Church slams TCP for disempowering people


Coming down heavily on the chief town planner (CTP) for contending that gram sabhas have no rights to discuss construction projects, the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) has criticized the CTP and the state director of panchayats for recently circulating a legal opinion that gram sabhas have no rights to discuss construction projects.
Fr Savio Fernandes, CSJP director, said that the CTP view was surprising as it goes against empowerment under Panchayati Raj. He also slammed the director of panchayats for circulating the note to all panchayats in the state without checking the legal implications, and said this was an attempt to confuse gram sabhas on their right to decide about developments in their village. Soter D'Souza, executive coordinator of the department for governance, CSJP, said that hrough the moves of the CTP and director of panchayats, the attitude of the executive was evident. He said "the CTP has overstepped his mandate."
D'Souza said that anyone who is aggrieved by decisions of the gram sabha can approach the director of panchayats, and the CTPs move was ill intended. He further said that "the CTP has taken keen interest in disempowering the people."
Referring to a Supreme Court judgement delivered in 2012 in a petition filed by the Calangute panchayat, D'souza said that the Supreme Court has noted that every interpretation of the law has to be in line with the 73{+r}{+d} constitutional amendment that empowers gram sabhas to decide.
He demanded that "the government should pull back its totally misleading opinion." D'souza sad the people may have to agitate if this was not done. The CSJP has submitted a letter in this regard to the chief secretart and the director of panchayats. [TOI]