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Demand for bypass on stilts gains momentum

Vijai joins bandwagon, DEFENDS villagers’ opposiTIOn TO land filling and terms it as ‘VALID & genuine’

Story: the | goan | 08th December 2017, 07:12 Hrs

MARGAO
Demand for the construction of the western bypass on stilts along the wet lands of Mungul and Khareband gained further momentum with Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai coming out clear in favour of the bypass on stilts in certain areas, saying the apprehensions raised by the people are not entirely misplaced, terming the demand for the bypass on stilts as "valid" and "genuine".
Sardesai said he has taken up the issue with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with a plea to write to the Union
Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, seeking the intervention of the Centre to help the State government resolve the issue.
Two days after Seraulim villagers along with Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao and Radharao Gracias stopped work on the bypass project passing through the village, the TCP minister said
that what Radharao and the villagers have demanded appears to be a genuine and valid demand.
"Certain areas where the bypass has been planned are prone for flooding. Because of the topography of the land, these areas have been traditionally getting flooded. I am of the firm opinion that the apprehensions raised by the people opposing the bypass with land filling are not entirely misplaced and appear genuine," Sardesai told
The Goan.
"I am convinced that at least the bypass passing through Mungul and the Comba rail over bridge should be built on stilts. Or someone will have to either justify how these low lying areas will not get flooded if the bypass is built with land filling," he added.
The TCP minister said he has taken up the matter with the Chief Minister that certain areas along the bypass alignment need to be built on stilts. "It may not sound economical when one looks at the cost of the bypass project and the cost of the project on stilts. But, at the same time, the government will have to seriously look how best to mitigate the issue. At least one section of the bypass, from Mungul to the Comba railway overbridge will have to be put on stilts as any decision to go for land filling will completely flood the low lying areas," he said.
The proposed 11-km long western bypass between Dramapur village to Verna has hit a block, especially along the Benaulim-Seraulim-Mungul - the flood plains of River Sal -- where work has not commenced due to strong public objection for the bypass via land filling.
In fact, Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao has twice stopped work on the bypass, once at Benaulim and at Seraulim village, with the MLA joining the villagers in demanding the construction of the bypass on stilts to prevent flooding.
Work on the western bypass is presently underway along the Verna-Nuvem stretch, with the work having come to a halt behind the house of TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai.
While work on the Telaulim stretch is underway on the southern section, the government has agreed to build the bypass on stilts along
the stretch passing through the Salpem lake at Navelim village.

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