Photo Credits: Santosh Mirajkar
The battle lines appeared to have been drawn over the abandoned Navelim-Benaulim bridge across River Sal.
A day after Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao vowed to complete the work on abandoned bridge with police protection, Navelkars on Sunday descended on the site of the abandoned bridge, as they vowed to oppose the bridge tooth and nail.
In fact, former Navelim MLA Avertano Furtado and former Benaulim MLA Caitu Silva along with residents were on the banks of river Sal to send a clear warning to the Benaulim MLA to stay away from the project.
They said they would not be cowed down by threats and that, they are ready to go to jail, but won’t allow the bridge to become a reality.
Briefing the media, Avertano said he along with Caitu had got the work on the bridge stopped after inviting late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for a site inspection. “Even Parrikar was convinced that there was no need for the bridge and had instructed to scrap the project”, he added.
He pointed out that with the western bypass passing through Navelim and Benaulim, there’s no need to revive the Navelim-Benaulim bridge. He also challenged Churchill to prove that he has buried any ogors at Sinquetim near the bridge site, saying one of the ogors was filled up by the authorities to pave way for the bridge.
Ex-Benaulim MLA Caitu said people of Benaulim and Navelim had opposed the bridge around a decade ago, and wondered why Churchill is so keen to execute the project again.
A resident of Nagmodem-Navelim George Barretto said, “Churchill is disturbing our peace. We want to tell him that people of Navelim will not remain quite. We are ready to go to jail on the issue.”
While making a plea to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to intervene and stop Churchill and the PWD from going ahead with the bridge construction, George said the people of Navelim will have no option than to hit the roads again.