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Office of Lokyukta issues order on govt officials over illegal construction of road

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Panaji: The office of state Lokayukta has ordered disciplinary action against former managing director of Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) Sanjit Rodrigues and Arpora panchayat secretary for helping a real estate company by using public fund and forcibly and illegally asphalting a muddy road passing from a private property of petitioner to provide access to a mega construction site. Rodrigues is currently the Commissioner of the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP).

This comes in response to a petition filed by Anthony D’Souza in 2017 against former secretary of Arpora-Nagoa panchayat Rui Cardozo, Arpora sarpanch Geeta Nagvekar,  and GSIDC, alleging abuse and misuse of power and maladministration by helping a private estate company to convert a three-metre wide kuccha road to public road on oral instructions of local MLA.

In the order dated September 4, the office of the Lokayukta has stated that former managing director of GSIDC Sanjit Rodrigues was “nefarious” in his decision to undertake the work of asphalting the muddy pathway by spending from public exchequer without any resolution and work order or by carrying out land acquisition process, on the instructions of local MLA.

The office of the Lokayukta added that major disciplinary proceeding should be initiated against Rodrigues for dereliction of duty for getting road constructed without any regard to law of land. And if found guilty, apart from other appropriate punishments, the question of recovery of the expenditure incurred for constructing and tarring the road should be considered.

The office of the Lokayukta also expressed surprise over involvement of local MLA and the way the company approached him for help and to get the road tarred to obtain town and country planning department approval after the authority refused to grant the technical clearance to the project on the ground that the road was muddy and access to the property was less than six metres.

The office of the Lokayukta said, in the reply filed by Rodrigues before the institution, he has admitted that the said work was undertaken on the instruction of local MLA Micheal Lobo. “It is the eternal shame of this nation including Goa that spineless people like Sanjit Rodrigues are protected by their political godfathers and they are rewarded in their service career by being promoted ahead of more forthright officers and being posted in one lucrative post to another lucrative post. It is also eternal shame that persons like Rodrigues tend to create vested interest by carrying favour from unscrupulous politicians, who without batting an eyelid indulge in favouritism,” the office of the Lokayukta stated in the order.

It is to be noted that Rodrigues was among the eight officers of the Goa Civil Service who recently got promoted to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in the AGMUT cadre.

Taking cognisance of the false affidavit, the Lokayukta ordered disciplinary proceeding against the panchayat secretary for showing favouritism to the private company.

“When the private party itself said that the pathway was less than five metres in many places and even the town and country planning department and other public functionaries on inspection had found that the width of the so-called road was between 3.20 metres and 2.20 metres at many places and when in fact the benefactor, MLA himself, had written to that effect, it would be difficult to understand on what basis the secretary had blatantly filed a false affidavit,” the order stated.

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