MARGAO: All government authorities concerned, including long-standing Margao MLA Digambar Kamat, were heavily criticised during an inspection that was held to assess the various discharge points in and around Margao, from where sewage and waste water is being dumped either into River Sal or into Saipem lake in Navelim.
It may be recalled that Antonio Alvares from Navelim had filed a Public Interest litigation (PIL) before the High Court regarding the release of raw sewage into Saipem lake and River Sal, following which various directions have been issued to the Margao Municipal Council (MMC), PWD and other agencies. The next hearing in this matter is on Monday, March 27.
In this regard, MMC’s Chief Officer had recently constituted a core committee that had representatives of the Sewerage and Infrastructural Development Corporation of Goa Limited (SIDCGL), PWD’s Sewerage Department, Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), the Health Department and Alvares.
On Friday, this core committee along with MMC’s market inspectors had an inspection, while the affected farmers of Navelim were also present.
It was during this investigation, that they saw how a slum area in Shirvodem, near the Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) in Navelim, was releasing waste and sewage directly into the river.
The Navelim farmers and other citizens present flayed the government and the Margao MLA for the faulty construction of two Sulabh toilets for the population of the slum area and they showed how sewage from these toilets were also being allegedly released in the river until the recent past. Given that this issue had come under scrutiny earlier, some new pipelines had been connected to the toilets, but locals pointed out how the damage had already been done.
The farmers told reporters that they have been suffering for more than a decade as they are unable to carry out any cultivation in the fields, because of the high level of pollution. Alvares alleged that there is a sinister plan behind contaminating the fields at Saipem lake so that the government gets a chance to sell this land to real estate on the grounds that no cultivation is taking place.
Joseph Vaz, Navelim Civic & Consumer Forum (NCCF) Secretary, also lamented that even the wells that were built by their ancestors are contaminated.