Thu, 12 Dec, 2019

Infra woes continue for industries in monsoon

Dug up roads, frequent power cuts and bad state of overall infrastructure has come to haunt the industries in monsoon this year. Some of the industrialists are so frustrated with such issues that they said that they didn’t want any subsidies from the government, but want the infrastructure to be improved. While other states like Maharashtra are able to provide good quality infrastructure to industries, Goa is constantly failing to do so.

22nd July 2019, 02:21 Hrs

KARAN SEHGAL


A number of industrialists in Goa are extremely unhappy with the state of crumbling infrastructure in industrial estates. And the advent on monsoon has made situation really miserable for them. They are also baffled because they have been telling the State Government for years to improve the  infrastructure, but the government has made little or no effort to improve the situation.   

Consider the case of oldest industrial estate in the State: Corlim Industrial Estate. Just before the rains, the Electricity Department dug up the road inside the industrial estate to lay underground high tension power cables. Once the cables were laid, the department did not bother to construct a proper road on the top.   

They just filled those holes with mud making it extremely dangerous for anyone commuting on those roads. The question is: Should the road have been dug up so close to the rains? Moreover, why did they not build a proper road once power cables were laid?   

Prakash Kapadia, secretary, Corlim Industrial Estate Association, said, “After the cable work was done, the Electricity Department just filled those pits. In monsoon, water is getting clogged over there. A heavy vehicle passing by a road like this can get stuck.”   

A situation like this could potentially be catastrophic for people commuting to and fro Corlim Industrial Estate. But, are the authorities listening? Year after year same story is repeated with no improvement.   

The advent of summer brings power cuts for industries in Goa. Then the explanation is power demand soars in summer, which makes power cuts a necessity. But even in monsoon, a number of industrial estates are having long power cuts making it clear that it is the poor network of distribution cables and old transformers, which are the real cause of power cuts.  Unless the government invests to improve the power distribution network, the situation will only get    worse with each passing year. Also the number of industries and hotels increases every year in Goa,    which means more stress on infrastructure, which is already crumbling. 

Praveen Blaggon, president, Honda Industrial Estate Association, said, “We don’t have power for 8 to 10 hours everyday. Industries have to rely on generators, which makes the situation really complex for them.”   

The representatives of Goa State Industries Association (GSIA) met Industries Minister, Vishwajit Rane, and apprised him of terrible state of power supply for the industries. Sources said that Rane has assured them that the power situation would improve in the next few months.    The largest industrial estate of Goa, Verna Industrial Estate, is not faring better when it comes to power supply. This is when the industrialists have complained a number of times to the government appealing that something had to be done to improve the power supply.    Parag Joshi, managing partner, Jutex and Laminex, said, “The situation with power cuts is really bad. The department does not give us any notice before the power cuts. I am in continuous production line. In case of a power cut, the entire production batch, which is in progress, becomes useless.”   

The constant power cuts have frustrated businessmen to such an extent that they said that they didn’t   

want the government to give subsidies, but they wanted it to improve the power supply. Other states    like Maharashtra are able to provide good quality power to the industries. If the situation is not   addressed, industries may choose to migrate to other states of India for this very reason.   

Apart from power cuts, industrial estates are lacking in other utilities as well. For example: some of them do not have a police station, which can result in increase in crime.   

Benny Afonso from Kundaim Industrial Estate said, “The government built a building for a police station here. But still, we don’t have a police station. Even when crimes happen, people are not able to report it to the police. To report such instances, we have to go to nearest police station in Ponda, which is far off.”   

On one hand, the government is encouraging women to work in industrial estates. But, on the other hand, industrial estates lack basics like a police station. In such a situation, women employees do not feel safe working in industrial estates.   

The representatives of Verna Industrial Estate have been asking for a long time to do ducting of utility cables on both sides of NH 17-B. This is to prevent damage to such cables, which results in interruptions in supply of water, power, telephone services and etc. Nothing has happened on it so far.   

Damodar Kochkar, president, Verna Industries Association, said, “As of now, no work has happened on ducting of utilities. Similarly, nothing has happened on our request of underpasses under NH 17-B so that people don’t come in the way of traffic.”   

As it is, Goa does not perform well on industrial rankings across all states of India. If the government keeps on neglecting infrastructure, it is very possible that Goa’s rank will slip further. If Goa’s rank has to improve, the government will have to upgrade the infra for industries.   

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