.
When the gram sabha restarted at 1.30 pm, the Calangute MLA told the gram sabha that he is elected by a big margin and being the MLA has the right to speak but some villagers demanded that the sarpanch stop the MLA from speaking. The Calangute police came in and brought the situation under control. The MLA had to leave without answering the question and the gram sabha restarted at 1.30 pm.
Villagers also raised the issue of main nullahs in Calangute being encroached upon by hoteliers and some villagers as such sewage is being blocked. Villagers also alleged that hotels are releasing raw sewage in the nullahs and so feared that Kerala-like floods may strike Calangute.
Attorney of the Calangute communidade Anthony said that the nullahs come under the jurisdiction of the communidade but their maintenance is being done by the panchayat and so the sarpanch needs to take action.
Villagers also questioned the sarpanch over action taken against hill cutting at Bonviage for which a demolition order was issued by the court to remove the structure. The sarpanch said that site inspection was carried out by the ex deputy sarpanch Rupa Chodankar and demolition notice was issued but the said party has approached a court.
Sisters at Bonviage convent raising the issue of bad roads and dumping of garbage along the road, said that small children and orphans as well as nuns encounter difficulty while going for mass as the road is blocked and a footpath is need of the hour as it is very dangerous to walk on the road from Bonviage convent to St Alex Church.
Nitesh Chodankar raised the issue of outsiders selling vegetables outside the Calangute market as such the locals with shops lose business.
Shack owners raised the issue of touts, illegal massaging and thefts on the beach belt during tourist season. Some shack owners requested the panchayat to improve lighting on the beach as due to darkness, there are cases of snatching of bags and purses from tourists which is getting a bad name for the village.