11 Jun 2024  |   07:21am IST

Tax payers’ money goes down the drain in Un-Smart City

A recently laid drain collapses at Taad-Maad, in St Inez; it was built as part of the Smart City project
Tax payers’ money goes down the drain in Un-Smart City

Team Herald

PANJIM: The hard-earned money being paid to the government as taxes, is literally going down the drain. 

A concrete drainage, which was laid recently as part of the Smart City work, collapsed at Taad-Maad, near Caculo Mall, at St Inez on Monday morning. 

The incident has again exposed the lackadaisical approach of the Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited (IPSCDL, the agency implementing the Smart City project in Panjim. 

Luckily, no one got hurt since a large number of devotees generally gather for worship at a nearby temple of Lord Shiva. 

Speaking to mediapersons after visiting the site, Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) Mayor, Rohit Monserrate said, “The drain has collapsed due to the continuous rain. I have instructed the contractor to take care of the temple first and then to take up reinstating the drain. They will bring JCB and clear the drain. Once that is done, further work will be taken up. Our main priority is to protect the structure of the temple.”

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) State Convenor Amit Palekar threatened to move the high court if the Chief Minister does not order an audit of Smart City works.

“CCP, local MLA and IPSCDL, all said that the Smart City works will be completed by May 31. Even Chief Minister Pramod Sawant held an inspection and said that the work will be over by June 6. But see the work done by Bagkiya Constructions. I think the letter given to the government that it is the primary contractor in Karnataka, is forged. It has not done any primary work. But the government's love for the contractor is seen. It appears that the work here will not be completed even in a year,” he said.

Asserting that responsibility must be fixed, Palekar asked, “If IPSCDL CEO is not responsible, contractor is not responsible, then who is responsible?”

“There should be a criminal case filed against the contractor. The Chief Minister needs to answer why he is so much interested in protecting the contractor,” he said and demanded an investigation be ordered into the corruption.

Local residents blamed the IPSCDL and the engineers who failed to understand the quality of soil in that particular area. 

“Everybody knows that the area has marshy land. It has more water content. That got augmented with two days of continuous rain. The engineers must have done soil testing in a better manner. Moreover, sewage should not be released in the stormwater drain, which is directly connected to river Mandovi," Sanjay Sarmalkar, a resident of Panjim, said.

“IPSCDL confirms that this stretch of St Inez Road from Tadmad to Tonca STP was closed for public use as highly deep excavation work is in progress. The remaining 150 m stretch of the road from Caculo Mall to Tadmad Temple is completed and currently under curing period which is to be opened shortly,” the statement said.

The IPSCDL said that the incident is not a quality issue, as no such incidents have occurred in any of the completed stretches of roads in St Inez.

“The situation is now under control. Additional dewatering pumps have been deployed to manage the increased water flow, and emergency shoring has been used to stabilise the excavation walls. Our team is actively working to rectify the damage caused and measures are being taken to prevent further damage at the site and we assure the public that all safety measures at the site though closed for public use are being taken,” a statement from IPSCDL said.


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