Goa has a unique history of institutions of local self government dating back to ancient times. Descendents of ancient settlers of the villages, called Gaunkars, organized themselves into “Communidades” or “Communities” which functioned as autonomous unit of village administration. The Government was vested in the assembly of elders of each clan or Vangor. Members of Communidades consisted of (i) Zoneiros(ii) Acsaocars (iii) Gaonkars. The primary activity of the Communidades was leasing out their commonly held agricultural land, orchards, ponds, through auction. The income was utilized to fund common services for the village like those of priests, barbers, construction and maintenance of markets, halls, etc. This village governance was allowed to exist alongside the Portuguese administrative machinery.
The second form of local Government prior to liberation in Goa were the Camara Municipals, introduced by the Portuguese, having their jurisdiction over both urban and rural areas of the entire taluka. They collected various taxes and received government grants, performed civil functions including the construction of building. Until a few years before liberation, these self-sustaining bodies were neither elective nor local. Their offices were reserved for ‘Casados’.
It was only in 1959 that Juntas de Freguesias (rural self government bodies) were established by the Portuguese through the Portaria (Notification) No. 7575 of 23rd July, 1959, assigning them the responsibilities of repairs of village roads, drains, bridges, gutters, street lights, within their jurisdiction. This was the third self-governing unit that existed prior to the liberation of Goa. Thus prior to liberation, there were Panchayats in the villages but they were not codified and the people used to settle their grievances themselves rather approaching the Government authorities. There used to be Regêdor (village headman) in each village who was entrusted with some of the functions which are now exercised by the Village Panchayats.
Our Village Panchayat will soon be launching a website for the benefit of our people. It will not give the history and geography of Curtorim and statistical inputs but also and more particularly, information on the governance of our village. This website will cover as many topics as possible however, additional inputs may be required in the course of time for which we solicit the cooperation of our people. This website will be regularly monitored and updated from time to time.
This project is the product of our serious efforts put in by the members and staff; however, the driving force behind it has been our Ward Member Shri J. Santano Rodrigues – Conveyor of Goa PRI’s Union. I hope this website will benefit our people in that they will be able to have the desired type of information at the click of a mouse.