As Fatordekars keep their fingers crossed over the fate of the parking plaza project proposed at the old market with the Margao municipality stopping the work, records reveal that not a single parking project has seen the light of day over the years when parking is a major burning issue plaguing the commercial capital.
Unlike other towns and villages where parking space issue remains unresolved for want of land, the commercial capital is blessed with a host of open spaces across the city, more so near the city markets – the hub of business.
Sadly, blame it on politics or simply lethargy and apathy by the powers that be, none of the open spaces has been put to parking use over the years as a result of which parking is one issue that has remained unaddressed to date.
The old fish market land behind the Margao municipal building, the old bus stand opposite the Margao police station and the pick-up stand right adjoining the Margao municipal new market has been craving for development over the years, but in vain.
Besides, the entire stretch of the land, running parallel to the old market circle-KTC bus stand road, has been acquired by the Margao municipality with the avowed objective to develop the area into a parking lot. Around half a decade has passed since the MMC acquired the land, but the parking is yet to see the light of day there.
Old market parking project
The Margao municipality acquired the entire land from the old market circle to the KTC bus stand for a ground-level parking project over half a decade ago during the tenure of former Urban Development minister Francis D’Souza. While the land had come into possession of the municipality long ago, the changing political equations only put spokes in the development of a parking lot.
Bereft of funds required to execute the parking project, the municipality knocked on the doors of the Goa State Urban Development Agency (GSUDA) with a plea to take up the project. Estimated to cost around Rs 6-7 crore, the project entails vehicular parking for around 300 two-wheelers and 150 four-wheelers. Unlike the multi-level parking project mulled in the State, the old market project is proposed as ground-level parking to cater to the requirements of citizens not just from Fatorda or Margao but Salcete, who park their vehicles near the KTC bus stand to catch a bus to Panaji.
The project sparked a row last month when citizens led by Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai launched the project by laying a foundation stone when the government had cancelled the official programme, apparently because Margao MLA Digambar was abroad.
Against the backdrop of this controversy, sources informed that Urban Development Minister Vishwajit Rane is believed to have directed GSUDA to commence work on the project without any formal launch.
Says a GSUDA official: “The project has been tendered and a work order issued to the contractor who has started with barricading. The project is being executed legally by complying with the codal formalities.”
The official added: “We fail to understand how the MMC has now told the contractor to stop the work. The parking project is being taken up by GSUDA as per the request of the Margao municipality supported by a Council resolution. Where’s the question of the GSUDA failing to take the MMC in the loop when the proposal has come from the civic body.”
Officials of the Director of Municipal Administration as well as the executing agency GSUDA in private said putting spokes in the wheels of the parking project does not augur well for the civic body as it is looking forward to executing many a project in the commercial project via the GSUDA.
Multi-level parking project at old fish market
With the old market parking project mired in controversy after the MMC ordered a stop to the ongoing barricading works, the multi-level parking project proposed behind the Margao municipal building has come under sharp focus.
For, after its utter failure to execute the project over the last seven years, the MMC requested the Goa State Urban Development Agency (GSUDA) to take up the multi-level project for the civic body.
Accordingly, GSUDA is believed to have prepared and finalized plans for the ground-plus-four-storied multi-level parking project at an estimated cost of around Rs 7-8 crore. The file, sources said, has gone to the government for administrative approval, with officials keeping their fingers crossed whether the project will now receive the government’s nod against the backdrop of the MMC’s action to stop work on the old market parking plaza project.
The multi-level project, GSUDA officials informed will have a provision for parking around 200 cars and around 100 two-wheelers. Besides, the plan has mooted a food court atop the facility.
The foundation stone for the project was laid in mid-September 2015 at Margao’s old fish market by the MMC during the tenure of former Chairperson Arthur D’Silva. Sadly, the parking facility is yet to see the light of day.
Margao old bus stand
Hazard a guess why the spacious old bus stand at Margao is not being utilized for parking given that the commercial capital is facing a parking space crunch. Well, it’s now over two decades since the Margao Municipal Council drew up a plan to set up a multi-level parking project at the old bus stand. The civic body headed by former MMC Chairperson Ganashyam Shirodkar had floated a tender just before the 2000 municipal polls to set up the project on Build, Operate, Own and Transfer (BOOT) basis.
Sadly, after a change in political guard in the 2000 civic polls, the project did not find favour of the new dispensation under the leadership of then BJP Chairperson Kamlini Painginkar.
The iconic old bus stand, which was once a major transport hub before it was shifted to the KTC bus stand in the mid-80s, is now craving attention for want of maintenance. The old bus stand has become an eyesore with the area coming in handy for the police to dump accident vehicles and for parking the fast food kiosks.
The open space that is located right adjoining the mega new market is the pick-up stand. The stand once housed Margao’s wholesale fish market, but after the market shifting, the space is available for vehicular parking, including pick-up vans.
What’s interesting to note is that though official files were moved to transfer the land from the Town and Country Planning Department to house a multi-level parking lot at the site, the ground reality has remained unchanged.
Resultantly, Margao’s new market traders, who have been anxiously looking towards the MMC and the powers that be to set up the parking facility at the pick-up stand, have been left high and dry as a result of which customers visiting the mega market have been left to fend for themselves to scout for parking space.