Q: How do you see the work on various projects under the Smart City Mission; do you feel it is up to the mark? What have you got to say about the allegations of corruption with regard to the Smart City Mission works?
The Smart City project is a wonderful opportunity for a city like Panaji.
The capital city is facing many infrastructural issues even after the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) being under the control of BJP or Atanasio Monserrate (Babush). Funds are made available by the Centre under the project to raise the standards of the city to international level but politicians always blame it on lack of funds. Both, Sidharth Kunkalienkar and Swayandipta Pal Chaudhuri are controlling the Smart City but spending money on projects without consulting the public. Money has been spent on Miramar road, mangroves park, parking outside the city and other projects instead of spending the fund on solid waste management treatment plant to control the garbage menace.
Q: The state government has failed to introduce a smart transportation system and resolve the issue of parking in the city. Do you have any plans to provide smooth transport and proper parking facility in the next three years, if elected?
A good transportation system for the capital city and a parking facility are right on top of my priority list. I myself stay in Panaji and work here and I suffer from these issues; I usually have to drive for 30 minutes to find a place to park my car. Residents of the city are also suffering due to the bad condition of footpaths.
Q: You are seeking vote for development of the capital city. Do you have any road map for this?
Yes. When someone falls sick, a doctor usually recommends an electrocardiogram or ECG. Panaji city is also sick and the disease is bad governance. AAP has examined the ECG of the city: E stands for environment, which has been destroyed in the form of water bodies like St Inez creek, Mandovi river and the Rua de Ourem creek. C stands for culture and identity, which has also been destroyed. People visit the city to see only the casinos. G stands for governance, which is bad presently and can be seen in the unresolved problems like garbage, traffic, parking, flooding during monsoon, footpaths and the water and power supply issues. The Goan economy is in shambles today. Youth want jobs either in casinos or they prefer going abroad. Even the Chief Minister made a statement recently stating that employment will not be an issue during the Panaji bypoll.
Q: Panaji is still facing the garbage problem. The city lacks cleanliness. Do you agree? Why has this problem not been solved?
When Elvis Gomes was CCP Commissioner, there was a fantastic door-to-door garbage collection set-up. We must revive garbage segregation and decentralisation. In many parts of the world, collection is an economic activity and considered a business. However, in Goa, there is a blame game when it comes to garbage management. This is due to the political differences and rivalries. As a result, people dump garbage in the river and other water bodies thus destroy the environment.
Q: Many parts of the Panaji constituency are facing water crisis despite this being a poll plank in the past elections. Why has this issue not been resolved and how do you plan to end the crisis, if elected?
The water supply issue has been artificially created due to tanker mafia operating in the city. The PWD is selling water to tankers. In the past, the PWD had admitted that 40 per cent of water is lost due to leakage but I believe that the 40 per cent is diverted to the tanker mafia. If I get elected, I will investigate this and bring the culprits to book.
Q: During every election, the candidates have been promising shifting of the offshore casinos presently anchored in River Mandovi. However, nothing seems to be happening on the ground. What have you got to say on this? Can you ensure the shifting of the casino vessels from Mandovi in the next three years?
Shifting of the casino vessels is the easiest thing to do and they are not seaworthy. The casino vessels cannot be anchored the way they are; it is not a dockyard. Economy of Panaji depends on the casinos. I will make the city casino-free and provide alternative employment to those working there. Our youth either want to work in casinos or prefer going abroad for jobs. Both, the BJP and Congress are being funded by the casino lobby.
Today if you ask a visitor why he or she has come to Goa or Panaji, they say it is because of the casinos. I want to change this and attract tourists to the natural scenic spots and places of cultural importance and heritage spots. I would like to make Panaji a family tourism destination.