St Cruz villagers expressed their opposition to any proposal including their village within the jurisdiction of the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP), stating they had agitated enough in the past for a distinct identity for themselves.
Voicing their hostility to any such proposal, the gram sabha chaired by deputy sarpanch Tony Fernandes adopted a unanimous resolution in a bid to nix any such move by the government, alleging that this may be done to carve more area for construction purposes as the city and neighboring Taleigao have reached a saturation point.
The issue of merger into CCP limits, which was taken up even though raised late, dominated the gram sabha and sparked off a heated debate. Members recalled they had held a rasta roko near Four Pillars, a few years back, to resist any proposal of merger and put the issue beyond doubt. “Even local MLA Victoria Fernandes had resorted to hunger strike to reinforce the villagers’ opposition to such a proposal,” a resident said.
Villagers expressed the view that the inclusion may have been thought of only to carve out more space for construction activity and not for any genuine reason. A resolution was passed, seeking to reject any merger proposal.
The issue of garbage management also irked some members as they felt that the panchayat had not shown interest in taking up an offer by campaign managers of Chaka Chak Goa (CCG) to set up a system for collection of plastic waste at the village level.
“The panchayat’s garbage committee is non-functional and has only met once or twice since its formation some years back,” a villager alleged. Members demanded that a new committee be formed within a week if the existing panel continues to show lethargy in its functioning. The sarpanch also ignored the CCG offer twice to help the panchayat in evolving a collection system, villagers said.
One of the main problems experienced by villagers is lack of suitable land for composting garbage. A private trust has placed six bins in the village for collection of plastic waste, but workers were disappointed to find that even wet waste was dropped inside, sources said.
At present, workers engaged under the national rural employment guarantee scheme are being utilized for collection and disposal of garbage. “It is either being dumped or burnt, but it is not the right method,” a villager said. The purpose of installing bins for collection of only plastic waste should be explained to villagers, it was felt.
The panchayat was then urged by members to accept the CCG offer of assistance to set up the weekly or fortnightly plastic waste collection system in the village.
The issue of non functional street lighting, theft of fixtures such as bulbs and a few other issues were also taken up at the meeting.