A sad and bad day indeed it was when the Panchayat Minister announced that the agenda of subjects for discussion at gram sabha meetings will be decided by the panchas. If so, what is the point in having a gram sabha meeting?
The people wish to discuss issues which will affect the village and the villagers. By taking away the agenda from the people and giving it to the panchas to decide what is to be discussed or what is not to be discussed is ridiculous. Rather than give more power to the panchas and the people - a decentralization process - the government is preparing a war situation between the panchas and members of the village. Isn't the government aware how important it is for both to work together to solve the problems in the village? Both the panchas and the villagers belong to the village, and the village belongs to both of them, and so what is the logic in creating a war situation where both groups are on opposite sides to destroy each other rather than work together? If the people of the village, for example, are against a project as it is destroying the village environment then it allows the panchas to ignore their wishes and bulldoze their way irrespective of the wishes of the people. Is this democracy? The Panchayat system is intended to give more power to the people. It is to strengthen grassroots democracy. The government is creating a situation of fear and taking away the fundamental rights of the people which is contrary to the purpose of the panchayat system. The Congress did not strengthen the Panchayat system and neither is the BJP government. Do both governments want to muzzle the voice of the people and snuff out the voice of the people? Is this Goemkarponn? Villagers all over Goa are shocked at how the government is including their villagers in ODPs without consulting them. The villagers are on fire! If this continues then the whole of Goa will be engulfed in a civil war, a fight between the villagers and the panchas. Now this is a new problem created by the government which will lead to disharmony all over Goa. The announcement has been made without due application of mind. It is not too late to think seriously, and deeply, and analyze the negative impact of it. And, finally, rescind this aberration. In Goa with agitations taking place everywhere it is not the time to pour oil on fire.