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The motorboat carrying children and people across the river

Residents eagerly awaiting three Canacona bridges


By Albert Fernandes | NT

CANACONA: People are eagerly awaiting constructions of bridges over Galgibaga and Talpona rivers and small bridge at Maxem, proposal of which was accorded sanction by the central government some months ago.

Laying of by-pass road at Talpona has also begun in right earnest following the laying of foundation stone at the hands of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari this month. The three bridges work is estimated to cost Rs 280.16 crore. Land for the approach roads to Galgibaga bridge was acquired 30 years ago. Residents have been complaining about meagre compensation with some cases still pending in courts. Politicians cutting across party lines have been raising the issue of the three bridges in state assembly and Parliament since 1985.

In absence of bridge over Galgibaga river, school and college students cross over to the other side by dangerously walking over the Konkan Railway bridge which is over 30 metres above the ground. There is also a motorboat service but it does not operate during low tide. Worst-affected are senior citizens especially during monsoons.

According to former president of Canacona Municipal Council Rajendra Desai, the three bridges will not only shorten the distance but will also save valuable time and fuel. PWD engineers in Canacona estimate that over 8,000 vehicles ply on the route every day. In the absence of a bridges, the vehicles have to take a detour via the main bazaar en route to Chaudi-Poinguinim-Maxem. The bridges will shorten the distance by at least 14 to 15 kilometres.

Sarpanch of Poinginium village panchayat Mahesh Naik revealed that the canoe services which were available at Talpona some years back were suspended and instead motorboat service introduced adding “motorboats do not function properly during low tide.”

According to Loliem-Polem sarpanch Bhushan Prabhugoankar and Poinguinim sarpanch Mahesh Naik, the twin bridges will be of a lot of help to residents of both the panchayats. When the motorboat service was launched at Galgibaga, the residents of Galgibaga and Maxem had high hopes. But unfortunately it was later found that at low tides, the motorboat could not operate.

The motorboat service is free but the timings are a big drawback. The service is closed to public at 7 pm. During late night medical emergencies, residents of Galgibaga have to rush to Mashem and cannot avail the services and hence are left to travel over a long route via Poinguinnim to Maxem.

“The state government had submitted a proposal to the Centre for three bridges in Canacona including the twin bridges over rivers Galgibaga and Talpona at a cost of Rs 280.16 crore,” disclosed Ramesh Tawadkar after a presentation of four-lane expressway from Maxem to Char-Rasta by PWD engineers at Poinguinim Panchayat recently. All the three bridges are part of the four-lane expressway. PWD NH-17 engineer Laxmikant Naik said that the tenders are likely to be opened from August 14 while the work on the three bridges would begin by October this year.

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