Nirgosh Gaude | NT
Even after assurance from the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to fully operationalise the Ponda market complex by Ganesh Chaturthi, the eight-year-old complex is still underutilised.
The complex constructed at a cost of around Rs 27 crore was inaugurated in December 2011.
However, since then it is underutilised and all efforts made by the Ponda Municipal Council (PMC) and other government agencies like Goa State Urban Development Agency (GSUDA) and directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) have failed so far.
There is provision for 155 shops, 40 offices, five stalls, three flats, a hall and parking space for 134 vehicles at the market complex.
But, till date most of the shops are vacant, and the complex also lacks maintenance.
Of the 155 shops, 121 shops are allocated for rehabilitating the existing lessees, but most are yet to shift. Three shops are occupied by PMC for library, Indian Red Cross Society and Ponda Consumer Society.
The remaining shops, stalls and offices are yet to be allotted and the tendering process has been initiated, informed PMC sources.
It may be recalled that in July, the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant along with Urban Development Minister Milind Naik, Ponda MLA Ravi Naik and members of the local urban body had jointly inspected the complex and had assured to fully operationalise it by Ganesh Chaturthi.
Sawant had also assured to start work on the second phase of the market complex within two months time. But since then the market complex has not seen many changes and many works are still pending.
During the inspection, Sawant had directed GSUDA and DMA to take up all the necessary works on a priority basis and clear all issues related to the market in one and half months time. But according to sources, DMA is yet to complete the formalities.
DMA Dr Tariq Thomas said that technical clearance for all the pending works of the complex has been issued and tender for the same is yet to be floated.
“Due to procedures that the department has to follow for transparent functioning, work on the Ponda market complex has been delayed,” claimed Dr Thomas adding, “We cannot say exactly how much time it will take, but we are trying to complete the pending works as early as possible.”
When contacted, PMC chairperson Venkatesh Naik said that all the formalities related to the shifting of the market vendors have been completed. But considering the vendors’ demand for some more time, PMC has deferred the shifting process.
Due to Ganesh Chaturthi festival, vendors had urged PMC to give them some time as shifting may affect their business, Naik said.