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Paroda ‘victimised’ for being Cong bastion

Paroda: The Paroda panchayat that forms part of Cuncolim constituency despite having a dynamic sarpanch who initiated a lot of novel things, has not seen much development in the last five years as it was victimized for being headed by a person known to be Congressman.The seven members elected to this panchayat when elections were held on May 16, 2012 are: Deepak Kharangate, Merciana Rodrigues, Espertina Rodrigues, Dilip Gaonkar, Bernard Sucoro Rodrigues, Francisco Xavier Dais and Xavier Vales.
Deepak Kharangate was elected the sarpanch and remained in office for the full term.
However, while Espertina Rodrigues was elected deputy sarpanch, she remained in office for only one year as per the agreement and then resigned following which Merciana Rodrigues was elected as deputy sarpanch.The panchayat has been conducting its gram sabhas regularly with an average attendance of about 25 member and the issues discussed are normally pertaining to the development in the village.The panchayat has constituted the three standing committees — supervisory, road safety, health and sanitation — but they never met. Even though the Village Development Committee has been constituted it has not meet for a long time as funds to the tune of around Rs 2 lakh under the 14th Finance commission has not yet been released to the panchayat.
That the panchayat has been victimized is evident from the fact that it has not received any funds from the government except for matching grants and that too after a great struggle to show how the panchayat has increased its revenue.Paroda panchayat is one of the few panchayats in Salcete where owners have to pay money to the panchayat for keeping people on rental basis in their houses. The panchayat charges all land owners who have rented their premises a flat rate of Rs 500 per annum and about 95 per cent of the people have paid this amount. The sarpanch along with the ward member and secretary visited every household to survey how many had rented out their premises.Similarly, the panchayat has recovered house tax and trade tax arrears that were pending for the last nearly 15 years and even collected Rs 15,000 from some of the villagers. The sarpanch admits that they could do this only because the government had routed the new ration cards through the panchayat. However, though Rs 2.10 lakh was collected as house tax, Rs 2.56 lakh is yet to be recovered.
Ironically, though the village has a petrol pump in its jurisdiction, the government has not even given the panchayat the octroi due to it which works out around Rs 19 lakh.The proposal to acquire land to construct a panchayat ghar has also been dropped by the government after issuing the notification under Section 6 for acquisition.Around 159 villagers are registered under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and various works under this scheme have been undertaken including cleaning of drains, construction of embankment, etc.“The financial position of the village panchayat is good,” observed the auditors in the audit report of the panchayat for the year 2015-2016 as of the Rs 70.37 lakh available while closing, Rs 58.06 lakh was from the panchayat funds. Incidentally, the panchayat budget indicates that it expects Rs 42.24 lakh as grants from the government while the panchayat will raise Rs 61 lakh. The panchayat has also utilized funds available under the Tribal Welfare to the tune of Rs 7.20 lakh.
The panchayat has leased out premises to the Electricity Department which however is not paying the rent regularly and its arrears of the last five and a half years works out to Rs 93,600.The village has two canals passing through it, one being the Paroda canal and the other the Selaulim dam canal and both are a big boost as they keep agriculture alive in the village.Stray cattle is not a major problem in the village as the owners take good care of the animals since they are required for help in agriculture and also dairy farming. In fact, the Goa Dairy has a farmers’ co-operative society in the village that is a collection centre for milk. [H]

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