Goemkarponn Editor Suraj Nandrekar Speaks to Nuvem MLA Alexio Sequeira on the Verna house demolition issue and one year of joining the BJP.
Suraj Nandrekar: What is your stand on the house demolition of a Goan at Verna?
Alexio Sequeira: The house demolition in Verna, if you are trying to ask what was my role let me say “I had no role”, as far as I am concerned I know the lady and I don’t think I am wrong when I say she voted for me all my elections. I believe from the papers she showed me that there was a demolition order issued way back in 2017 after that what happened I do not know because they never came back to me viz-a-viz the housing issue. I know that I had got her the water connection, and power connection under the Health Act but the Act does not give you ownership rights as the act clearly says that should any order come viz-a-viz illegalities or whatever the department has the right to disconnect power connection or water connection.
Suraj Nandrekar: Do you mean to say you did not know of the demolition earlier?
Alexio Sequeira: On the day of the incident she came to me but when did they come? After the demolition started? Everybody, including RG, has gone on record saying the demolition was done at midnight, everybody is trying to dramatise the whole issue. Demolition started at 9.30 to 10.000 am in the morning, it was not demolished in the night.
The fact is she had encroached on a plot of 750 sq mt, nobody is talking of that. The fact is that she had built extra rooms which she was giving out on rent. Nobody is talking about this also.
Suraj Nandrekar: So after knowing about demolition how did you react?
Alexio Sequeira: I phoned the Deputy Collector and asked him what he have to say about this demolition he said sir my role is only to provide demolition squad they came to me with a court order and sought protection which I have given. I asked which department, he said, Communidade. Then I asked the lady who had come with the demolition order, she said “No idea”, Two policemen came with JCB.
After teh demolition started there was very little I could do. I told her my suggestion that go to her lawyer and ask him to seek a stay order from the court to stop the demolition. Whether they went to the lawyer or not, I do not know as they did not return and on that side I believe the house was demolished.
SN: Isn’t the timing of demolition questionable?
Alexio Sequeira: I believe it was wrong on the part of the concerned department or teh Communidade to demolish it at this time of the year whilst we are amid monsoons. I believe they could have waited, they had an order in hand, and they could have waited for a few days. The world was not coming to an end and after the rains yes, go ahead and demolish.
The lady says she was not aware they were to demolish the house but according to me the notice is at least sent to the panchayat as they have to identify the structure and the location. I don’t know.
So I think we should ask the panchayat secretary. Asking panchas and all does not help as many times these notices come last minute and you are not aware of it. So I believe clarification should have been sought with the panchayat secretary.
SN: There are thousands of illegal migrant houses on Communidade land, why this particular house was targeted?
Alexio Sequeira: Maybe there was a demolition order on the particular structure.
SN: Have you spoken to the Chief Minister for some rehabilitation?
Alexio Sequeira: See I have definitely spoken to the Chief Minister but I would like to know all these people dancing day and night there I would like to know what is going to be their contribution. See everybody is talking but the fact is you can’t build a house without having a piece of land, so first we have to start with a land. Are you willing to give the land? No…Everybody is talking but nobody is coming up with any concrete thing that side bank accounts have been opened. I am told money is flowing in from the people abroad. But first, arrange the land and it can’t be done overnight She says they have approached the Communidade. I spoke yesterday to one of the Communidade members they said they were willing to give and asked her to apply, I swear I spoke yesterday, the member said the lady told them to do whatever they want I will not apply but on TV she said I had gone to ask for plot. Whom do you believe?
Communidade says something totally opposite.
SN: Have you as an MLA offered any help?
Alexio Sequeira: See I am willing to help but I believe in sitting before your camera and making a big tamasha. we have to get down to doing something. However, I am willing to help if they approach me. So let them decide which side they want to go.
I Will Work Hard In Direction
To Win on BJP Ticket: Sequeira
SN: You completed one year of joining the BJP yesterday and the Congress marked it as a black day burning effigies of all 8 MLAs who defected. Your opinion on that.
Alexio Sequeira: Burning effigies is not something new for me. They did that last year in front of my house here. I was calm, I did not react. One year on I am still alive. Yesterday they burnt our photos, “no issues”. What is the big deal? I would suggest they do something concrete and don’t waste your time on these types of gimmicks.
SN: Was it the right decision to join the BJP?
Alexio Sequeira: See definitely I did not join overnight, we have pondered over the issue. I have taken many workers into confidence. I cannot say I took all the workers into confidence and the reality is whether I like it or not if I am supposed to do something in my constituency as far as I am concerned the only way I could look forward to achieving whatever whatever I had committed to my voters, the only way would have been by joining BJP? Therefore I made a conscientious decision, I have to admit, that it has upset some people and if you recall I apologised to them at that time. But I can assure you it was not for self-interest. I have not taken a naya paisa from BJP and my only condition was development in the constituency.
SN: One year on, there does not seem to be any benefit of three main defectors Alexio Sequeira, Michael Lobo and Diagmabar Kamat neither a ministry nor a Corporation.
Alexio Sequeira: As I told you I have not taken a naya paisa nor I have demanded any ministry. there was no big deal. My condition was only developing my constituency, which is gradually happening. Talking further, I can speak only for myself and about others you can ask them.
SN: Did you not defy people’s mandate?
Alexio Sequeira: No I did not, I have taken people into confidence and made the right decision that is good for them.
SN: Your constituency is Christian-dominated. People voted for you on the Congress ticket, would you have won on the BJP ticket?
Alexio Sequeira: I don’t know maybe I will change things. Maybe I have the ability next election stand on a BJP ticket and win. I will work in that direction.