Bigger culvert to prevent flooding in Benaulim: Pauskar

Benaulim: Trying to assuage the anger of Benaulim villagers as their demand for a bypass on stilts has been turned down, PWD Minister Deepak Pauskar on Tuesday assured to forward new plans with increased culvert sizes to tackle the issue of flooding.

Villagers have been demanding that the bypass stretch between Benaulim and Seraulim be built on stilts to prevent the risk of flooding, a plan that the state government has vehemently rejected.

Pauskar along with the local MLA Churchill Alemao met villagers and panchayat members in Benaulim on Tuesday over the issue of Western Bypass.

After a discussion with the villagers, Pauskar assured that he would send new plans with increased culvert sizes along the entire stretch.

“The box culverts that were originally planned to be 3 by 3 metre wide will be 6 by 3 metres wide and where the culvert size was 2 by 3 metres, it will be increased to 3 by 5 metres. We will prepare this new plan and submit it to the MLA,” he said.

Pauskar also assured that measures to prevent flooding would be taken up. “Today we noticed that the water level in the river and the pond nearby are increasing which will worsen during the monsoon. To prevent the risk of flooding in the future, we will take up the necessary measures,” said Pauskar.

Alemao on the other hand stressed on the need to undertake dredging of the water bodies to ensure smooth flow of water. He added that a meeting was to be held over the issue of dredging of the water bodies next week which would be jointly attended by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, PWD Minister Pauskar as well as officials from the Captain of Ports, Water Resources Department (WRD) and river navigation department.

Some villagers gathered at the site on Tuesday however alleged that they are not getting proper compensation for the land on which the bypass is being built.

Villager Joe Rebello, while speaking to the MLA and PWD Minister, said that sewage was being released into a nearby field. Other villagers including former sarpanch Royla Fernandes, activists and panchayat members were present at the meeting.

While speaking to media persons after the inspection, Pauskar said that the bypass road starting in Nuvem leading to the SGPDA market would be thrown open for public by December 15.

“With Christmas and New Year round the corner, the road near Nuvem church near Carmel College always faces traffic jams because of which there is a lot of congestion. We have issued directions to the contractor to complete the work on the bypass stretch from Nuvem to SGPDA market so that it can be throw open by December 15 or 16,” said the PWD Minister.[NT]