The Sarpanch of Shiroda Panchayat Amit Shirodkar who happens to be the brother of former Congress MLA Subhash Shirodkar who switched sides and jumped over to the BJP, today insulted and abused a woman activist and social worker Adv Diya Shetkar when the latter tried to intervene in an argument between the fisher-folk and the Panchayat.
According to our reporter who was present at the venue when the fracas occurred, Adv Diya Shetkar who runs an NGO Nari Adhikar intervened in a dispute between the sarpanch and the local fisher-folk of the area.
The fisher-folk who sell fish inside the Shiroda market premises were upset because the Panchayat collects sopo from the fisher-folk who sit in the market but does not collect it from outsiders who sells their wares in and around the area.
“We are selling our fish inside the market. The other vendors sit outside the market and around the entire area and do not pay a single paisa to anyone. They sell their fish at a slightly discounted price, while we are unable to sell our stuff,” a fisher women told IndiaScoops.com.
The fisher-folk marched to the Sarpanch’s office to complain about the other “outside” vendors and an argument issued. When social activist and women’s rights lawyer Adv Diya Shetkar tried to intervene, the sarpanch insulted her and told her to get out. He said he didn’t want to speak to her (Adv Diya Shetkar) and told her she had no right to be there.
“I am a social worker and my NGO Nari Adhikar has been working in this area for the last 2 years. We have conducted several programs for the women of this area. When I tried to reason with the Sarpanch Amit Shirodkar, he bluntly and rudely asked me to get out of his office, saying that I had no business to be in the premises. The Sarpanch’s office is a public office and as an advocate and a social worker, I have every right to intervene when something incorrect is happening or any injustice is being done to the fisher women of the area,” Shetkar told IndiaScoops.com.
Similar issues have been happening elsewhere in the vicinity. According to a report in The Herald, vendors operating in the Ponda Muncipal Council (PMC) market located at Upper Bazaar have threatened the PMC to protest against the roadside vendors by not paying the sopo tax.
Around 88 vendors from the PMC market claimed that a large number of migrant vendors sell goods by the roadside and on footpaths, taking away business from them. They have demanded the PMC to clear the footpaths off the roadside vendors, else they will stop paying the sopo tax.
The vendors informed that during the Diwali festival, which is the time for brisk business, migrants arrive with fruits and flowers and setup their stalls by encroaching upon the footpaths outside the PMC market.
This leads to loss of business for the vendors in the market, they claimed. The vendors, who have complained to the PMC, reminded the municipal body of their past protest which lasted for two years in 2014-15 and 2015-16 when they had stopped paying sopo tax.
Then the vendors had protested against the four fold hike in the rates of sopo tax. PMC is yet to recover the sopo tax arrears to the tune of Rs 70 lakhs as a result of that protest.
The vendors informed that they want to clear their dues, provided that the PMC does not allow footpath vendors which not only takes away their business but also leads to traffic chaos and congestion in market.
The vendors claimed that since past three months some migrant vendors are encroaching upon the footpaths and selling their goods, vegetables and flowers.
As the goods are easily available by the roadside, customers buy the goods from them without entering the market where hundreds of vendors are waiting for their arrival and finally get no customers, the vendors informed.
The market vendors alleged that despite paying regular sopo tax, PMC encourages migrant vendors to sell their goods on footpath. They further alleged that the new contractor allotted with the sopo tax collection contract has added to problem by encouraging migrant laborers to sell their goods, fruits and flowers after 5 pm causing traffic problems.