Panaji: Captain of Ports (CoP) will soon undertake the work of desilting of around 18 kilometre stretch of River Sal in nine phases, covering two kilometer stretch in each phase. “The desilting work will begin near Telaulim-Varca bridge up to the mouth of the river. We have already received the Environment Impact Assessment report from the National Institute of Oceanography.
Our only aim is to rejuvenate the river and to facilitate the smooth navigation of small boats including small canoes with a very shallow draft,” said a senior official of the port’s administration. He clarified that ‘big size’ vessels will not be allowed in river Sal by the CoP.
The official informed that approximately Rs 40 crore will be the estimated cost that will be required to carry out the work, and added that the department will move a proposal to the central government seeking the required funds through Inland Waterways Authority of India under Sagarmala project.
“We will move the proposal to the Centre, and we expect the desilting work to begin in next 6-12 months after completing all the process,” he said.
Earlier in the day, a brief presentation on desilting of River Sal was held by the CoP in presence of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at the Secretariat, Porvorim.
Deputy Chief Minister Chandrakant Kavlekar, Minister for Ports Michael Lobo, Minister for Water Resources Filip Nery Rodrigues and sarpanchas from the concerned VPs were also present on the occasion.
When questioned whether the department has obtained No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the concerned village panchayats (VPs) to carry out the desilting work, the official said, “VPs have to agree, NOC is not required as the desilting activities will take place within the jurisdiction of CoP, however, all VPs will be officially informed about it.
The official claimed that faecal coliform pollution in the river Sal has exceeded the prescribed limit hence it was important for the VPs to co-operate with the CoP for desilting work.
“Plastics and other waste materials have been dumped in the river. Sewage is being also discharged by the villagers staying close to the shore, as a result of which the coliform count is extremely on a higher side in Sal river. It is not clean enough for bathing and the pollution is so much so that the fish catch from the river is also not safe for human consumption,” the official said, and appealed to the locals for cooperation in rejuvenating the river and restoring its glory.