Top-level meet takes stock of Sal pollution, mulls action

*Stress on connecting establishments and households to sewerage network *Action against erring establishments with water supply disconnections

THE GOAN NETWORK | DECEMBER 01, 2022, 11:49 PM IST
Top-level meet takes stock of Sal pollution, mulls action

The condition of the river Sal near the Khareband bridge.

Photo Credits: Santosh Mirajkar

MARGAO 

The contentious issue of River Sal pollution due to discharge of sewage and waste water took centre stage on Thursday with the high-level meeting chaired by the PWD Minister Nilesh Cabral with senior officials devising ways and means to stop the river pollution.

The meeting held at the South Goa district Collectorate on Thursday morning laid stress on connecting establishments and households to the underground sewerage network and mulling action against erring establishments with water supply disconnections.

The meeting was attended by senior officials headed by Chief Secretary Puneet Kumar Goel, the secretary Environment and PWD, besides South Goa district Collector, Jyoti Kumari, deputy Collector Snehal Prabhu, senior officials of PWD and Water Resources department, Margao Municipal officials and the Panchayat secretaries of village panchayats along Salcete coastal belt.

While the meeting is believed to have taken stock of the situation over the ongoing sewerage works, setting a timeline to the Sewerage Infrastructure Development Corporation of Goa Ltd (SIDCGL), the Margao Municipal Council was the focus of attention at the meeting, with the raw sewage flowing unabated into the river Sal through various storm water nullahs.

In fact, the Margao Municipality came under the scanner at the meeting with the top officials demanding to know the ground situation, whether households and commercial establishments in the commercial capital are connected to  the underground sewerage line or are still discharging raw sewage and waste water into the  drains and gutters.

A similar message was conveyed to the  Panchayat secretaries to ensure that no sewage flows into the drains, which later finds its way into the river Sal.

The meeting has come less than a month after Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas raised the issue of river Sal pollution on November 4 last, with the MLA accusing the PWD and SIDCGL for discharge of  raw sewage from the Margao STP plant. The high level meeting also assumes significance and comes against the backdrop of the fact that inspection of the river Sal by the Goa State Pollution Control Board has confirmed that around five storm water nullahs are carrying sewage and waste water into the river Sal.

PWD Minister Nilesh Cabral told The Goan after the high-level meeting that the meeting was called to work out a holistic solution to the river Sal pollution and address the issue of sewerage line and connectivity. "This issue cannot be resolved overnight or by making noise. We need to work out a holistic approach to the problem. The meeting has taken stock of the situation. We have worked out measures how the departments should coordinate to resolve the issue”, he said.

Cabral added: “Since representatives of all the departments attended the meeting, they have been given certain time bound tasks. Since the sewerage works are underway, the department has also requested the district Collector to grant permission for road cutting”.

As Minister for Environment, Cabral said he has told the concerned authorities to act against the erring establishments discharging sewage and waste water in the drains. “When a sewerage line is in place and if any establishment continues to discharges the waste and sewage water in the drains, then the authorities should act accordingly under the law”, he added.

Sources in the know informed that the South Goa district Collector Jyoti Kumari has been given a brief to have a weekly meeting with the officials of the various departments to review the timeline set at the High level meeting.

While the Water Resources Department (WRD) had submitted a detailed report to the district Collector on the number of storm water nullahs carrying raw sewage into the river Sal from Margao and Fatorda, the WRD has been given a fresh brief to identify other small outlets discharging waste water into the river Sal.


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