CM promises measures to prevent waterlogging

Panaji: Stating that the state government will adopt
long-term measures to prevent flooding in the future, Chief Minister Pramod
Sawant on Monday assured the assembly that the public works department (PWD)
and water resources department (WRD) will be entrusted with the responsibility
to clear waterlogging across Goa as an interim measure.

He said that in order to provide immediate relief to the
people, a budget provision of Rs 4 crore has been made under the revenue
department.

“Yes. We had a flood-like situation in some parts of the
state but the water receded in a couple of hours. The concerned agencies
including North and South Goa Collectorate were on the job but I admit that
they didn’t execute the relief work in a speedy manner,” said Sawant while
responding to the calling attention motion moved by Marcaim MLA Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’
Dhavalikar.

He said that during the last three days, five calls were
received from North Goa informing about uprooting of trees. As regards the
South Goa District, the Chief Minister said that there were three calls
regarding trees falling. Two calls were received from Mormugao taluka regarding
landslides and electricity cables falling on the ground and the calls were
attended by the concerned agencies, said Sawant.

“We will give the necessary directions to WRD and PWD to
pump out accumulated water from the highways and other roads,” he said.

Endorsing the views of the opposition MLAs that
incomplete work of western bypass highway in South Goa was a major cause for
flooding in many parts of the district, the Chief Minister assured the members
of the House that if needed, government will utilise state funds to complete
the said work.

Sawant also admitted that faulty design and plans
prepared by the consultants for beautification of pavements and expansion of
state roads could be one of the factors for flooding in various parts of the
state.

Tearing apart the reply of the Chief Minister, the
opposition MLAs slammed the government and claimed that the concerned agencies
including the state disaster management cell have failed to take preventive
measures. They said that as a result, heavy rain in the last three days has led
to a flood-like situation all over Goa, especially in villages located near the
rivers Mandovi, Zuari, Valvanti and Bicholim.

Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai questioned if preventive steps
were taken, why waterlogging occurred in the state including in the capital
city of Panaji within only one hour of heavy rainfall. He said that the
government has undertaken development without having a vision and added that
everything is on paper but nothing on the ground. “They (BJP) were busy breaking
away MLAs from other parties in Delhi at the time when they should have been
taking preventive measures. Panaji also got submerged, as the concerned person
was also missing in those days,” Sardesai said.

Stating that he was being criticised by the people of his
constituency, Panaji MLA Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate said that Mala and
Miramar areas were the most affected in the city. “Flooding in Panaji is
nothing new; it has been happening since the past many years. I have promised
the people of my consistency that by next monsoon the situation will improve.
The Chief Minister should act now, as today I am in your party. So I urge him
to ensure that required preventive measures are taken so as to avoid flooding
in the city,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition Digambar Kamat said that
provision of Rs 4 crore for disaster management was not sufficient. He said
that he has urged the government to enhance the spending power of Collectors
and Deputy Collectors.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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