The threat to dismiss officials and replace the Margao Municipal Council if they do not wake up to their responsibilities on solving the Sonsoddo garbage dump mess within a year, is welcome and should have come earlier.
But, will Dy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai walk the talk if the mess at the South Goa garbage dump is not solved by this time next year? It’s politically sound to make a statement such as this, which will catch the news and grab eyeballs, but then how many politicians will ever make good on such threats? MMC has a year to find a solution to Sonsoddo, before it can confirm whether the Dy Chief Minister is serious. But, this is not a mess they should mess with, as it has already turned into a stinking, festering eyesore that nobody can be proud of.
The Sonsoddo mess, as Sardesai put it, is inherited. It’s been steadily worsening over the decades, and newspapers have been reporting on it to ennui. Somehow a solution to this has been eluding the authorities, though efforts to manage the dump and clear the land have been made. There have been various solutions proferred, and timelines to meet the deadlines, but these have never been met. It is a cause of concern when the local body and the government cannot find a solution to the garbage dump. Sonsoddo still rankles as that one sore spot in Salcette for which there is no solution in sight. It has till now defied a solution, but can it hold out much longer?
The reason for the Sonsoddo dump to grow into a mountain of garbage has been the past political indifference to the problem. Though garbage management has been discussed in the State almost regularly for the past decade, the problem at Sonsoddo has not been addressed with the firm view to find a solution. Agreements between MMC and private companies to handle the dump have not yielded results, with even now the council and the private company arguing on the nature of garbage that was to be given to the latter for treatment. It has been such arguments that have derailed the attempts at solving the Sonsoddo issue permanently. The council and the private company have to settle their differences and find a common meeting ground to make the agreement entered into work.
Sonsoddo is virtually a mountain of a problem and it will have to be scaled if it is to be conquered. Sardesai has now proposed short term and long term plans to do so. Much will depend on the execution of these plans. Past experience has shown that even when there has been a political will to solve the issue, officials down the line have faltered. The threat of dismissal of officials may therefore force some outcome in the current case. If even this doesn’t than there will be no hope in getting the garbage dump cleared. It will just continue to grow, and that is not to the benefit of anyone.
It is unimaginable how this garbage dump has been allowed to grow in the area, which has a school almost alongside, bungalows and housing colonies in the vicinity, a venue for events opposite it, business establishements not too far, and even a college about a kilometre away. How have all these uncomplainingly accepted the stink that emerges from the eyesore and pervades the atmosphere? Besides the new political threat, the local residents should also put pressure on the local governing body to find solutions to the dump. Sonsoddo will not get solved if the local residents, institutions and business establishments do not come together to make it happen.