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In 5 years the Cuncolim Council has spent Rs 0, of Finance Commission funds, on development

In 5 years the Cuncolim Council has spent Rs 0, of Finance Commission funds, on development

Rs 3.6 cr sanctioned from the 14th Finance Commission funds untouched; Combination of carelessness and red-tapism made the funds a low-hanging fruit, which could never be plucked

Vijay Dessai

CUNCOLIM: Cuncolim’s irony is almost laughable. Except that it’s very painful. As the tenure of the Cuncolim Municipal Council (CMC) is coming to an end, there is information that the council has not spent a single rupee form the Rs 3.6 crores sanctioned to it, from the 14th Finance Commission funds.

Of the Rs 3.6 crore, CMC was supposed to spend thirty lakhs in each of the twelve wards. Incidentally, three years ago, all the twelve councillors had submitted their list of development works to be taken up on priority in their respective wards. CMC engineers and officers did the survey and planning of development in all the twelve wards. Regarding the type of work that was to be taken up, some councillors had even put in a proposal for hot mixing of internal roads, whereas the others had listed construction of gutters and new roads.

The file was sent to the government for approval but due to technical and other errors, they were not cleared. Finally, political blessings succeeded in getting department works sanctioned during the tenure of then Chairperson Lavita Mascarenhas . Thereafter, the election code of conduct kicked in and the planned works could not take off.

However, even after the code ceased to function, reams of red-tapism blocked the sanctioned funds from being spent

Some of the projects like hot mixing of roads were started by local MLA Clafacio Dias but there were instances of the same projects being submitted under different heads and thereby getting rejected.

In another mater, a major commercial building project under the Golden Jubilee Finance scheme, which was sanctioned ten years back, has not been completed. The deadline for that was August.

Another commercial project of the Goa State Urban Development agency (GSUDA) is also in an incomplete state, due to the lack of funds. The contractor of the project claims that he has dues of about Rs 2 crores pending and has refrained from doing further work till this is cleared.

Some councillors and CMC officers have proposed using the 14 Finance Commission funds to compete the project before the tenure of the council ends, to record this as a feather in its cap.

But here’s the catch. Of the Rs 3.6 crores, it was proposed that Rs 3 crores should be spent on this one project alone, as opposed to so many other important but smaller works that had been proposed by councillors for their wards, which would help the common folk.

Thankfully, in this case, at least, some councillors did indeed oppose this and this move was blocked.

A lot of this information was courtesy one youth from Maddicoto ward, named Udesh Bhiku Naik Dessai, who filed an RTI, which revealed that not a single rupee has been spent on development works by CMC in the last five years.

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