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Not a regular occurrence: Gram sabha

Panjim/Margao: The Directorate of Panchayat has decided to seek a report from all 191 village panchayats (VPs) with regards to holding of the Gram Sabha’s as mandated under the Goa Panchayat Raj Act.

As per the Act, panchayat’s are bound to hold four ordinary meetings of the Gram Sabha any Sunday of January, April, July and October of every year, convened by the Sarpanch and special meetings of on 26th January, 15th August, 2nd October and 19th December, annually.

It later amended the act, wherein the first meeting of the Gram Sabha shall be held on the first Sunday of the month of May and the second meeting shall be held on the first Sunday of the month of November, of every year.

However, it has been observed by the Directorate of Panchayat that many VPs are violating the Act even instructions from the department and the Block Development Officer (BDOs).

One such example is of Carmona VP. The VP did not convene a gram sabha for the month of May. In fact the Salcete BDO had directed the panchayat to convene a gram sabha on 13th May which the panchayat did not do.

Speaking to HERALD, Director Panchayat Ajit Panchawadkar said that he will be writing to all the VPs to submit the report on the gram sabha’s held so far as per provisions of the Act.

“Once we get the report we will be in position to know how many VPs have held the Gram sabha’s. They will have to also place on record the resolutions passed in the meeting and also minutes of the meeting,” he said.

Meanwhile, the sources reveal that the department is helpless to penalize these panchayats as the penal provisions are not provided in the law. “We need to amend the Act to bring in penal action against the VPs that fail to hold gram sabha’s,” sources said. [H]

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