Musical chairs spin the sarpanch posts in Salcete
Taluka’s 30 panchayats had 69 sarpanchas, 47 deputy sarpanchas in five years; Village corps chiefs in just six panchayats eventually
MARGAO: Although there are constant complaints that the government has not given adequate powers to the panchayats, the claim to be either the sarpanch or the deputy sarpanch seems to be widespread in Salcete since 69 sarpanchas and 47 sarpanchas deputies have served for the past five years in the 30 village panchayats of the taluka.
Significantly, in only six panchayats of Salcete, the elected sarpanch and deputy sarpanch completed the full five-year term without any change and these are the panchayats of Velim, Dramapur-Sirlim, Telaulim, Camurlim, Betalbatim and Orlim.
Of the remaining 24 panchayats, in 19 panchayats, changes in office were due to an agreement among elected panchayat members to hold these positions on a rotational basis.
The largest number of sarpanchas in the last five years in the taluka were in the panchayats of Varca and Rumdamol-Davorlim, where six people occupied this chair. Incidentally, as the sarpanch kept changing in Rumdamol-Davorlim, there was only one person namely Madhukala Shirodkar as deputy sarpanch for the five years.
The fact that women too were ready to participate in this sharing game was seen in Davorlim-Dicarpale which, although reserved for sarpanch ladies, had five different sarpanchas. In fact, after Flancy Gomes was elected as sarpanch, four other ladies rotated into that chair by mutual agreement.
Nuvem panchayat had the highest number of deputy sarpanchas as four people were elected to this position. In Davorlim-Dicarpale, Selaulim, Cana-Benaulim and Varca, three people became the assistant sarpanchas.
In five panchayats, the sarpanch resigned or was removed from office. In Paroda and Sarzora, the initially elected sarpanchas – Inacio Tereza and Sabita Mascarenhas respectively – were removed from office and both blamed the local MP at the time for their ousting. In Chinchinim-Deussua, the first sarpanch Flory Pereira resigned.
In Carmona, the sarpanchas were removed from office due to a change in political affiliation while in Chandor-Cavorim, sarpanch Celina Coelho Furtado resigned while deputy sarpanch Mafaldina Martins was removed from office.
Given this game of musical chairs, former Raia sarpanch Xavier Fernandes asked Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho to set certain criteria for an elected panch to become a sarpanch or deputy sarpanch and said that some other states l had already done.
He said neighboring Maharashtra has made education up to Class VII compulsory to become a sarpanch and also required anyone aspiring to be elected a sarpanch to issue a self-declaration of having toilets at their residence.
“Since Goa is an advanced state with a high literacy rate, I have requested that at least education up to senior secondary should be made compulsory for becoming a sarpanch or deputy sarpanch,” he said.