Trying to clear apprehensions of western bypass road causing flooding in Benaulim areas, PWD Minister Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar on Friday told the state assembly that the government has already started the work of de-silting 12-km stretch of River Sal. A stretch of 11.9 kilometre of proposed western bypass road passes from Nuvem to Navelim in Salcete.
Benaulim MLA Caitan Silva, who was agitated over the western bypass road project, demanded its scrapping if the government is unable to construct flyover, which, according to him, would wipe out entire Benaulim village.
Dhavalikar said that the government will take stock of the situation during upcoming monsoon as the de-silting work will be complete by then, adding that the work is done on experimental basis as whole basin of the river is blocked with garbage.
According to him, as part of the Rs 280 crore western by-pass road project, there is a provision for two big bridges besides 10 small bridges, 32 open and 11 box culverts and underpasses.
Silva, through private member resolution, recommended that the government construct western bypass in Seraulim village area in Benaulim constituency and make provision for flyover/stilt pillars wherever necessary, as the villagers and farmers in the village are apprehensive about flooding in low-lying areas during monsoon and which will also block the waterways to the river, adding that this would further cause damage to the paddy crops and other vegetables cultivated in the area and in case the proposed flyover/stilt pillars are not possible then the project be continued with only the eastern bypass road.
Even, Minister for Fisheries Avertano Furtado, who is a coalition partner of BJP-led government, said that he would oppose western by-pass road if there is no flyover near Salpem lake in Navelim.
Silva strongly opposed construction of the road without a flyover “as it would create serious problem for Benaulim villagers in present form” demanding assurance from the government about construction of a flyover.
Dhavalikar said that until and unless the state government obtains sanction from the central government, he will not be in a position to assure anything in this regard.
Margao MLA and former chief minister Digambar Kamat, suggested appointment of a team to study the low-lying belt on the banks of River Sal during monsoon.
Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai warned that if mud is deposited on the banks of the river for the road project, there could be flooding during the monsoon, demanding to know from where the government will arrange 24 lakh cubic metric mud.
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar assured that the people of Benaulim will not face any problem due to construction of western by-pass road, maintaining that his government has taken up the project in the interest of the common man.