Candolim gram sabha meeting was held last Sunday with the participation of Candolim sarpanch Blaize Fernandes and locals. During the meeting, the GoaMiles-private tourist taxis issue became the most anticipated topic as local private tourist taxi owners demanded that the panchayat intervene and direct resorts and hotels not to allow GoaMiles cabbies.
Blaize Fernandes said they are supportive of the private tourist taxi owners from the village and would request hotels not to allow the app-based taxi service to pick up passengers.
While the clashes between local taxi drivers and GoaMiles escalating day by day the local taxi drivers had earlier warned that drivers of GoaMiles would not be allowed to pick up customers from the coastal belt.
Private cabbies claim a drastic drop in their business since the pandemic arrived. Earlier this month, some of the GoaMiles drivers were also allegedly assaulted by tourist taxi drivers and left with injuries.
The draft coastal zone management plan (CZMP) also came up for discussion. Fernandes said the panchayat has already sent its objections to the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) because the plan made by the panchayat incorporating the suggestions of the villagers does not reflect in the draft. A resolution to oppose the draft CZMP was adopted.
The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) recently submitted the draft CZMP to the state government. But since then many villages in Goa have rejected the draft citing various reasons of poor mapping and detailing in the draft.
During the meeting, the gram sabha also approved the budget proposals for the year 2021-22 amounting to Rs 131,235,179.
Replying to another query, the sarpanch said the panchayat has taken the services of a private security agency to round up beggars, touts, and others from the roads and requested people to telephone if they see any of them again. The phone numbers were provided at the gram sabha. The sarpanch, however, expressed helplessness over the same problem on the beach as it comes under the jurisdiction of the tourism department.
Addressing an issue raised by Resort owner Lawrence Silveira, urging the panchayat to address the stray dogs problem on the beach, stating that recently one of his guests was attacked and suggesting that the panchayat build a dog shelter, Blaize Fernandes replied that they do not have land for a dog shelter, but added that they would look into the issue.
A stall owner on the Candolim promenade, Damien Teles, said the changing rooms and toilet facility on the beach has been functioning without electricity making it dangerous to go there at night. He claimed the electricity has been disconnected because the contractor has not paid the bills, and urged the panchayat to take over the facility and operate it for its smooth functioning.