Salcete sarpanchas revive pitch for more powers to ZPs

ROQUE DIAS | NT

Margao

Several sarpanchas in Salcete taluka strongly pitched for
devolution of powers to zilla panchayats. Irked by the non-devolution of powers
over the years, they said the government should scrap the ZPs if it is not
interested in empowering the panchayat bodies.

‘The Navhind Times’ spoke to several incumbent as well
former sarpanchas in the taluka, who lamented the step-motherly treatment meted
out to the local self-governing bodies by the government.

ZP elections will be held in the state on March 22, and
have revived the long-pending demand from the panchayats for the devolution of
powers.

The sarpanchas
said that if the government is not ready to devolve the powers under the
73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution to the ZPs then it should discard
them.

However, a few of them have expressed hope that the
government will delegate the power to them.

Camorlim sarpanch
Basilio Fernandes said, “The government’s reluctance to devolve powers and allocate funds to the
ZPs to develop constituencies indicates
that the government wants to have
a top-to -bottom ‘working
structure’ – from legislators to the ZPs
and then to the village panchayats – and not as per
the Goa Panchayats Raj Act. If this is the approach
then the government should scrap the ZPs and perhaps even the village
panchayats.”

A woman sarpanch
urged the government not to look down upon the ZPs.

“If the government is intentionally denying the powers
and the funds then it is better to dispense with the ZPs in Goa…,” she
remarked.

Curtorim sarpanch Rui Menezes opined that more powers and
funds will help the ZPs function optimally.

“The government must explain as to why powers have not
been devolved to the ZPs. If the government has doubt about ZPs’ functional
capabilities then it should scrap them and strengthen the village panchayats
instead,” Menezes argued.

Another sarpanch from the taluka equated ZP members to
legislators, urging the government not to look down upon the ZP members.

“I do not know whether the ZP elections are held merely
as a formality. If the government really cares for the grassroots bodies then
it should strengthen the ZPs with powers and subjects,” he reckoned.

Former sarpanch of Aquem Baixo Siddhesh Bhagat is of the
opinion that Goa is a small state and hence the three-tier system is too
“congested” for it.

“The government should scrap the ZPs in the state rather
that ignoring them,” he reckoned.

The ZPs in the state were formed on the High Court
directives, and the first ZP elections
were held in 2000. The ZPs initially were entrusted with a few subjects on a
trial basis, which were later taken back.

The governments that were led by the BJP and the Congress
have been accused of not devolving powers to the ZPs.

Anguished by the non-devolution of powers, ZP members in
South Goa had even demanded scrapping of the panchayat bodies some years back,
although there has been increase in the funds handed down.
The post Salcete sarpanchas revive pitch for more powers to ZPs appeared first on The Navhind Times.

Source:: The Navhind Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *