Goa: Authorities Struggle To Get Applications For Hotels, Households Connected To Colva STP

Goa: Authorities Struggle To Get Applications For Hotels, Households Connected To Colva STP

Tourism dept affidavit in High Court reveals just 21 applications received; seven domestic households while 14 commercial units have applied.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Monday, December 18, 2023, 07:07 PM IST
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The Goan Network

Margao: Guess how many applications for release of sewage connections at the tourist village of Colva have been received by the PWD and Sewerage Infrastructure Development Corporation of Goa Ltd (SIDCGL) for treatment of sewage at the Colva Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) till date?

Well, when the entrance to the world famous Colva beach is dotting with dozens of hotels, restaurants, tea and coffee stalls, besides residential apartments, the authorities should have by now received hundreds of application for connecting the establishments to the 7.5MLD Colva STP.

A latest affidavit cum compliance report filed by the Tourism Director in the High Court in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Colva and Civic Consumer Forum through its secretary Judith Almeida has revealed that a mere 21 applications have been received for sewerage connections at Colva, out of which seven are domestic households and the remaining 14 are commercial establishments.

The Tourism Director has further stated that work orders for house sewer connections have been already issued, adding that the work of releasing house sewer connections to the public sewer system is underway.

There might be a silver lining nonetheless, with the Tourism Director making a submission before the High Court that the sewerage system is ready and the Colva STP is “completed in all senses and ready to go operational”.

Sadly, the Tourism Director’s affidavit has brought to the fore what has been feared all along – public response for the connections. In fact, the affidavit stated that the STP is waiting for sufficient response from public, as the plant has to be made fully operational upon receiving sufficient sewerage load.

“Once sufficient sewage load is received at the Colva STP, the plant will be made fully operational for sewerage treatment. Presently, trial runs of Colva Sewerage Treatment Plant are kept operational until sufficient sewerage load is received,” the affidavit stated.

This brings back to the fore the moot question when would the residential households and commercial establishments connect their establishments to the Colva STP. Member Secretary of the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) Dr Shamila Monteiro had issued directions to 43 hotels, restaurants and tea and coffee stalls operating at the Colva beach, including the Tourism Department-owned Colva Residency and the stalls operating in the Tourism Department commercial complex.

96% work on sewer line complete, balance to be ready by May 2024

With the Sewerage Infrastructure Development Corporation of Goa Ltd (SIDCGL) maintaining that the 7.5MLD Colva STP plant is ready for commissioning, questions are being raised whether the Corporation has completed the work on the laying of sewer lines across the tourist village.

If the authorities are to be believed, around 96 per cent of the project is completed till date and that the balance work is held up for want of NOCs from the land owners. The affidavit filed in the High Court states that the total sewer network to be laid in Colva is around 24.17 kms, out of which 23.27 kms i.e about 96 per cent work is completed.

The SIDCGL, however, has exuded confidence of completing the balance work by May 31, 2024. “The balance length to be laid is 0.90 kms and this remaining stretch of pipeline network including construction of manholes and pumping stations are already taken up for execution and is expected to be completed by 31/05/2024,” the affidavit stated.

While saying that the authorities have once again requested the Sarpanch of VP Colva and President of Fabrica de Colva respectively to issue NOC for construction of balance pumping stations at Colva, the SIDCGL, however, said this non-execution of balance sewer network does not hamper commissioning of STP, adding that all efforts shall be made to complete the same before the monsoon period of 2024 once NOCs are received. The affidavit has categorically stated that the pending sewer network is not forming part of the main work and the pending work does not hamper commissioning of the STP.

SIDCGL wants Colva p’yat to create awareness on sewerage system

With the Colva STP plant ready to handle sewage coupled with the fact that 96 per cent of the sewerage network in the tourist village stands complete, the million dollar question that may come to haunt the authorities is – how to get the households and establishments connect their premises to the STP?

Or, will the Colva sewerage project go the Margao way wherein many a commercial establishment and household is still not connected to the Margao sewerage project and the authorities, including the Margao Municipal Council, Health, PWD involved in a blame game on the issue?

On its part, the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has issued directions to the 43 commercial establishments to take the sewerage connections. But, the Sewerage Infrastructure Development Corporation of Goa Ltd (SIDCGL) seemed banking heavily on the Colva village panchayat to give wide publicity in the village on the importance of the sewerage system and create awareness amongst the consumers to apply for the sewerage connections.

In fact, the SIDCGL has written a host of letters to the Colva panchayat since 2021 till date with a plea to hold awareness amongst the villagers on the project.

The Corporation is believed to have even enclosed an application form for availing house sewer connections for ready reference. While requesting the Colva panchayat to cooperate in the matter, SIDCGL General Manager has drawn the attention of the panchayat to the High Court directions to the Corporation to commission the sewerage system at an early date.

Aleixo calls for productive plan to reuse treated sewage water

Environment Minister Aleixo Sequeira has come out with a suggestion to the Sewerage Infrastructure Development Corporation of Goa (SIDCGL) to prepare a plan how best to ensure the reuse of the treated sewage water at the Colva STP for gardening and other purposes.Sequeira has maintained that instead of releasing the treated sewage water from the Colva STP into the river Sal at Khareband, the water can as well be put to productive use, by using the treated water for gardening by the hotels to begin with. “I have mooted the plan so that the treated water is not wasted by getting it discharged in the river when it can be reused for gardening. Let the SIDCGL officials prepare and put in place a logistic plan to connect the STP to the hotels,” he said.The Environment Minister has pointed out that treated sewage water is being used in metropolitan cities, besides advanced countries for gardening and flushing of tanks. “I will take up with the government how best the treated sewage water not just from Colva, but from other STPs, including Margao is put to use for gardening and flushing of tanks,” he added.SIDCGL General Manager Swapnil Desai told The Goan that his office will prepare a plan to implement the suggestion made by the Environment Minister. “Once the plan is ready, the same will be submitted to the SIDCGL higher ups for decision and action,” Desai added.

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