MARGAO: Citizens of Margao strongly condemned the undue delay in the completion of the beautification work of Lohia Maidan, and threatened to hold protests if the contracted agency fails to complete the work and hand over the revamped space to the Margao Municipal Council, immediately.
In a letter to the GSUDA, the Shadow Council for Margao (SCM) stated that they are forced to submit this representation after witnessing freedom fighters being forced to mark the 113th birth anniversary of Ram Manohar Lohia in a low-key manner.
O Heraldo had in its Thursday edition published a report titled ‘With Lohia Maidan revamp unfinished, freedom fighter’s 113rd anniversary sees subdued celebrations’.
“Dr Ram Manohar Lohia was a great leader, who immensely contributed to the freedom of this State, and we all enjoy the benefits today,” Coutinho said. “And it is indeed most shameful that the anniversary of such a great leader could not be marked with proper honour,” he pointed out.
SCM pointed out that the authorities had publicly announced several dates for the handing over of the beautified Lohia Maidan back to the Margao Municipal Council, but the reason for these repeated delays in completing the project remains a mystery.
Coutinho said that four years have passed since the Lohia Maidan was taken up for beautification, and since then, the Margao Municipal Council has not allotted the premises for public use citing the reason for the ongoing development works.
SCM stated in its representation that if the GSUDA-appointed contractor is unable to complete the beautification work, then the contract should be immediately terminated and the firm blacklisted. The activists also demanded that the performance guarantee furnished by the contractor be forfeited instantly.
SCM also alleged that there has been no development work whatsoever executed at the Lohia Maidan from the last scheduled date of the project’s completion - March 15, till today. “In such a situation, the general public fails to understand what work is actually pending to be executed, to claim that the beautification work is incomplete,” said Coutinho.
“Going by the manner in which the completion of the development project has been repeatedly delayed without any action against the contractor, it appears that the local politicians/GSUDA/government are wilfully delaying the hand over, so as to restrict the public from using the Lohia Maidan premises to hold public meetings and protests against the wrongs happening in Margao, as well as other issues plaguing the State” he alleged.
It is also our apprehension that the handing over of the completed Lohia Maidan is being systematically delayed and postponed in such a manner that the monsoons will soon set in, and no public meetings will be possible, Coutinho said.