With the Goa assembly recently passing a measure to raise the salary of the legislators by a whopping 77 per cent, village panchayat sarpanchas in Salcete taluka are now demanding an increase in their salary too.
Speaking to this daily, some of the sarpanchas from the taluka said that the monthly salary that the government provides of Rs 3,000 to the panchas and Rs 4,000 to the sarpanchas is meagre.
The sarpanchas are demanding that their monthly salary be hiked to at least Rs 15,000. “Sarpanchas move in the villages to fulfil the locals’ demands, but a paltry sum is paid to us as salary. I demand that our salary should also be increased the way the legislators have got their salary hiked by passing a
measure during the recently concluded assembly session,” said Savio D’Silva, sarpanch of Velim.
Sarpanch of Aquem Baixo panchayat Siddesh Bhagat questioned how the legislators could turn a blind eye to the concerns of the sarpanchas and panchas, while supporting the proposal for a 77 per cent hike in their own salary. “Why do they think only of themselves? Former sarpanchas had placed the demand before the Panchayat Minister and the government, but I am told nothing has been done so far,” Bhagat said.
Another sarpanch of a Class A panchayat said that the MLAs should distribute 25 per cent of their salary to the panchayat members so that the panchayat members can work more efficiently at the grassroots level. “What can we do with Rs 4,000 per month? People expect a lot from the sarpanchas and panchas. They want donations, and even financial assistance from the sarpanchas. We cannot do it with Rs 4,000. We, therefore, demand more,” he said.
Former three-term sarpanch of Rachol panchayat, who is also the general secretary of All Goa Panchayat Democratic Forum, Joseph Vaz said that he had given a representation to the government in May, last year, urging the government to increase the salary of sarpanchas and panchas. “Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho told me that the file has been sent for financial approval of the government. Now one year has passed but nothing positive has come out as yet?” he lamented.