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Western bypass: Two years delayed & two more needed

The 26-km bypass has been under the scanner of many villagers and politicians and even forced CM Manohar Parrikar, Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao, Navelim MLA Luizinho Faleiro and TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai to jointly inspect parts of the route and find a solution and break the impasse since the stretch of this bypass buries fields, water bodies, tributaries of the River Sal and a lot of green patches of cultivation.“This four-km stretch should have been done quick but we’re so delayed and the government department being the PWD fails to provide us debris for land filling and doesn’t allow us to work with their indecisiveness on whether to continue to work or build on stilts which seems the case for the stretch from Seraulim to Navelim,” says Manoj Jha of NG Tarmat construction which is undertaking the work and overseeing the work.
Jha points to the hoarding that says that construction of this road stretch which commenced in 2015 was to complete in 24 months but he says forget 2017, this work will be done only by 2020.“The PWD didn’t tell us first of the water bodies and the river tributary, we carried out land filling then came the issue of over bridges, now we’re stuck with slow work and lack of debris for land filling,” explains Manoj Jha.While Panchayat Secretary of Nuvem, Edwin Carvalho informs us that the Highway Authority has kept them in complete dark of their designs and plan and it’s so difficult to explain to the villagers on issues of land filling and even the road diversions on that stretch.“The entire work is carried out in dark with no lighting and so much debris is created. One tributary of the river Sal coming from Verna is re-diverted and there’s no water in our fields to grow vegetables. Again they release sludge and mud into our cultivated fields and nobody is aware who to complaint to. We’re stuck in so many problems,” explains Seraulim farmer Jason Silva.
While another Seraulim panch says that “it’s unfair the Saipem lake and Navelim will get stills to prevent water logging and damage of fields while their Seraulim fields and water bodies in Seraulim are damaged.”To this Manohar Parrikar speaking to the Herald from Margao says that he will redesign the highway to create gaps for flow of water every six metres and will ask the PWD to create a new design but ruled out any stilts saying that the government can’t afford a highway on stilts.“Subsequent to the Chief Minister’s visit to the road work, it was planned that 6 by 6 metres box structures would be erected to form bridges from Seraulim, going ahead to Mungul and crossing the railway over bridge. The plans were supposed to be submitted to the Chief Minister by National Highways. According to sources the Chief Minister has confirmed that the plans have been submitted.”These plans will be taken to the people and will get them approved. This is development by consent,” said TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai. [H]

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