Goa: Draft Master Plan 2041 For Margao Unveiled; Focus On Public Spaces, Commercial Zones

Goa: Draft Master Plan 2041 For Margao Unveiled; Focus On Public Spaces, Commercial Zones

The consultant appointed by Goa State Urban Development Agency (GSUDA) unveiled the draft master plan before the Margao city fathers on Wednesday.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Thursday, January 18, 2024, 05:30 PM IST
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Margao Draft Master Plan 2041 | The Goan Network

Margao: An integrated public transit system, rejuvenation of River Sal with a buffer, promotion of agro-tourism and heritage tourism, creation of new economic activity, activating the municipal garden area, and creation of a pedestrian-friendly city centre, besides commercial exploitation of spaces are amongst the proposals mooted in the draft Master Plan 2041 for Margao.

The consultant appointed by Goa State Urban Development Agency (GSUDA) unveiled the draft master plan before the Margao city fathers on Wednesday. The consultant says it may cost the exchequer ₹120 crore to implement around 5-6 projects mooted in the plan, adding that the projects can be taken up by the government in phases as per the availability of funds.

Zone 1 Plan

In Zone 1, Fatorda, the plan has re-strategized NH66 as civic commercial corridors, anchored at the existing KTC bus stand. The Margao-Ponda highway, which starts from the Old Market clock tower circle and connects the Ravindra Bhavan, Fatorda, Sports Complex and Stadium is proposed as a cultural and recreational spine. New smaller economic nodes are also proposed along the Margao bypass road.

An integrated green-blue network which respects the natural hydrology is proposed to allow storm water drainage without flooding the surrounding areas. This is done in combination with a network of programmed open spaces across Fatorda, connected by pedestrian networks within a five-minute walk from each neighbourhood. 

The Sal river is to be rejuvenated with revived farming, agro-tourism, public spaces, parks, walking and cycling trails, and other riverside recreation activities.

Zone 2 Plan

In Zone 2 Margao Centre, the draft has proposed opening up of the Margao Municipal Garden and Aga Khan Park to the adjoining street, the administrative building of Salcete Communidade to be converted into a museum for South Goa and the plaza adjoining the building to be connected to the market street, which will be converted into a pedestrian-friendly street.

The Holy Spirit Church area, which is a significant node along the heritage loop is to be revived in the plan and designated as a heritage area through the pedestrianising of streets and the creation of plazas.

The draft plan has proposed Margao South Zone as a new economic node connected to the rest of the city via the transit loop, anchored at the inter-modal transit gateway proposed at the railway station.

The plan has envisaged a hierarchical network of streets, creating blocks with different land uses such as mixed-use, commercial, residential and industrial. Besides, an innovation hub is proposed housing units for a range of programmes such as retail, art and culture, entertainment, incubation hub, innovation labs, hospitality and multipurpose space in the land designated for commercial and public use just south of the railway station.

Given that the south side of Margao is vulnerable to flooding, the master plan has taken this aspect into consideration by creating a central green-blue spine proposed along the existing nullah and SIP pressure conduit area.

A presentation held by the GSUDA-appointed consultant on the Master Plan for Margao evoked a lukewarm response from the Margao city fathers, with only 8-9 out of 25 councillors turning up at the Municipal hall on Wednesday.

Despite the glaring absence of the majority, the consultant proceeded with the presentation, raising questions about transparency and public representation.

Margao civic chief Damu Shirodkar, vice-chairperson Deepali Sawal, Camilo Barretto, Mahesh Amonkar, Pooja Naik, Raju Naik, Shweta Lotlikar, Damodar Varak were amongst the councillors present, besides two municipal junior engineers. Interestingly, around half the ruling BJP councillors were conspicuous by their absence at the presentation, raising serious doubts over the exercise.

Former Margao Municipal Council chairperson and convenor of Shadow Council for Margao, Savio Coutinho, who was present for the presentation, questioned the exercise. 

“What’s this presentation all about when the councillors representing the citizens are absent? Since this Master Plan will affect the lives of the citizens in a big way, it is in the fitness of things the exercise is conducted in a transparent manner and not in haste,” Savio said.

He said citizens of Margao had a bitter experience when the Comprehensive Development Plan for Margao was unveiled by a consultant over a decade ago after it had transpired that projects were proposed over residential and commercial structures. 

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