PWD Minister Churchill Alemao while dismissing MLA Damodar Naik’s allegation of a scam in the distribution of water storage tanks, admitted that he preferred to indulge in political machinations rather than coming clean on the matter on the floor of the House.
Speaking to media persons on Tuesday morning at his office at Varca, he said the distribution of tanks was undertaken under the head of maintenance of the PWD and asserted that there is a scheme in place.
However, when questioned, he said he did not announce the scheme on the Floor of the House when Damodar Naik raised the issue and said he would present the scheme at an appropriate time. “Till that time let people criticize the tank distribution and earn the ill will of the beneficiaries of this move,” he said.
He also opined that the Bharatiya Janata Party is not interested in doing anything for the poor and added that Damodar Naik’s objections to the tank distribution was another manifestation of this policy.
It may be recalled that Damodar Naik had raised this issue in the Assembly claiming it to be a scam as there was no proper scheme with the PWD to distribute water storage tanks nor was there administrative or financial sanction for such a project.
Churchill said the tanks were being provided to the poor people in order to enable them to store water for one day as it takes 24 hours to fill up the water supply tanks in the event of any power failure even of two minutes.
However, he admitted that there is no criteria fixed to determine the economic status of the beneficiary and the beneficiary is identified solely on the recommendation of the local pancha or sarpanch without even an Affidavit being sworn in this regard.
While stating that the tanks were procured from the Goa Handicrafts Rural and Small Industries Development Corporation, he admitted that tanks worth around Rs 5 lakhs were supplied by Elvis Gracias, husband of his close ally Farrel Furtado. He however, asserted that Elvis bagged the contract after following the laid down procedure including a tendering process.
He also arranged for the sarpanchas of various villages to be present to vouch for the scheme and how it had benefitted the people.
But the fact remains that there is no economic criterion fixed for the beneficiary which is left to the discretion of the local panch or panchayat which could result in distributing them as election goodies.