MAPUSA: After getting a bitter pill from the PWD when the culvert infront of the Siolim church was being widened, the locals in Siolim-Marna are quite apprehensive about the work of construction of a retaining wall infront of the church.
Inspite of tall claims made by the state government that it is all for promoting agriculture in the state, Siolim farmers have a good enough reason not to believe these claims. The reason is that when the PWD was widening the culvert infront of the church, it had damaged the sluice gates, as a result of this saline water entered many fields rendering them useless.
The affected farmers have blamed the PWD and Water Resources Department. Ironically, the local MLA is also the Water Resources Minister, but it seems that the department is only interested in big projects and could not co-ordinate with the PWD while the culvert was being built to safeguard the fields.
The farmers have incurred losses this year as they cannot cultivate their ‘vaingon’.
The PWD has taken up construction of a retaining wall infront of the Siolim church, but locals are apprehensive about the end results in view of the fact that there is an age old drain underneath the damaged church approach road and if this drain is blocked, severe hardships would be caused.
A social activist from Siolim, Mr Gregory D’Souza is incidentally trying a lot to beautify the triangular place in front of the church as people are using the place to dump garbage.
After the Bardez SDM, Mr Shetye cleared the file regarding demarcation of the land; the file is now with the Captain of Ports.
“The PWD must be very careful while constructing this wall. Already the fields are damaged due to the careless attitude of officials while widening the culvert. Now, we hope that this work is also not messed up. Our old drains have to be maintained and kept clear,” said Mr D’Souza.
He also urged the Captain of Ports to expedite the matter so that the people of Siolim can go ahead and beautify the land.
Another local, Mr Lawrence Braganza felt that the PWD should be careful while carrying out the works as due the lack of foresight on the part of the PWD there could be lasting effects.
“One damage is caused and now we want proper work done as affected people are left in the lurch and no politician has also come to their help,” he said.
Meanwhile, PWD junior engineer, Mr Pilarnkar when contacted said that the drain would be maintained and would not be covered or destroyed.
He also said that the work of construction of ‘manos’ is expected to begin shortly.
“As far as the drains are concerned, we are taking utmost care to preserve them and save them from damage, So, people need not worry. With regards to construction of sluice gates, the work has been tendered for about `1.16 crore. The work could begin shortly,” he added.