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Water pipeline damage: disaster was waiting to happen

SOIRU VELIP | NT

Panaji: It has come to light that the Curti Khandepar retaining wall collapse incident, which has damaged two major water pipelines, was not a sudden incident but was waiting to happen for long.

It is also evident that despite the direction from the public works department (PWD) and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) even just two months back, M Venkata Rao Infra Projects Pvt Ltd, a contractor carrying out road-widening of the National Highway 4(A), neither bothered to take precaution at the site nor shifted the pipeline on the other side of the road.

A senior official in the PWD admitted that if the contractor had responded quickly to the directions, thousands of families would not have faced severe water crisis in Panaji city and the entire Tiswadi taluka besides parts of Ponda taluka.

The PWD had requested the NHAI on various occasions and accordingly directions were given to the contractor for shifting the water supply pipelines. However, the adamant attitude of the contractor led to the failure on his part to act. As a result, the residents of entire Tiswadi taluka including the capital city of Panaji and parts of Ponda are facing a serious water crisis since August 15.

Moreover, it has also come to light that the department is lacking in coordination and the

entire system in the PWD is not in place, as lower-line staff is not ready to follow the directions of the higher-ups.

Ironically, a provision had never been made at the planning stage in the past by the government to cope up with water crisis in case of a breakdown in supply from main water pipeline supplying water to thousands of families.

Now, after the Curti Khandepar incident, the PWD is trying to show its efficiency in providing relief to the people. However, there are still some obstacles that come in its way in the form of unplanned developmental works in the past and lethargic attitude of some staff, sources said.

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