Issues of tenants, urban status mar Nerul gram sabha

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Nerul: Ruckus over issues of rent collected from shops rented out by the panchayat, objection to urban status, tenant verification amongst others marred the Nerul gram sabha which was attended by a large number of villagers at the panchayat hall at Nerul.

The gram sabha was delayed by 15 minutes as initially except the sarpanch Reshma Kalangutkar, no panch member was present.

Later, villagers passed a resolution opposing the urban status for the village on the grounds that it will hinder availing of grants from the government, taxes will increase, starred hotels and high-rise buildings will be constructed near the beach which will exert a lot of pressure on the basic facilities like water, electricity and roads.

Villagers raised a ruckus over the issue of 6 shops in the panchayat building that are given on rent and questioned the sarpanch on the rent collected. The secretary said that the rent is very less adding, “Some tenants do not pay the rent properly.”

Villagers suggested that some shops be rented out to electricity department, pharmacy operator etc.

The sarpanch Reshma Kalangutkar said that the operators cannot be driven away as they possess lease agreement adding, “Some shop operators have not paid rent for quite some time as such the pending dues amounted to Rs 1.8 lakh earlier but after sending notices some have made payments.”

Villagers also questioned the panchayat members if it has carried out any drive for verifying tenants staying on rent in its jurisdiction.

Villagers also said that most tenants do not have toilet facility as such they answer nature’s call in the open. Even garbage is dumped on the roadside by the tenants, they added.

Villagers demanded that a joint inspection be carried out by the panch members along with the police.

The secretary said that some villagers are not cooperating in tenant verification. He warned that if one is caught without police verification form, a fine of Rs 5,000 will be imposed.

The panchayat secretary suggested that the advertisement hoarding rental rates be increased by 25 per cent as they have not been revised for the last 10 years. He also brought to the notice of the villagers that the neighbouring villages increase rent every four years.

The villages said that first the panchayat should verify if the rent has been increased as most of the advertisement hoardings are put up by the locals.

Villagers raised the issue of the proposed educational hub atop the Nerul plateau that is held up as it is under litigation. The secretary told the villagers that a resolution has been sent to the court on the biodiversity recommendation stating that this is the only hill in the village which is rich in medicinal plants and other natural resources. The fisher folks of Nerul selling fish at the Nerul fish market raised the issue of wholesale outlet near the Nerul bridge and asked the panchayat if it has given them NOC to operate as they are causing loss to their business. They said that even the fisherfolks who sell fish on bikes should be stopped as they are all non-Goans and cause loss to the fishing community of Nerul.

Other issues raised were the budget for the year 2020-21, shifting of some dangerous electricity poles, traffic signboards to be erected along the roadsides, de-silting of village ponds, extension of Hindu crematorium etc.