Chairperson of Margao Municipal Council (MMC) Babita Prabhudesai completed three years in the office last week. In an interview to ‘The Navhind Times’ reporter, Roque Dias, she touches upon various issues, including certain promises that have remained unfulfilled
Q: Being at the helm of affairs, can you recount the efforts put in during the last three years?
A: We got developmental grants to the tune of Rs 6 crore in the three years with the support of TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai. This apart, the kind of revenue mop-up that has happened in these three years, was unlike the last 10 years. We have undertaken several measures, conducted GIS survey. The present chief officer has identified defaulting institutions, banks and they have started clearing their dues.
Q: You criticise those who resort to protests to get things done, when you also had a similar approach at one point of time.
A: That was a natural response. I came from activism background. As students, we did agitations and bandhs. But as one matures in politics, things change. If things are happening for the larger good, I wonder why should people resort to agitations.
Q: But the council has burdened the citizens with sanitation fees when the service is dismal
A: The council has imposed the sanitation fees because the council cannot cope up with the revenue coming in. When we were preparing the budget, we noted that a lot of spending was happening on garbage collection. So, sanitation fees were needed to be imposed. We did it after consulting various quarters. Traffic signals were also installed.
Q: Some months ago, few councillors ganged up to unseat you.
A: I think certain differences are bound to exist. Diversity of thoughts is helpful for the growth of the council and betterment of the party. If someone tells me that I am wrong, I have to introspect. Nonetheless, we have sorted out all differences. Differences have only strengthened us further.
Q: Your election manifesto promises are not fulfilled, like upgradation of market, clearance of Sonsoddo dump, etc. What went wrong?
A: As far as the upgradation of the new market is concerned, we could not do it because there was no revenue generating from this market. We will upgrade the market, only when the revenue starts coming in. If we face dissent from the market vendors for everything that we propose, then I see no reason to go out of the way and upgrade the market. As far as Sonsoddo dump is concerned, it is a matter of concern for the council and TCP minister. There are a lot of difficulties in it. We have still not managed to get the right technology to handle it. However, with the bio-remediation process, the garbage mounds have reduced.