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Lady Victim of ‘Power’ Abuse

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Corruption and abuse of power had been the hallmark of the previous Congress-led government. GoaChronicle.com brings to you the story of a woman (a mother of two minors) who was victimized using the political machinery, only because she stood up against corruption and illegalities of the former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao who to hit back used the then Education Minister Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monseratte as a potent tool; her plight still continues…

Celly Quadros e Coutinho living in Navelim, South Goa was working as an Associate Professor of Botany at the Quepem Government College until 11/10/2009. Besides, her professional career, the lady had actively participated and also vehemently voiced her grievances on numerous issues in the Navelim Gram Sabha and was also a part of a group of activists that opposed the corruption and illegalities of the then Public Works Department Minister and Navelim MLA Churchill Alemao in particular the Dongorim-Firgulem bridge (one of the many bridges proposed by the minister) and the removal of an illegal structure existing on the public road.

She was transferred mid-term to Sanquelim Government College.  And her reason for transfer as stated in the file noting is that the Minister of Education desired that she be transferred. However, no valid justification has ever been given to Coutinho till date other than the fact that she should compromise on her issues with the PWD Minister by the Director of Higher Education Bhaskar Nayak.

In a file noting of the Department of Higher Education signed by the then Education Minister and now MLA St Cruz Atanasio Monseratte it states, “The Hon’ble Minister for Education desires that Ms Celly Quadros e Coutinho, Lecturer in Botany, be transferred from Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Quepem immediately.”

The Director of Technical Education, Bhaskar Nayak, makes a note on the particular file, saying, “Normally transfers are made at the end of the academic year. However the government in the interest of better management of educational activities shall have the power to change the place of posting once a teacher completes 5 years or more”

When a RTI application was filed on the reasons for the mid-term transfer of Coutinho to the Sanquelim Government College, the answers received by the Public Information Officer were startling;

On being asked whether the college had proposed to the government for need of a lecturer for better management of education activities? The answer replied is ‘No’. On being asked whether any contract basis lecturer has been appointed in the Department of Botany in the college for 2010-11? The answer replied is ‘Yes’. On being asked for a copy of the Contract Order/Memorandum? The answer replied is ‘Yet to be issued’.

Besides being transferred mid-term without any reasons or following of the Government Transfer Guidelines. Coutinho continued to be a victim of professional and political harassment.

1. Her request for ‘No Objection’ to travel abroad in response to an invitation for an interaction with students and staff of a school in Sweden was not granted.
2.    Delay in granting her an increment on completion of Masters in Philosophy in spite of numerous reminders.
3.    Deliberate delay in sanction of Child Care Leave.

In her numerous complaint letters to the then Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and also in her recent complaint letter to the new Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, she clearly states in her complaint letter that she has been a victim of harassment by the former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao who has used his good offices with the then Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate.

When GoaChronicle.com spoke to the Director of Technical Education, Bhaskar Nayak via a telephonic conversation, he said, “Coutinho can still apply for her transfer and we would look into it.” However, when told that she has sent a complaint letter to the current Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on her allegations of deliberate harassment, he stated, “That the transfer were issued on the insistence of the former Minister for Education and constant harassment of the former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao. In fact, I received a lot of pressure myself by the former education minister because I was trying to protect Coutinho. Never in my career have I received such a tongue-lashing from a minister only because I was trying to be fair. But in my position there was little I could do. I tried to explain to her to not drag the matter forward politically. ”

When asked directly whether she was a victim of political harassment, he said, “Yes she was targeted by Churchill Alemao and he used his closeness to the former Education Minister to ensure that she would be transferred mid-term. I tried my best to work in her interest.”

While this is what the Director of Technical Education is saying now, in an affidavit filed in court by Coutinho on this issue, it states that the Director had candidly informed the husband that it would be in their best interest if they settled the matter with the PWD minister Churchill Alemao amicably.

When Coutinho first to the matter up to the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court, the court had issued a directive asking the Government of Goa to look into her transfer petition earnestly and had given them four weeks to resolve the same. However, four times her transfer was deferred to a later date. Following which Coutinho filed for Contempt of Court, to which the Government replied that the “Her transfer during mid-term would affect the education of the students studying in the Sanquelim College and her transfer would be considered at a later stage.”

Coutinho has been made a victim of the malafide transfer although work load for two full time lecturers existed and still exists in the Government College of Quepem where currently lecturers have been employed on a contract basis much to the loss of exchequer.

The allegations made against the former PWD minister Churchill Alemao by Coutinho – mother of two minor children- in her complaint letter to the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar are serious and also stand confirmed since the Director of Technical Education Bhaskar Nayak also confirms that he had taken his orders from the former Education Minister Babush Monseratte on the insistence of the PWD Minister Churchill Alemao. Loopholes in the Government Transfer Guidelines were used so that the intent to harass could be accomplished. Even though Coutinho asked for transfer back to Quepem College on medical and personal grounds, her transfer demands have been constantly negated by the Director of Technical Education. In fact in one of the file notings of her complaint letter sent to the Department of Technical Education – the Secretary Higher Education states that ‘Higher authorities may like to decide on the matter.”

Coutinho continues to be a lecturer at the Sanquelim Government College and is hoping for justice for fighting against corruption.

 

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