The locals claim that the collapsed river banks, groundwater pumping from borewells on the Kulty plateau have caused pollution; Request authorities to inspect the river and stabilise the river banks on a war footing
CANACONA: The surge in Galgibag River due to the collapsed river banks and the unauthorised extraction of water from bore wells on the Kulty plateau have contaminated the wells in Galgibag and surrounding areas with saline water.
With the passage of time, the river banks have collapsed at many places due to various reasons including monsoon flooding, leaving the adjacent land to the mercy of nature. Unavailability of labour has compounded the situation due to which the collapsed and weak banks have remained unmaintained and unrepaired for decades.
The collapsed banks, damaged bundhs and open sluice gates have aggravated the situation. Moreover, saline water deluge on Sunday in the farmlands destroyed plantations of the locals. The area once fertile for paddy and other crops has been left barren by farmers as there is always a fear of saline water spoiling the crop as it happened on Sunday, claimed the locals.
Senior citizen Kishore Paigankar, who resides about 200 mts from the river, which was once a boon, referring to the situation says, "If you play with the Nature, then Mother Nature will teach you a lesson". He said he has orally complained to the Mamlatdar about the same and will lodge a formal complaint via email in this regard.
Prabhakar Paiginkar, former Poinguinim sarpanch says, "My well has been contaminated with saline water and with IMD predicting similar water surges for next fortnight, the situation will worsen".
The locals staying on either side of the Galgibag River have requested the authorities to inspect the entire river and stabilise the river banks on a war footing so that the wells used for drinking and irrigation purposes can be saved from contamination.
Diogo da Silva, a social activist who resides in the locality complained of unauthorised drawing of water by drilling bore wells by a contractor for commercial use at the Kulty plateau which acts as an aquifer for the wells on all sides of the plateau in the area. "Despite complaining to the WRD, the groundwater pumping from these borewells has continued unabated, which has polluted the wells with saline water in Galgibagh and surrounding areas,” he claimed.
"Thousands of gallons of water extracted every hour has caused the level of fresh groundwater to drop, reducing its water pressure and allowing saltwater to flow further inland," lamented da Silva.
Local farmers complained that the panchayat for reasons best known to them had passed a resolution couple of years back to seek NOC from panchayat before undertaking any repair work either on their own or through agricultural department, which is the main reason for the current mess.
However, local MLA Isidore Fernandes when asked said that he has received complaints from locals in this regard. "I have instructed officials to inspect the river and report to me and will visit the village soon to get first hand information of the incident," Fernandes said.