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Storm over plans to discharge treated sewage water into sea

Story: The | Goan | 26th April 2018, 02:19 Hrs

COLVA TOURISM
ON THE EDGE!
Questions posed by a local resident
* How can tourism sustain when plans are afoot to discharge the treated sewage water in the sea
* Will any one visit the beach if they realise that sewage water is being discharged into the sea
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CHUCHILL TAKES
UP THE CUDGELS

>> MLA Churchill Alemao requested to take up the matter with the government and PWD Minister Sudin Dhavlikar
>> Churchill assures to help while questioning how the sewerage plant was allowed to be set up in the heart of the village
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MARGAO: Union Tourism Ministry’s decision to develop Colva beach as an Iconic Tourist site may have rung in good news for the tourism stakeholders.
A storm is brewing in the coastal village over government’s plan to discharge treated sewage water into the sea after the commissioning of the sewage treatment plant presently under construction.
“How can tourism sustain when plans are afoot to discharge the treated sewage water in the sea. Do you think any visitor will descend on the world famous beach or will step in the water if they realise that sewage water is being discharged into the sea,” questioned local resident Thomas Rodrigues as anxious residents invited local MLA Churchill Alemao to inspect the sewage treatment plant under construction near the football ground.
Other beleaguered residents echoed similar sentiments. They feared that discharge of treated sewage from the plant will spell doom for tourism in Colva, saying that no one will dare venture in the sea if the sewage water is pumped into the sea.
Their worst fears came true at the Project Head of the sewerage plant, Sandeep Dongre confirmed in front of the local MLA and residents that the sewage project design provides for discharge of the treated sewage water into the sea, triggering protests from the locals.
The Project Head pointed out that the contractor is only executing the project as per the design worked out by the Goa Sewage Corporation. “We are executing as per the plant design. Any apprehensions on the mode of discharge of sewage should be taken up with the department,” Dongre told the people.
Given the situation, the local residents has now requested MLA Churchill Alemao to immediately take up the matter with the government and PWD Minister Sudin Dhavlikar. While Churchill has assured to take up cudgels for the residents, he, however, questioned how the sewerage plant was allowed to be set up in the heart of the village, when the land was acquired for the football ground. “I was not the MLA when the plant was sanctioned for Colva. Questions about the discharge of treated sewage water ought to have been raised with the then government”, he said, while urging the resident to form a committee before he arrange a meeting with the PWD Minister and senior officials.
“My experience suggests that sewage water, whether treated or not, will give rise to pollution. We have a bad experience with River Sal. Since the plant has already come up, let us ask the government to work out a solution without discharging the sewage water in the sea”, Churchill told the residents.
Given that the Colva village gram sabha is round the corner, a local resident Camilson and others have resolved to raise the issue at the meeting to send a message loud and clear to the Corporation and the government to do a re-think on plans to discharge the sewage water in the sea.
Local residents, in their memorandum addressed to the Benaulim MLA, also raised a host of questions, including the question of discharge of the sewage water after treatment. They also raised the question whether the 7.5 MLD plant is only meant for the Colva village or for all the neighbouring villages along the coastal belt and the mechanism in place in the event the plant fail. Residents further demanded to know whether the government had obtained the permissions form the concerned agencies to set up such a plant in a tourist village like Colva.