Margao civic meet: oppn councillors stage walkout over minutes’ issue

NT NETWORK

Margao

A high-voltage drama was witnessed at Margao
Municipal Council (MMC) meeting on Thursday as 13 opposition councillors staged
a walkout minutes after the meeting started claiming that the minutes were
manipulated and included what was not discussed and decided in the previous
meeting.

They protested by squatting in front of the
chief officer’s cabin and raised slogans for almost 45 minutes.

The protest drew the attention of all the employees
and visitors to the MMC.

Chairperson Babita Prabhudesai, however, continued with
the meeting with 11 councillors backed by Goa Forward Party (GFP)
being present and it ended in the backdrop of slogans that were being
chanted by the opposition councillors against the council. The 13 opposition
councillors, led by Rupesh Mahatme and Doris Texeira, who squatted in
front of the chief officer’s cabin, raised slogans until the chief
officer entered the cabin after the meeting.

They then submitted a memorandum stating that they
jointly boycotted the meeting and that they will not allow the minutes to
be confirmed.

BJP-backed councillor Suchita Malkarnekar was not
present for the meeting as she is out of station. MMC has in all 25
councillors.

“The minutes are always
manipulated. This happens with every meeting. The council, in its
last meeting, had decided to install the statue of Dr Jack de Sequeira at
the Margao Ravindra Bhavan circle. However, it was
not decided to appoint a consultant for it directly. MMC
should follow proper procedures. It was written in the minutes that the
council has decided to appoint a consultant to which we opposed. If the minutes
are confirmed without our consent we will approach court,” stated
councillors Rupesh Mahatme, Doris Texeira, Ketan Kurtarkar, Arthur
D’Silva. Mahatme cited the Supreme Court judgement as regards
the recording of minutes.

“Such a thing has
never happened in the past. We have never
seen such manipulations in the minutes, which is being done
to spend MMC money,” alleged Texeira while protesting at the
entrance of the chief officer’s cabin.

“We will not keep quiet. We will meet the chief
minister, chief secretary, urban development minister and all others
concerned,” stated the agitating councillors.

The councillors, who staged the
walkout, included Rupesh Mahatme, Ketan Kurtarkar, Arthur D’Silva,
Damodar Naik, Raju (Hardley) Shirodkar, Sharad Prabhudesai,
Doris Texeira, Manoj Masurkar, Deepa Shirodkar, Clara Fernandes, Avinash
Shirodkar, Suganda Bandekar and Jaffer Budani.

These BJP and Congress-backed councillors are
together likely to move a no-confidence motion against the
chairperson Prabhudesai.

The chief officer Naik told the
protesting councillors that he directly does not write the minutes of
the meeting.

He however said that “I will take a legal opinion on
the issue from my higher-ups and, accordingly, a decision will be taken.”

He nevertheless said that nothing would be
spent from the MMC coffers as regards the consultant issue. When asked, MMC chairperson Babita
Prabhudesai said that the minutes were prepared based on what was
discussed. “If there is any Supreme Court ruling in that regard, the
chief officer has to see it,” she said.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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