Margao (Goa), March 30: A young civil servant has captured the minds and hearts of people in this south Goa town, so much so that civil society activists have threatened to protest if the official is transferred. Posted as chief officer of the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) four months back, 2012 batch Indian Administrastive Service (IAS) officer veen S.L. took many steps to simplify government rules and mechanisms for the common citizen and taking on vested interests. In a matter of a week, he inspired two protests: one demanding his transfer by 16 out of 20 councillors and another demanding that he stay put, by civil society and young political activists.
Those supporting veen, a trained computer engineer, said while the pro-public and transparent mechanisms initiated by the 33-year-old officer have irked the councillors, the real reason why they want him ousted was a notice veen issued on Monday, ordering demolition of an illegal construction belonging to Mayor Gonzaco Rebello. Rajashri garcekar, a Margao dweller, told IANS: “The councillors of Margao have been holding a protest against the officer on grounds that they cannot function under him and other issues.
“But we know that the main reason is because the chief officer has ordered the demolition of an illegal structure which belongs to the mayor.” She is one of the many dozen activists who held the 16 councillors, including Rebello, to siege on Friday, demanding veen should not be transferred. As a quasi judicial officer, veen in his order on March 24 said: “The court feels that having considered all the arguments, the structure (in question) has indeed been gifted to MMC in 2013 and thus forms (a part of) municipal property.”
“As such, Section 174 (of the Goa Municipalities Act) rightfully applies to this structure which, as per transgress report, belongs to one Julio Rebello, and is occupied by Gonzaco Rebello. As such, the court deems it fit to issue a demolition order without notice as per Section 174 of Goa Municipalities Act.”
Mayor Rebello and the councillors, who are demanding the officer’s ouster, however claimed that their demand has nothing to do with the demolition order. “We cannot work with him that is all. He has lost our confidence,” the mayor said, not preferring to comment on the demolition notice. His aide Damodar Shirodkar, who along with his colleagues had staged a protest against veen on March 25, alleged that he has proof of corruption by the officer. Shirodkar could however produce no evidence, after civil society activists demanded an explation from him during their siege of the elected representatives on Friday. (IANS)