Smart Panaji: Time for all to move ahead with one vision

Special attention should be given to the St Inez creek; authorities concerned will have to work on a smart drainage system for the capital city

Smart Panaji: Time for all to move ahead with one vision

Under the Smart City Mission, Panaji should have been avery smart city but in the first place fundamental necessities are what thecity is lacking. The roads are in bad shape with many, especially interiorroads, in the capital city, requiring a fresh layer of asphalt. In particularSt Inez, Taleigao, and Caranzalem roads are in deplorable condition. The lesssaid about the potholes in Goa the better. Our spines, vehicles and wallets areall assaulted daily. Avoiding potholes in dry weather means putting othervehicles in danger as one has to drive or ride zigzag. However, even worse, inthe monsoons, there's no avoiding them as the roads are mostly flooded and youhave no idea where these lie.

The city's Kadamba bus terminal is in such bad shape,even the locals get confused trying to understand the directions and flow oftraffic. It is like a merry go round for tourists. Commuters making use of thisbus terminus have to face the brunt of exposure to bad weather during themonsoon. Now is the right time for the city fathers to alternately use Sundaysand holidays to ameliorate the condition of this capital city's main bus stand.

The other fundamental issue is the drainage system inPanaji. CCP councillors and civil engineers will never understand the flow ofthe backwaters and tides of the river Mandovi. What we don't see are openchambers at prominent places that are a big risk to pedestrians and vehiculartraffic during monsoon flooding. A very determined effort has to be made by thecivil engineers not only from the Corporation of the City of Panaji, but theIPSCDL, PWD and GSIDC to plan and execute a drainage system that will reduceflooding in the monsoon if Panaji has to live up to its smart-city billing.

For two successive years, Panaji has received 170 inchesof rainfall. Given this, a specialised technical team should be assigned thetask of devising a very "smart" drainage system. If required, thisteam could seek the assistance of the local Meteorological Department and NIOto get the data of tide levels at strategic locations in the city. Based on thedata, the team could calculate the requirements of streetwise drainage ofquantity of water into the river Mandovi taking into account high and low tidesas well as the aspect of backflushing.

Special attention should be given to the St Inez creek inorder to clean it and thus prevent diseases from spreading due to its woefulcondition. Despite an STP plant in the vicinity of the creek, the condition ofthe water is getting worse and badly polluted with untreated sewage flowingfrom high-rise buildings into the creek and the uncontrolled spread of migranthousing colonies has further aggravated the issue.

The garbage issue is of paramount importance and totackle this the question of having the garbage treatment plant in Bainguinimhas to be thrashed out with the maximum application of mind as more and morepeople have made their housing thinking the Bainguinim plant will not come upin close proximity of the World Heritage site of Old Goa. Care has to be takenthe impressive world-class monuments under no circumstance become susceptibleto danger due to malfunctioning of the proposed garbage treatment plant there.Protecting the interest of the existing residents of Old Goa, Carambolim andCorlim should be on the agenda of the proponents of the garbage treatmentplant. Streamlining of traffic in the capital city and parking should also beprioritized taking into confidence the traffic police.

New road signs and street nameplates should be installed.Painting of zebra crossings and speed-breakers of international standardsshould be put up immediately. One issue that has been neglected and notconsidered at all is the issue of inspection of old buildings in the city toensure whether they are safe or at risk to the residents of the capital city.

Maintenance of open spaces in the city as well as themunicipal gardens with proper benches has to be improved. The Parrikar Samadhicould have been given an alternate location, not at the beach. The recreationarea adjacent to Samadhi is further blocking its access to the beach. Thenearby white-elephant walking-bridge is just for namesake and does not serveits purpose for Sharada Mandir students to cross the road.

Construction of the Bandodkar football stadium is anissue which should be prioritized since the capital city does not have adequateprovision for outdoor activities. The Campal stadium has turned into a junkyardwith dumped and damaged vehicles giving a bad look to the stadium which has theinaugural foundation stone at this location having no meaning. To furtheraggravate the situation, migrant families have made their housing around thisstadium.

The relocation of the six offshore casinos to analternate site has to be done so as to de-congest the river Mandovi as waspromised by the government. The relocation of casinos has not been pursued aspromised to its logical conclusion. Instead, the Government keeps on renewinglicences and their curse appears to be never-ending.

It should be the endeavour of the authorities to givePanaji a very smart look by implementing these various 'smart' solutions.

Share this