The Raia Panchayat is facing a crisis of sorts as the budget estimates for the next financial year have not been approved with the postponed Gram Sabha held on Sunday being termed illegal by the Sarpanch Savio Gomes.
It may be recalled that the last Gram Sabha held on 13th March witnessed uproarious scenes with the villagers gathering under the banner of Goa State Scheduled Tribes Action Committee demanding the Sarpanch’s resignation for holding a “non-ST convention” in the village. They took umbrage to the usage of “non-ST” term claiming it to be derogatory to the ST community.
Agitated villagers forced the panchayat members including the Sarpanch to vacate the dais and the meeting was then chaired by another panch member who adjourned the meeting and called for another one on 27th March.
However, when the villagers gathered at the Panchayat Ghar for the Gram Sabha they found the door locked following which they marked to the market area and held a meeting there. Panch member Judas Quadros addressing the open air meeting criticized the Sarpanch for not attending it since the budget estimates were to be discussed.
Another panch member Esmeralda Gomes also addressed the crowd and thanked the villagers for turning up in large numbers. The apology tendered by the Sarpanch for hosting the convention was rejected outright and the demand for his resignation was reiterated.
However, the Sarpanch Savio Gomes said since the meeting was not called by him, it was illegal as the Goa Panchayat Raj Act empowers only the Sarpanch to convene a Gram Sabha.
He however, said he would discuss with the Director of Panchayats about the budget for the ensuing financial year as the same has not been approved by the Gram Sabha as mandated by the law.