With the passing away of then chief minister late Manohar Parrikar, his plan to renovate/refurbish the Mapusa municipal market also died, and fingers are pointed to the city-fathers for scuttling a brilliant scheme to redevelop one of the most popular Portuguese-era markets in the State.
Nearly six years back, in 2017, Manohar Parrikar had floated the idea and even made a budgetary provision of Rs 20 crore to refurbish the Mapusa market.
The proposal had struck a chord among the decision makers leading to appointment of a chief architect to draw up a plan for the renovation of the market.
And the architect, Ashwinikumar Prabhu, had done a good job suggesting upgradation of several services and introducing a host of additional utilities to give the market a vibrant look.
Among several proposals envisaged in the plan was the construction of a canopy covering the entire municipal market which turned out to be a major bone of contention among a section of the councillors.
The plan had scope to pave all the lanes in the market and construct a 10-metre ring road for vehicular mobility besides upgrading the existing buildings and installing CCTV cameras and signages all around.
Although a couple of councillors opposed the market canopy, a majority of the councillors gave a go-ahead to the market renovation plan in the council meeting chaired by the then chairperson Rohan Kavlekar.
But the idea never took off and the elaborate plan drawn by the architect remained only on paper.
“The market is the main revenue earner for the municipality, and we hardly spend on its maintenance. This plan would have helped to spruce up the market. It could have been a game-changer for Mapusa,” said Sandip Falari, a former chairperson.
For two years on the trot, the then chief minister made budgetary provision of Rs 20 crore for the refurbishment of Mapusa market, but the local council failed to capitalise on the bounty.
Just when things were looking bleak and Parrikar’s idea appeared to fade away with his passing, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant renewed a commitment of Rs 10 crore for redevelopment of Mapusa market.
This time the Goa State Urban Development Agency (GSUDA) decided to take up the work to refurbish the municipal market.
The earlier plan was then tweaked and was placed before the Mapusa council for approval last year.
But yet again the city-fathers failed to arrive at a consensus on renovating the market with one councillor arguing that it will be better to demolish the market and construct a new one instead of refurbishing it.
“I think the current batch of councillors is bereft of intellect. They cannot arrive at simple decisions. What stops them to accept the proposal to redevelop the market when the government is providing the funds? We have missed a golden opportunity which may never come,” said a member of Mapusa Merchant’s Association, requesting anonymity.
According to a senior official of GSUDA, Mapusa has missed the bus yet again as the council failed to give its approval to the market renovation plan.
“It’s over. The proposal is as good as dead,” the official said.