Newly constructed drain near St Inez gives way

THE GOAN NETWORK | JUNE 11, 2024, 12:34 AM IST


As Panaji grapples with the delayed Smart City works amid heavy rains, the newly constructed drain opposite the Directorate of Fire & Emergency Services collapsed on Monday morning, endangering the well-known Taad-Maad shrine and the historic Banyan tree.

Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited (IPSCDL) is already behind schedule in completing the major sewerage project, which involves laying the main sewerage trunk pipeline from Caculo Mall to the Sewage Treatment Plant at Tonca.

The excavation next to the drain led to the collapse, with authorities reportedly silent on the contractor’s alleged reckless actions.

“It’s not even 25 days since the drain was built, and it has already collapsed. Now, the shrine and Banyan tree are at risk. Our question is, are engineers and contractors not using their expertise to prevent the wastage of money, resources and moreover, public inconvenience? How could they excavate the area around the just built drain and that too in rain,” asked a local at the site.

One of the officials claimed that they were dewatering the area to bring the situation under control and that additional pumps would be deployed to manage the increased water flow. However, he was unable to explain how this activity would proceed given the ongoing rainfall and why safety measures were not adhered to during the works.

Mayor of the Corporation of the City of Panaji Rohit Monserrate, who initially downplayed the incident as ‘minor’, assured the contractor would face penalties for the negligence and delays. 

“It’s minor... they (the contractor) will lose the money,” he said when the media pointed out the seriousness of the issue.

“Our priority is the temple and banyan tree. We have instructed the contractor to backfill and secure the temple first, then proceed with structural reinstatement. They will clean the drain and install shoring to protect the temple before continuing with the drain work,” the Mayor added as he personally inspected the site. Emergency shoring is also being taken up to ensure stabilizing the excavated walls. 

The IPSCDL has once cited the rains as the excuse for the collapse, with sources stating that officials attributed the failure to a rise in the water table, which caused the sandy soil beneath the drain to cave in. This led to the side drain sinking. 

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