15 May 2022  |   06:24am IST

Western bypass road construction without proper studies?

Wesley Edward Pereira

I refer to the shocking news reports ‘WRD report on Western Bypass has been manipulated, says MLA’ and ‘Benaulim Village Committee points out error in WRD report’ (Herald, May 13).

Western bypass road in South Goa is a component of National Highways NH-17. Were any feasibility studies conducted by the National Highways of Authority of India or by any other State or National Authority for this Western bypass road about 15 years ago? What were the findings of this report? Was any community consultation process conducted by the authorities? Has this report been accepted by the authorities? If accepted, was any Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by any highway consulting firm? Was any design review consultant appointed by the Road Authorities to check and review the DPR recommendations? Or has the road contractor constructed the Western bypass road without any proper design review prior to starting the construction work? These questions need answers.

Proper hydrological investigations are essential to protect the heritage sites located within the catchment areas of the project structures. For road projects in India, the consultants are expected to follow IRC:5-2015 Standard specifications and Code of practice for Road Bridges Section - I General Features of Design published by the Indian Roads Congress. The environmental examination of the project and data collection requirements are briefly highlighted in this publication under Sr no 104 Planning considerations (refer page 11 to page 15). The guidelines for hydrology and hydraulic design are given in the above referred IRC publication under Sr no 106(refer page 18 to page 27). Clause 106.3 specifies the various methods for determination of design discharge.

As per the above referred IRC publication, flood estimation reports in respect of total 21 climatic sub-zones {refer Appendix-1(a)}in the country have been prepared based on the hydro-meteorological data collected for selected catchments of areas varying from 25 to 1500 sq km. These reports are available with the Director, Hydrology (small catchments), Central Water Commission. If the catchment area is more than 25 sq km, the IRC code recommends the unit hydrograph method for flood estimation. The unit hydrograph method procedure to be followed in the west coast region sub-zones (indicated at Sr. no. 20 of the above referred Appendix-1(a) is given in the flood estimation report applicable for sub-zone no.5(a) and 5(b). Have these IRC guidelines been considered for the Western bypass road in South Goa?

The alignment of the six-lane Mopa Airport link road is not as per the alignment shown in the final report RPG-21 Regional Plan for Goa-2021 (Release one) prepared by the State Level Committee for Regional Plan for Goa-2021? What is the present status of the Regional Plan for Goa-2021?

Has any State level committee been appointed to reject the Regional Plan for Goa-2021 policies which clearly highlight the importance of data collection and the necessity for listing of heritage assets from across Goa to identify and protect Goa’s natural and cultural heritage? Please refer Section 4.8 c) iii) Mapping/page 33 of the final report RPG-21 Regional Plan for Goa-2021 (Release one) prepared by the State Level Committee for Regional Plan for Goa-2021.

Goa is a rural-urban State blessed with unique natural and cultural heritage that needs to be protected at any cost. Goa is neither a desert nor has vacant areas to promote urban townships required for a city state to promote massive influx of migrant workers and multiple home residents (also called tourists).

Serious attempts have been made since the 1990s to destroy natural and cultural heritage after allowing the Konkan railway route in Goa to pass through khazan lands. Unsustainable changes to land-use plans that destroy the existing village settlement earthwork plans, livelihood areas of local communities and water-related ecosystems must stop immediately to ensure climate-resilient villages and towns of Goa.


IDhar UDHAR

Idhar Udhar