Mapusa: Illegal filling of land and spurt in construction activity in the fields adjacent to NH66 at Gaunsavaddo in Mapusa has raised the threat of floods in the area during the monsoon.
The illegal filling of land has blocked an existing water channel and a nullah which runs across the fields and finally drains into the Mapusa river.
Locals have also informed that a pond which existed in the area has also been buried by the illegal filling activity.
The long stretch of fields also acts as a water retention area during the monsoon.
Importantly, the filling of land has damaged the eco-sensitive mangroves which act as natural buffers against erosion and flooding.
Sources informed that the filling activity has been going on in the area for the last couple of years with the blessing of some politicians.
Local councillor Prakash Bhivshet acknowledged that rampant illegal filling of land was happening at Gaunsavaddo and blamed the authorities for turning a blind eye to the activity.
“Massive filling of fields has been going on for quite some time. Sometimes the activity is also carried out under the cover of darkness,” Bhivshet said.
“In some cases, construction licenses have also been issued by the Mapusa municipality in the area. Despite being a councillor of the area, I have been kept in the dark,” he added.
He further informed that in the last year due to ill-health, he could not move around in his ward and therefore wasn’t aware of some activities taking place in the area.
He blamed the engineering department of the Mapusa municipality for issuing licences to some projects which did not follow the law of the land.
“When an illegal construction was brought to my notice, I requested the concerned engineer to take a site inspection of the area in my presence. But the engineer went ahead and issued a licence to the project,” Bhivshet said.
Locals informed that last year concrete pipes were installed in the fields for smooth movement of rainwater which were now blocked due to filling of land.
“Water is seen getting stagnated on both sides of the concrete pipe. If steps are not taken to clear the area, a man-made disaster is waiting to happen in Gaunsavaddo,” a concerned local said.
Locals have also called for an inspection of the area with concerned department officials to get the issue resolved before the monsoon.