Blaming his predecessors for the sorry state of affairs in the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Minister for Rural Development Michael Lobo assured the Goa Legislative Assembly to revamp the DRDA and provide adequate manpower and vehicles to South Goa office. “District Rural Development Agency has now become a department and we are in the process of filling all the vacant posts in the RDA. We will provide all required infrastructure in terms of manpower and other facilities. As an immediate measure, we will provide two junior engineers and one assistant engineer from the PWD to the South Goa DRDA office. Steps will also be taken to provide two vehicles for the department within the next 15 days,” Lobo said. The RDA Minister was responding to BJP MLA Alina Saldanha who described the condition in South Goa DRDA office as pathetic. She said gross injustice was being done to the South Goa DRDA as only one Executive Engineer was provided to the department whereas the North Goa office had full strength of one EE, one AE and two junior engineers. Further, she also said that in the absence of vehicles the officials were not able to visit the site and inspect the ongoing works. “The DRDA has many ongoing development works in South Goa, including in Cortalim constituency. To do all these works there is need of technical staff. Also, with no vehicles at the disposal of the staff, monitoring of works is also affected,” Saldanha said.
Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao said when he had taken over as minster of RDA he had streamlined the department. “Earlier, no one was ready to accept RDA portfolio. When I took over, I brought a lot of funds from the Centre. There are funds available in the RDA, one only needs to tap them,” Alemao said. Lobo assured the House to take steps to revive the RDA department on top priority. “This department was neglected by people in the past. The ministers who were in-charge of RDA did not take interest in the department. We will revamp the department by taking all the members into confidence. We will get more funds both from State and Centre and get works done,” he said.