MARGAO: Ward number 16 of the Margao Municipal Council is a mixture of the affluent and the not so affluent. The affluent include a lot of NRIs and the not so affluent comprise the labour class that is mainly concentrated in and around bandh and Azad Nagar.
The present chairperson of the council, Mr Savio Coutinho has represented this ward since June 1995. “I have been a councillor from this ward for the past 15 years. Earlier it was ward no 6, but now it is ward number 16. Only the number has changed but not the area,” he said.
He argued that when he was elected people had never experienced the services of the council. “Only after I became a councillor were the services of the council extended to this area.”
“New roads were built during my tenure. There was a long pending demand for roads especially in Chinchal where people had to walk on tyres during the monsoon. Here I got a road built. In Colmorod too a new road was built,” he added.
But now there is a catch. His ward is becoming a ladies ward and this has made him put his better half, Ms Pratima, an advocate and Goa Pradesh Youth Congress vice president, as his candidate in this ward. He, however, hastened to add that she would be contesting not as the wife of Savio but on her own merit. This was endorsed by Pratima who said, “I do not require the help of my husband. I can stand on my own.”
Listing her priorities, she said she would be concentrate on three issues – garbage, lights and water – even while pointing out that Mr Coutinho has done at least 75 per cent of the job in the last 15 years.
However, Pratima is not likely to have an easy run. Sources in the ward said there are groups in Colconde and Colmorod who are waiting for the Chief Minister to finalise a candidate to oppose her.
The BJP too has still not finalized a candidate and its state youth wing chief and ex-councillor, Mr Rupesh Mahatme told media that this should happen by Thursday. (NT)


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