Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Goans bracing for big battle against "panchayat hijack"

The brewing anger stemming amongst Goans against the draconian panchayat raj amendment bill 2009, which seeks to snatch away the powers of the panchayat body and vest them in the bureaucracy, is slowly gathering momentum and various individuals, organisations and village bodies are slowly mustering collective support in a bid to converge in a mass agitation movement to compel the government to do a rethink on the ridiculous amendment to the law. If the citizens galvanize in full force against the amendment, Goa could witness a repeat of the agitation which forced the government to scrap the regional plan 2011 in 2007.

Goans protesting panchayat act amendment

Among the various forums which have been scathingly vocal about the unjust amendment which seeks to do away with the voice of the village bodies, the newly baptised "panchayat democratic forum" has vowed to launch an agitation to protest the amendment untill it is withdrawn.

The "panchayat democratic forum", a body which comprises of sarpanchas, panch members and activists from all over Goa has conducted its first meeting on Tuesday, August 11 2009 and has first decided to approach the office of the governor to impress upon him not to give his assent to the draconian amendment. All the speakers at the meeting unleashed a vitriolic attack on the government which they said would nullify the powers if the panchayats of Goa.

the director for the Centre of panchayati raj Mr Soter D'Souza pointed out  that the amendment is an effort to usurp the powers of the panchayat and termed the move as unconstitutional. He also blamed the opposition to be part of the plot to facilitate the amendment during the recent assembly session. Mr D'souza said that the government does not want to follow the model Panchayati raj act because it is not interested in devolving powers to the panchayat.

Advocate Thalmann Pereira lambasted the government saying that benevolent dictatorship is not acceptable and sought the democracy to be in the hands of the people who should decide about their representatives depending upon their performance.

The various speakers lamented that the panchayats and over 189 sarpanchas have been ignored and not taken into confidence regarding the bill and that the powers of the panchayat were being taken away and given to the panchayat secretaries which would encourage manipulation by vested interests.

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