Will the Goa government and the Konkan Railway Corporation shed light on the status of the five flyovers proposed by the Konkan Railway Corporation across the railway line passing through Salcete and accepted by the Goa government, first by the Digambar Kamat dispensation and later by the Manohar Parrikar regime over a decade ago?
Indeed, exactly around a decade ago, the Manohar Parrikar government had accorded in principle nod for the five flyovers for construction over the KR tracks, including a flyover at the Comba railway crossing, reconfirming the decision adopted by the then Digambar Kamat regime.
The Konkan Railway had planned to build the flyovers at the Comba railway crossing, Davorlim level crossing, Seraulim level crossing, besides two flyovers at Majorda and Utorda. There was, however, a rider – that the KR will take up the flyover work on condition the State government foot 50 per cent of the construction cost.
The 50:50 per cent cost sharing basis was readily agreed by the Goa government, first by the Digambar Kamat and later by the successive government headed by late Manohar Parrikar. Sadly, none of the flyovers have taken shape at the five railway crossings till date, notwithstanding the traffic chaos witnessed at the railway crossings due to the manifold rise in vehicle population.
Inquiries by The Goan have revealed that the Parrikar regime had moved the file for the construction of the flyover at the Davorlim railway crossing after the project was backed by then Independent MLA Avertano Furtado, who was a Minister in the BJP-led government.
In fact, of the five flyovers, there were hopes that the Davorlim flyover would see the light of the day. Former Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had laid the foundation stone for the project estimated to cost Rs 24 crore.
Says Avertano: “The Davorlim flyover was estimated to cost Rs 24 crore, of which 50 per cent cost was to be borne by the Goa government. There were, however, some land acquisition issues, which could not be addressed, as a result of which the project did not see the light of the day.”
The flyover proposed at the Seraulim railway crossing also hit a block. Instead, the Railways and the State government are in the process of building a road underpass at Seraulim, just metres away from the railway crossing.
Says a senior KRC officer: “The Congress government and later the BJP government had agreed to fund the flyovers at Margao, Davorlim, Seraulim, Majorda and Utorda on 50 per cent basis. After the nod from the local government, KR engineers had prepared estimates for the five flyovers. In fact, we had prepared the estimates for the flyovers and the same was forwarded to the local government.”
Incidentally, while traffic chaos and snarls are literally the order of the day at the Comba level crossing, no initiative has come from the powers that be and the railway authorities to implement a flyover at the railway crossing.
Ex-MMC chief seeks to know fate of proposed projects
MARGAO: Former Margao Municipal Chairperson Savio Coutinho on Thursday demanded to know the fate of the projects, identified by the Projects Identification Committee, including the flyover proposed at the Comba railway crossing.
Coutinho further pointed out that during his stint as Margao Municipal chairperson, he had submitted a memorandum to the then Union Railway Minister to sanction projects, including a flyover at the Comba railway crossing.
“It’s indeed sad that the Comba railway crossing did not receive the attention from successive governments. Successive governments have only paid lip service to the issue. We have to only hope the traffic chaos witnessed at the railway crossings open the eyes of the powers that be. Hope the authorities plan the flyover right now so that the project becomes a reality at least in the next five years,” Coutinho said.