Has the pollution of water bodies and the nuisance caused by the rampant discharge of sewage and waste water in the drains and stormwater nullahs in any way abated with the issue coming under the radar of the High Court?
Affidavits and statements filed by concerned department, including the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), Margao Municipal Council, besides the PWD and Sewerage and Infrastructure Development Corporation of Goa Ltd (SIDCGL) may point towards some sort of action initiated by these agencies on paper.
The moot question, however, remains unanswered – has the ground reality changed for the better and how long will it take for the GSPCB, MMC, the PWD or the SIDCGL to put a full stop to the sewage and waste water flowing into the drains and nullahs, which later finds its way into the water bodies and the river Sal.
An answer to this question lies in the affidavit filed by the GSPCB before the High Court filed by petitioner Antonio Alvares in the PIL filed by him to stop the contamination of the once picturesque Salpem lake by sewage and waste water from neighbouring Margao.
No doubt, the PIL has helped to connect a host of housing societies and commercial establishments to the underground sewage network. The petition also helped to wake up the Margao Municipal Council from slumber to issue notices and impose fines on the erring societies and establishments.
A lot, however, needs to be done on the ground if one goes by the affidavit filed by the GSPCB. A glance at the affidavit shows that though the MMC has issued notices to around 104 establishments, only 5-6 people are registered with the PWD or SIDCGL for the sewerage connection. The number of connections to the sewerage system has to increase in order to stop sewage discharge in drains, the affidavit stated.
That’s not all. GSPCB Member Secretary Dr Shamila Monteiro has stated in her affidavit that the MMC may also conduct surveys of the other establishments in the Municipal jurisdiction, apart from the 104 units, which are discharging waste water in the nullah.
This recommendation also assumes significance and comes against the backdrop of the fact that the petitioner, at the last day of hearing last week had drawn the court’s attention to the discharge of waste water from a slum colony directly into the storm water drains.
Sources pointed out that after the petitioner made this submission before the High Court, the MMC has now suddenly realised that while the toilet blocks at the slum colony are connected to the underground network, the households waste water finds its way directly into the drains, throwing up a moot question why agencies, including the MMC and PWD had never deemed proper to connect the households in the colony to the underground sewage network.
Says petitioner Antonio Alvares, “I had knocked the doors of the High Court with one aim, that the agencies should work out a holistic solution to the burning issue of sewage water flowing into the drains, water bodies and the river Sal. I had filed the petition concerning Salpem lake, but the issue seems to be affecting the entire city. I only hope the agencies take the sewage network across the city and get the establishments and households connected to the network.”
This news is reported by The Goan. To read more GOA news visit The Goan