Panaji widened across Mandovi

| 27 August 2002 22:32 IST

In spite of a stiff opposition, Goa government has passed the bill to make Panaji a municipal corporation, incorporating fully or partly nine more villages around the capital city.

While the legislation was introduced and passed within two days, the BJP government faced a stir including morcha and bandh from the villagers while the opposition Congress legislators also raised a pandemonium in the House and later staged a walk out last night.

Rather than the decision to extend boundaries of Goa's capital city even across river Mandovi, everybody is surprised that majority part of the Taleigao, adjacent to Panaji, is now de-linked from the existing Panaji municipal area, reverting it back to the village panchayat.

Incidentally, the nine newly incorporated villages belong to five Assembly constituencies belonging to the opposition legislators while the excluded municipal area belongs to the ruling minister Babush Monseratte, of the United Goans Democratic Party.

"It is a politically motivated decision, the reason for which neither the concerned MLAs nor the village sarpanchas were taken into confidence", alleged Congress deputy leader Dayanand Narvekar. Two villages of his Aldona constituency will be now part of Panaji municipal corporation.

Bowing before the public pressure, though the BJP hurriedly passed the bill, made an amendment later to implement it only after consulting the elected representatives. "The corporation is a necessity of the hour and not a political requirement", stated chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

While Panaji is rapidly expanding in the adjacent villages like Taleigao, St Cruz, Merces and even Bambolim, the Porvorim plateau across the Mandovi river has also developed as a township. Situated on a hillock, the Porvorim plateau is surrounded by six villages.

Secondly, the government has already shifted its Assembly complex in Porvorim while the Secretariat complex is also coming up adjacent to that, besides several other important government offices. Similarly, important complexes like GMC hospital, Goa University etc are also being shifted to places like Bambolim, a village adjacent to Panaji.

As no village panchayat is in a position to provide planned support like roads, sanitation, drainage and other facilities to the expanded housing and other government complexes, the corporation primarily seeks to provide proper infrastructural support to the whole area, under one roof.

The areas incorporated are thus entire villages of St Cruz and Bambolim adjacent to Panaji, besides parts of Merces village. Similarly, across the Mandovi river, it is the whole village of Penha da France, besides parts falling in Porvorim but belonging to Reis Magos, Pilerna, Sangolda, Socorro and Salvador do Munde.

Francis Silveira (St Andre), Victoria Fernandes (St Cruz), Dayanand Narvekar (Aldona), Anthony Fernandes (Calangute) of the Congress as well as Dr Wilfred de Souza (Saligao) of the NCP represent these areas.

Though Parrikar claims that only village part of Taleigao is excluded from the existing Panaji municipality, minister and Taleigao MLA Babush Monseratte appears to have succeeded in fulfilling his election promise to bring majority part of it back to the village panchayat, which was merged into the Panaji municipality in 1994.

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