Old Goa: A resident of Ponda has complained to the Old Goa panchayat about rampant illegalities at the Old Goa feast fair.
In his complaint submitted to the panchayat on Monday, John Mascarenhas claimed that of the 633 stalls allotted, a majority of them have been sub-let. “It has been observed that the majority of the original allottees have sub-let their stalls to third parties,” Mascarenhas stated in his complaint.
Issue continues to remain unabated
Speaking to The Goan, Mascarenhas informed that he had earlier written to higher authorities about the issue but no concrete action has been taken.
He also raised the issue of the stalls operating beyond the deadline and demanded that this year, the allottees should be given strict directions to dismantle the stalls within the time limit.
Further, in his complaint Mascarenhas pointed out another irregularity of collection of sopo from unauthorized hawkers by the Sopo collector. “A Sopo of ₹50 is collected from the hawkers who are then allowed to do business in the space available on the road, in between the stalls,” Mascarenhas stated.
He further pointed out that some hawkers informed that they are being charged ₹200 while the original receipt issued is ₹50. “This is nothing but extortion and the matter needs to be investigated,” Mascarenhas added.
Hawkers pay a fee to Sopo collector to continue their business
When The Goan conducted an independent check, it was found that what Mascarenhas mentioned was true as the hawkers informed that they are allowed to sit in the open spaces as they pay a fee to the Sopo collector.
An ice-cream seller informed The Goan that even he is not allowed to venture inside the fair area without payment of ₹50. Some other hawkers also confirmed to The Goan that they are charged ₹200 when the original receipt is of ₹50.
“If we do not pay ₹200 then our items are being confiscated,” one of the hawkers informed.