An MLA is the political leader people of a constituency go to when they have a common problem. With Pandurang Madkaikar, MLA undergoing treatment since he suffered a brain stroke early in June last year, people of Cumbharjua have expressed regret that they have no representative to take their grievances to for redressal. Worse, they rue that development in the constituency is neglected; except for the Gaundalim-Cumbharjua bridge no major project has been undertaken. Projects started by the government since it took office have not made any progress at all or are progressing at snail’s speed. There is a feeling among the people of Cumbharjua that since the constituency was represented by a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA the party ought to have appointed a committee or a leader to look after the affairs of the constituency including its development. The people want the party to immediately appoint an alternative representative with whom they could discuss their problems and who could take the responsibilities of the constituency in the absence of Madkaikar and get their grievances redressed by the state authorities.
The people have a long list of projects crying for attention: construction of a market complex, health centre, indoor sports stadium, playground, development of Gandhi park and so on. All these projects are either incomplete or lack maintenance because there is nobody who can follow up the matter. People of the constituency, especially those living on the Divar island, have been looking forward for the promised bridge to connect the island with other places, which in absence of their MLA may not see light of the day. Given its scenic locale, heritage and historical buildings, the people were hoping to get benefit from tourism promotion, particularly heritage tourism, which too has been stalled. The drawing of master plan for Old Goa and the construction of police station are some of the issues that have remained unfulfilled. The families under the aegis of Cumbharjua Tenant Association which parted with their land to facilitate construction of the Gaundalim-Cumbharjua bridge feel let down as the promised higher compensation is yet to be paid to them. The government has awarded them a compensation of Rs 4 per square metre, which Madkaikar had promised to get raised substantially to a total of Rs 25 lakh.
It has been more than seven months since Madkaikar fell sick and has been out of action for people of his constituency. As under the current situation, every project in a constituency needs a promotion and push by the local MLA, the people of Cumbharjua are feeling the absence of a representative. They are also aggrieved as several government departments are making recruitments and they have no MLA to make recommendations for the applicants from the constituency. The unemployed in the constituency are missing their legislator as there is no other political representative to take up their cases. The workers and voters of the BJP regret they do not have anyone to approach since the representative authority was vested with Madkaikar after he joined the party. Several BJP workers hold the view that since Siddesh Naik, the son of Union AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik who took up their causes with the authorities, was taken off the charge of the constituency there is nobody whom people can approach for their issues. It is high time that the BJP considers making alternative arrangements and puts a person or a committee in charge in the constituency to take up cases of people’s interest.
In a state where nothing moves in a constituency without active involvement of the MLA, especially when he happens to be on the ruling side, the absence of the MLA is bound to be felt. Illness is a very sad, unfortunate and human situation, and the people of Cumbharjua and all of us have full empathy with Madkaikar and his family and want him to get well the soonest the medical science can enable him to. However, his illness happened so suddenly he could not name anyone to deal with the affairs of the constituency in his absence. His wife has been trying to do whatever she can, but she has to devote much time to look after her husband. In such a situation it is necessary that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP state president Vinay Tendulkar step in and nominate a party representative to whom people of the Cumbharjua constituency can go with their issues till Madkaikar recovers.