|April 9, 2018 at 11:26 am #8188|
The Seraulim locals were visibly irritated after the PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar cancelled his plan of addressing a meeting over the western bypass road, which they have been demanding be built on stilts.
Fuming over the last minute cancellation and adding that work had commenced without their approval, the locals met the Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao demanding that no work be undertaken till their demands were met.
The residents, gathered at the site on Saturday morning, pointed to the debris that had been dumped a couple of days back.
After being informed about the dumping, Alemao met the site engineer who assured the locals that no work would be done at Seraulim.
A panch Kevin D’Souza said, “Our MLA had given us an assurance that the minister would come, but he called and said the meeting has been cancelled. PWD and contractor had informed that they would stop all the work on the bypass but the work is being carried out during the night, which is cheating.”
“Ours is an agriculture village where around 80 per cent cultivate their fields. We want development. The roadwork should be carried out on stilts, and it was also mentioned in the Regional Plan. It seems that the PWD has failed in that,” he added.
“They are dumping debris here by force. Seraulim panchayat is also against it and we have also sent resolutions to them but it seems that they are forcing it on us. We are ready to take to streets if our demands are not met,” said a local, Benjamin Fernandes.
Alemao, meanwhile, assured the locals that the work would not start but added that what was required urgently was desiltation of the nearby water body.
“Right now even if the bypass construction is carried out on stilts, the main issue will be – Where will the water flow? The nearby river needs to be desilted and then only the next step can be taken. But even then I assure you no work will start just yet,” he said to the locals. The Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had visited the site earlier this year promising to review the plan to address the fears of flooding in Seraulim and Benaulim.
The revised plan, however, only included extra culverts but no stilts.
The MLA had presented the plan in the presence of the PWD officials last month where both Seraulim and Benaulim had reiterated their stand – construction on stilts.
Following the meeting, the PWD Minister had assured a meeting with the locals on Saturday to convince them on the various aspects of the plan.
“Locals don’t want it to be at the same level as the ground is because there will be flooding. The government will point fingers and ask us why we kept quiet. We don’t want it to get worse. Better to spend extra money now to build the bypass on stilts rather than deal with a disaster later on. Look ahead to the next 100 years and plan,” said Fernandes.
Source/Reference: Navhind Times, “Western bypass: Seraulim locals sore over cancellation of meet“