With Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar promising Navelim villagers to build a kilometre-long bypass on stilts along the Salpem lake at a cost of Rs 160 crore, questions are being raised in neighbouring Benaulim whether the government would sanction a two-km long bypass on stilts passing through the flood plains of the village, at an additional cost of Rs 320 crore, taking into account that a kilometer of stilts is estimated to cost Rs 160 crore.
Senior NH-17 officials told The Goan that a kilometer of bypass on stilts is estimated to cost the Union exchequer a whopping Rs 160 crore.
“When Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told us work out the estimate for a bypass on stilts along the Salpem lake stretch at Navelim, it turned out that a kilometre of bypass on stilts will cost the government Rs 160 crore,” the official told The Goan.
What’s significant to note is the fact that while the entire project was tendered at a cost Rs 202 crore, the three-kilometer bypass on stilts itself will cost the government
Rs 480 crore.
“We have prepared the estimate for the kilometre-long bypass on stilts vis-à-vis the Salpem lake stretch and forwarded it to the Chief Minister’s office. Let us wait and see how much additional funds the Centre is willing to spend on the bypass on stilts,” the official remarked.
Presently, work along the entire three-km long stretch passing through Benaulim and Seraulim villages falling in the jurisdiction of Benaulim constituency has not commenced till date. Attempts by the contractor to dump truck loads of mud at Benaulim village on Wednesday met with stiff opposition from villagers led by local MLA Churchill Alemao, forcing the contractor to beat a hasty retreat from the site.
While Churchill insisted that he would lead a delegation of villagers to the Chief Minister to build the bypass on stilts along the Benaulim stretch, PWD officials prefer to keep their fingers crossed on their demand.
“The Chief Minister had okayed the bypass on stilts at Navelim at an additional cost of Rs 160 crore. The question that remains unanswered is whether Parrikar will sanction a two-km long bypass on stilts passing through Benaulim at a cost of Rs 320 crore,” the PWD official wondered.
The official added: “One would have to wait and see the response of the Union Surface Transport Ministry over the demand as the project cost is expected to
jump more than two-fold, i.e from Rs 202 crore to Rs 480 crore in the event the government settles for a three-km long bypass on stilt”.