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‘Clash’ over requisition of officials delays census work in South Goa  

ROQUE  DIAS | NT

MARGAO  : The sixth minor irrigation census and  the  first-ever  water body   census have failed to take off in Salcete  and Mormugao talukas as senior officials in the mamlatdar and BDO offices   have crossed swords over the requisition of the talathis,  who have also been put in for the work on electoral process being carried out in the light of the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

The census was supposed to begin in  January. And in fact, the census   work has already begun in other talukas of the state. However, the work has not yet begun in Salcete, and also in Mormugao taluka, as Salcete mamlatdar office has refused to allow the requisition of officers for the census work, delaying the training programme for the chosen staff.

Reliable sources said  the Salcete  BDO, who has been appointed by the department of planning and statistics and evaluation  and  minor irrigation  census commissioner Dr Y  Durga Prasad as the taluka-level officer  in-charge  for the census work, had ordered eight  talathis  from the  Salcete mamlatdar office and five  officials  from  the  South  Goa district  rural agency  office to attend the  training programme, which  had been scheduled for  January 28, for conducting the  census.

The order to this effect, a copy of which is with ‘The Navhind Times’, had been issued on January 21. However,  on  January 25, Salcete mamlatdar   Joao  Fernandes  wrote  to  BDO  Amitesh Shirvoikar stating that the  talathis of his office cannot be relieved  for the census  work as the mamlatdar office has also  received  an order from the South Goa district collector stating that the talathis are required for checking  EVMs and VVPATs from January 28, 2019 till the  completion of the electoral process for the  Lok Sabha polls.

The order issued on January 23 by district collector Agnelo Fernandes  stated that  as per the instruction of the  Election Commission of  India – and as a preparatory measure for the parliamentary elections – the first level  checking of the  EVMs and  VVPATs would  commence  from   January 28.

The district collector’s order named the same talathis, who had been roped in by the BDO for the census work.

Commenting on the piquant situation, an officer in  the Salcete mamlatdar office said, “Why the BDO is not engaging panchayat secretaries for the census work? Why not even a single panchayat  secretary  has been asked to do the  census  work? Why the staff of mamlatdar and other offices are being requisitioned?”

Countering this point, sources in the BDO office argued  that schedule for Lok Sabha elections have not yet been announced, adding that the  mamlatdar and the district collector  could have  allowed the  talathis to attend the training  and at least some talathis could have been requisitioned.

“We must not forget that we all do government work. We understand the need for requisition…why did the mamlatdar and the district collector inform us at the last minute?  We had booked the hall for the January 28 training programme… food had also been ordered. Everything was ready…. This is bad administration,” the BDO sources  said.

It is understood  that  the  BDO  office has managed to get the  necessary  staff  for the  census  work and  the training programme has now been scheduled for February 12. The programme will be held for the requisitioned staff of  Salcete taluka.

The sixth minor irrigation census the first-ever water body   census now could  begin on February 13 in Mormugao and Salcete  talukas.

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