Shekar Khadapkar was on Tuesday elected unopposed as vice chairperson of Mormugao Municipal Council (MMC), but the meeting was dominated by the startling disclosure that three municipal staff were caught stealing diesel from garbage trucks at Headland Sada.
Khadapkar is the sixth vice chairperson the council has elected within three years of forming the council, as the post of chairperson is reserved for women.
Since Khadapkar was the lone councillor who had filed his nomination to the post of vice chairperson, the presiding officer, Mormugao Deputy Collector Gaurish Shankwalkar, declared him elected unopposed.
After the election meeting, MMC Chief Officer Agnelo Fernandes requested the councillors not to leave the hall as he wanted to disclose and discuss an important issue pertaining to the municipal employees.
He then displayed photographs of three employees who were caught stealing diesel from the garbage trucks at the garbage treatment site at Headland Sada and sought suggestions from the councillors.
Former chairperson and Councillor Manish Arolkar told Fernandes that the issue was first highlighted in the council during the last term by ex-councillor Shanti Mandrekar and all the three employees were merely given a warning.
“I had personally warned the three employees not to carry out the illegal activity, but it felt on the deaf ears of the three accused,” informed Arolkar and urged Fernandes to file an FIR with Vasco Police against the three employees and then initiate necessary action as per the municipal act.
Councillor Tara Kerkar also requested Fernandes to file an FIR with Vasco Police and then initiate disciplinary action against all three employees.
Councillor Saifullha Khan also supported the suggestions of Arolkar and Kerkar and advised Fernandes to act against the three accused.
Later speaking to Herald, Fernandes said: “As per suggestions from the councillors, I will file an FIR against the three employees and if necessary, I will suspend them pending enquiry.” [H]