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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Congress writes to Governor of Goa with an appeal to withdraw the ordinance of stopping house building allowance scheme.

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Panaji: The Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat today submitted a Memorandum to the Governor of Goa Bhagat Singh Koshyari demanding withdrawal of Ordinance number 10 of 2020 which has stopped the scheme of granting House Building Advance (HBA) to the employees of the State Government and further put a ban on them from protesting or approaching the Court of law against the decision of the Government.

Terming the Ordinance as a rude shock to the scores of Government employees who had a dream to have an affordable dwelling unit of their very own and to those who had availed the HBA at the beneficial rate of interest and had adjusted their monthly incomes to match the loan requirements besides the top up amount availed on loan, Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat has given an illustration in his memorandum on how it will adversely affect the employees who had already availed loans.

GPCC president Girish Chodankar took to twitter and posted “The @INCGoa is always prompt in taking actions when it comes to safeguarding interest of Common Man including @GovtofGoa Employees. We are confident that Justice will be Done & Truth will Prevail. We have full faith in judiciary. #HighCourt #HouseBuildingAdvance hinting that Congress party has moved into action to seek justice to the victims of the government ordinance.

Digambar Kamat has also said that government employees are the citizens of India and have equal democratic right to protest for their rightful demands and approach the court of law to seek justice. It is unconstitutional to put a ban on these rights given to each individual citizen by the constitution.

Digambar Kamat has also stated that he had written to the Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant on 12th June 2020 urging him to reconsider the decision.

Digambar Kamat in his memorandum has pointed out that the instructions issued by the government to transfer the loan availed under the HBA to a Banking Institution is without any thought of welfare for its employees and most regressive for the State and the People. The assumption of treasury receiving Rs. 300 Crores as liquidation of State guarantee is misnomer.

Many of these employees have approached me and I find that the decision of the State Government to be highly unreasonable, based on incorrect assumptions, without any thought of welfare for its employees and most regressive for the State and its people Digambar Kamat stated.

The real estate market is highly volatile with rising occupancy prices and it is nearly impossible for an employee to avail reasonable space within the Rs. 36 lakh maximum value of HBA eligibility. Many an employees have tried to maximize the HBA within the eligibility limit and have also availed private or institutional loans to top up the amount to procure a living space which they can call their own. Some who have family property or small land holdings have sought to build small housing units through this HBA.

Now, suddenly stopping the scheme and directing such employees to transfer their loans to a bank, has added up almost double the monthly installment for repayment of the new EMI, leaving nothing in their hands claimed Digambar Kamat.

He has brought it to the notice of the Hon’ble Governor that such a welfare measure for the employees of the State Government, have been continued since the Goa State Reorganization Act of 1987 came into force, and no Government, has ever tinkered with the scheme negatively leave alone withdraw it.

Understandably, the State has to repay the installment to the bank including its subsidy component being the difference between the contract interest rate of the designated Bank and 2% interest levied on the employee. This must be around Rs. 12 to 14 Crores a month. A pragmatic and practical approach or resolution would have been to enhance the rate of interest suitably, and adjust the higher amount payable against the retirement or terminal gratuity of the employees. The State can certainly spare Rs. 80 Crores a year for its employee benefits to have a shelter which they can proudly call their own.

By denying such a benefit to its employees and putting more fiscal hardships on the existing loanees is grossly anti Goan, as it goes against the fabric of Goan society to pull the rug from below of their fellow citizen and to bring about disruption in the process of someone who is building a home for themselves said Digambar Kamat.

By deliberately putting the employee to risk, the Government is also destroying the aspirations of the family unit, depriving them of the basic necessities and squeezing them dry of their monthly savings, which mostly end up being utilized for medical, educational, and spiritual needs otherwise.

I therefore, on behalf of my party, the Indian National Congress and all the 5000 odd employees who have availed the HBA and the tens of thousands who would be keen to avail such HBA; would appeal to the Governor to withdraw the Ordinance immediately and give relief to the government employees in these testing times of Covid pandemic Leader of Opposition said in his memorandum.

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