Wednesday , 12 August 2020
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Valpoikars disappointed over ‘unutilised’ golden jubilee fund

Abdulla Khan | NT

VALPOI: Valpoi Municipal Council is yet to utilise the golden jubilee fund sanctioned under development grants on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebration of Goa’s Liberation, and the residents are disappointed over the opportunity that is going waste.

In 2011, rupees one crore golden jubilee fund was sanctioned to Valpoi Municipal Council alongwith other civic bodies for undertaking development projects within their municipal limits.

However, even after having completed procedures, the file is caught up in red tape over lack of knowledge and bureaucratic lapses in utilisation of funds meant for public utility projects with revenue model.

“What conclusions we can draw from this attitude. We read in the newspapers that if not utilised the fund has to be returned to the government,” said a youth from Valpoi.

Many alleged that the municipality did not move quick enough to make use of the funds. However, many blame council members for not putting their heads together to have a meaningful plan that can be implemented.

It is understood that the proposals under golden jubilee fund were sent for approval on several occasions, however, the file was either returned with some remark or it went ‘missing’ from the concerned department.

“We are just doing follow ups on our side while those on the other end are not bothered. There was no proper guidance on utilisation of golden jubilee fund,” alleged a VMC staff, who wished to remain anonymous.

It is learnt that the fund remains unutilised either due to ‘lapses’ on the part of the directorate of municipal administration (DMA) or the chief officer or the council itself.

Stating that the golden jubilee grant was meant for a signature project, VMC chief officer Cynthia Mesquita said, “VMC is doing follow ups as regards proposed project – development of municipal ground under golden jubilee grant. However, for some reason or the other the file was returned. I have asked the present engineer to prepare a new proposal as civic bodies were given deadline of six months for getting approval for their respective projects or else the fund has to be returned to the

government.”

When pointed out that the signature project should be self-sustainable one while the proposed project is quite contrary, the chief officer Mesquita said that it is the council’s decision and she cannot comment on it.

Many prominent citizens of Valpoi are of the opinion that VMC should go for construction of a guest house which can bring in revenue to the ‘C’ class municipality.

However, they said that development of ground is also equally important and that VMC can take up this project under some development fund. “Of course, the development of VMC ground is important and sports enthusiasts from Valpoi are excited about it, but the proposed project file is gathering dust,” said a sports buff pointing towards the condition of the ground.

When contacted, VMC chairperson Ramdas Shirodkar said, “We are doing our best as we know we are answerable to public but at the same time it is also true that due to lapses on the part of DMA the fund has remained unutilised. The file was sent to DMA for sanction and it got misplaced. After I took over, I prepared a new file of the same project but it was returned citing some technical issue.”

He told this daily that since 2014 no financial approval was given to the proposed development projects despite administrative nod.

Mentioning the development projects proposed by the council, including a children’s park, crematorium, mini bridge and other projects, Shirodkar expressed confidence that above projects would get financial approval under the present government dispensation.

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