Morjim says no to signboards in Russian

Morjim villagers were unanimous in demanding that signboards in the Russian language in the village be done away with. At a gram sabha on Sunday, local's objected to signboards of hotels, shacks, guest houses and even streets in Russian.

"Panchayat should immediately act and remove all the boards in Russian or any other foreign language. Traditional access roads should be opened and boards should not be allowed to come up again," villager Satish Shetgaonkar said.

Sarpanch Dhananjay Shetgaonkar said the panchayat will look into the matter.

The coastal village in north Goa is a major tourist draw and has several Russian-run restaurants, shacks and guesthouses whose signboards and menus are in the Russian language. Vitthaldas Waddo in Morjim, with a number of Russian restaurants, Russian speakers and a distinctly Russian atmosphere, has been nicknamed 'Mini Moscow', and Morjim village is on the road to being known as 'Mini Russia'.

Other issues that came up for discussion were lack of a public crematorium, garbage collection, illegal advertisement boards and illegal hotel projects.

The gram sabha was shifted to the open space in front of the panchayat office as the panchayat hall was unable to accommodate the large number of people who turned up for the meeting.

The sarpanch informed the gram sabha that the panchayat in meetings with local MLA Laxmikant Parsekar had conveyed the village requirements which include a separate police outpost, updated health centre, park, public crematorium, traffic island at the main junction, widening of roads and a solution to the garbage problem.

Villager Nivruti Shirodkar questioned how foreigners were running hotels and shacks in Morjim and the revenue generated from such businesses to the panchayat. The panchayat failed to provide a satisfactory answer. Shirodkar demanded action in the matter and imposition of tax on businessmen from outside the village.

Villager Vishwanath Azgaonkar charged the panchayat of not fulfilling resolutions passed at earlier gram sabhas. "Resolutions taken at gram sabha are supreme and are in the interest of the villagers. Panchayat should follow it up and fulfill the assurances given to villagers," Azgaonkar said.

Villagers also demanded that unnecessary speed breakers be removed, and that some be installed near the government school. [TOI]