Low-income Bicholim VPs demand more funds for development works

BICHOLIM: The government has declared 11 out of 18 village panchayats in the Bicholim taluka as financially weak due to their low income. These panchayats have limited revenue resources – only house tax and  licence fees.

These low-income village panchayats get very less  grants,  which are sanctioned depending on annual revenue collection. And, so these panchayats have witnessed less development.

Considering this, the sarpanchas and panch members of these low-income village panchayats  have made a demand for more funds for  carrying out development works in their villages.

According to some sarpanchas, there are certain problems in their villages but they could be resolved by holding discussions.

Some of these villages have no regular water supply, toilet facility, playgrounds, healthcare facility, and power supply most of the time remains erratic.

Four out of 6 village panchayats from the Mayem constituency, which are declared  financially weak include Mayem-Vaigini, Piligaon,  Van-Mavlingem and Shirigaon.

Only two panchayats  Narva and Karapur-Sarvan are excluded from  the low-income category.

“The government had assured to construct playground in each village panchayat but the assurance has remained a mere assurance. Healthcare facility, toilet facility, crematorium, regular power and drinking water supply, and boost for farming are lacking. On the other hand, the  government is wasting a lot of money on construction of drains and its repair works,” said Mayem  sarpanch Vishwas Chodankar.

The government has failed to make an attempt to reach social welfare and other schemes to the villagers due to the lack of proper administration at the block development office, said ex-ZP Meghana Yende.

“The government should take up village development works on a priority basis, by taking the villagers into confidence. Biased, partial attitude and politically-motivated attitude should not come in the way of development of the rural areas. Most of the villages are linked by roads but  the villagers are deprived of basic facilities for a better life,” said Ramchandra Garde, ex-sarpanch of Piligaon panchayat and a BJP worker.

The village panchayats  - Latambarsem, Sal, Mencure-Dhumase, Advalpal and Mulgaon are financially weak, said a sarpanch adding the government had assured additional financial aid to these low-income panchayats but the assurance has not been fulfilled as yet.

“There should be a proper planning, vision and  policy in order to achieve development of rural areas,” said Sunil Sidhaye, a local from Nanoda village.

“Creation of basic facilities like healthcare, toilets, crematorium,  playground, better water and power supply system  in the villages should be given topmost priority instead of spending money on construction of drains and its repair work every year,” said Prashant Ghadi, sarpanch of Latmbarsem.

“Zilla panchayats should spend more money on development works and provide facilities to the villages with low income. Panch members should dedicate themselves for the welfare of the villagers, and  development of the village in the real sense,” said  Prakash Arondekar, panch member of Mulgaon panchayat.

In the Sankhali constituency, only two panchayats  - Velgem and Surla are  financially weak. The other panchyats - Kudne, Naveli, Amona, Pale-Kothambi and Harvalem are financially sound.

Members of  these panchayats are of the opinion that mining companies which are operating in these village areas should take initiative in providing facilities to the villagers here.

The villagers here are facing many problems including air pollution, bad roads, and untreated water supply, besides there are no healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and playgrounds here, they said.

The Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has recently said that no funds will be sanctioned for construction of drains, and the village panchayats should strictly see to it that funds are properly utilised.