Every monsoon, Fakirband at Colmorod-Margao and Tolleaband along Margao-Benaulim border witness flooding due to which the dwellings get inundated. The affected-people have to be shifted till the water level recedes; however, a permanent solution to address the problem has remained elusive. ‘The Navhind Times’ senior reporter, ROQUE DIAS finds out why there has not been a long-term solution to the yearly occurrenceMARGAO : The bundhs, Fakirband and Tolleaband, inhabited by 500-odd people, are flood-prone areas. These low-lying areas face flooding every year and the government, precisely, the disaster management cell during the deluge evacuates the people to safer places till the water level recedes.
This has been going on for over 15 years, however, the successive governments have failed to make a sincere effort to address the problem in toto. Instead, the governments have only spent from the state coffers on temporary shifting of the people during emergency situation.
Sources revealed that each year the disaster management authorities spend thousands of rupees on shifting the people temporarily. The affected residents are often moved to Fatorda stadium during flooding.
“We tried to rehabilitate them in the past. But they don’t want to be shifted,” said Margao MLA Digambar Kamat. He said the land being owned by a private owner, it cannot be bought and therefore, the bundh height level also cannot be raised. Four-time MLA Kamat said that there are some practical difficulties due to which the problem cannot be addressed.
Fakirband is a private property. The migrants began staying there since last 15 years. Today, with the consent of the land owner, these houses have electricity and water connections.
“The area floods when it rains heavily,” said an elderly resident of Fakirband, while speaking to this daily. He said that it is a yearly occurrence.
A visit at the site revealed that the nullah passing through the two bundhs of Farikband is covered with concreted slabs by the government and thus additional space has been created to cross over.
The haphazardly-constructed houses however have a common (Sulabh) toilet. A continuous downpour can leave the area flooded.
“There is no proposal to increase the height of the bundh and practically it is difficult also,” said water resources department engineer Franklin D’Souza.
The second bundh-Tolleaband, situated along Margao-Benaulim border, also witnessed flooding last year. It was a harrowing time for the disaster management authorities to evacuate the affected residents living in the huts.
“The waterways were open at few places along the bundh,” said Benaulim MLA Caetano Silva. He said the government has tendered the work to increase the road height to avoid flooding of the area.
WRD engineer Regan Fernandes informed that the lake surrounding the bundh area has been desilted and waterways opened for free flow of water.
Deputy collector Ajit Panchwadkar said it was the prime responsibility of MMC and panchayat to see that such settlements did not come up in low-lying areas. “The permanent solution is to rehabilitate them. I will discuss the issue with the district collector why the government has to spend knowingly on these residents especially when they do not want to be rehabilitated,” he asked.