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Salcete panchayats to be ‘out of action’

NAVELIM: While village panchayats in Salcete taluka are yet to get fulltime secretaries, the government has now issued a fresh notification to drawn panchayat secretaries to perform duty for agriculture survey 2015-2016 in their respective villages.

The requisitioned secretaries will start survey duty from next week.

To make matters worse, the village panchayat are also having their annual audits being carried out despite Salcete sarpanchas expressing their displeasure over the government move,   which will severely disrupt functioning of the self-governing bodies in villages.

Highly-placed sources in the Salcete BDO said that some panchayat secretaries have been drawn to perform duty for the agriculture survey while the others  have also been posted on election duty as block-level officers.

A total of 24 secretaries from the taluka have been asked to report for the survey duty while the secretaries having election duty have been exempted from the survey duty, the sources said.

A panchayat secretary requesting anonymity said that they have been requisitioned for the agriculture survey duty for thrice a week. The functioning of panchayat will come to a standstill as village panchayat staffers have also been drawn for election duty leaving just a peon to keep the panchayat open. The move comes at a time when several panchayats are having their audits being carried out, which has put functioning of panchayats under   pressure due to non-availability of the panchayat secretaries, who are also public information officers for RTI applications.

Velim sarpanch Melvyn Sanches said the work at the village panchayat,  which does not have a fulltime secretary, has come to a standstill.

He said the secretary was holding additional charge of Assolna and Carmona village panchayats and has been unable to attend to the Velim panchayat as he has duties at Carmona as audit has been in progress there.

Audit of the Assolna panchayat will begin in the next couple of days.

He said the people were grossly inconvenienced and routine correspondence work has been piling up.  Various certificates have not been issued for quite some time.

“We do not know what will happen, as we too will begin audit in the next few days,” Sanches said.

Former Curtorim deputy sarpanch Santano Rodrigues recalled that  Panchayats Minister Rajendra Arlekar had assured that all the panchayats would have a fulltime secretary before Ganesh festival. However, the present Curtorim panchayat secretary is still holding additional charge of Loutolim.

Davorlim sarpanch Tulshidas Dessai rued the requisition of the panchayat secretary for the survey duty, as the secretary plays so many roles at the panchayat.

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