Local Goa News

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Panaji market sopo collection scam will be probed: CM

PANAJI: Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, on Friday, assured the state legislative assembly that crime branch of the state police would investigate the Sopo collection scam, pertaining to the Panaji municipal market, further rejecting the demand to stop the grants to the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) for collapse of its administration.

The head of the ruling panel at the CCP and St Cruz MLA Atanasio Monserrate, confirming the collapse of administration at the corporation, said that there is no co-ordination between the CCP council and its administration.
“Apart from an investigation into the sopo collection scam, the crime branch should also probe all the aspects linked to the CCP administration,” he demanded, holding the CCP Commissioner responsible for lack of co-ordination between the CCP council and its administration.
Monserrate further stated that one Rajan Mayenkar, a contractor was responsible for the sopo collection fiasco, and therefore, should have been blacklisted much earlier by the corporation, due to the large sopo-related arrears against his name.
Earlier, the city MLA Sidharth Kunkalienkar, who raised a related question during the Question Hour, brought to the notice of the House that the sopo collection in the Panaji municipal market has deteriorated since 2011-12, when it stood at Rs 44.54 lakh to 2015-16, when only Rs 19.99 lakh were collected. Kunkalienkar also charged that the cheques deposited by the sopo collector in the name of CCP have bounced repeatedly, with the collected money filtering outside the corporation.
He further demanded that the grants to the CCP should be stopped.
Stating that prima facie there appears to be breakdown in the CCP administration, Deputy Chief Minister, Francis D’Souza said that the government however cannot direct the CCP how to run its administration, as it is a Sthanik Swarajya Sanstha, or a local self-governed body. “The government also cannot stop grants to it, as that would make the councillors suffer,” he observed.
Sankhali legislator Pramod Sawant said that there are only two contractors involved in the Sopo collection work, and it should be probed if there is any third party, who had participated in the bid for this work.
Ponda MLA Lavu Mamledar spoke about uniform sopo rates for the entire state, when D’Souza, who also holds the Urban Development portfolio, said that even if he makes a try in this direction, it would not be possible to bring uniformity in the sopo rates as charged all over the state.

NT Network Goa News

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