Goa: Questions raised over lack of action to save Sal

Goa: Questions raised over lack of action to save Sal

Questions are being raised in city circles whether any meetings on sewage and river Sal contamination have been held at the South Goa District Collectorate in the last two months, more so after the government shunted out then District Collector Jyoti Kumari.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Thursday, February 16, 2023, 05:05 PM IST
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Has the flow of raw sewage via the stormwater nullahs into the river Sal been plugged by the authorities? Or, have the PWD or the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) stopped the flow of wastewater from the residential and migrant colonies into the river? Or, has the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) finally tackled the contamination of river Sal by the rampant discharge of raw sewage from Margao and Fatorda?

These and other questions have come to the fore again as all appears quiet on the river Sal contamination by sewage, giving an impression that all is now well on the discharge of raw sewage into the river.

Otherwise, how does one explain that nothing has now been heard on the weekly meetings of all the authorities scheduled to take place at the Margao Municipal Council? Questions are being raised in city circles whether any meetings on sewage and river Sal contamination have been held at the South Goa District Collectorate in the last two months, more so after the government shunted out then District Collector Jyoti Kumari.

Navelim resident Antonio Alvares, the petitioner who has filed the Public Interest Litigation in the High Court, was candid in saying that he has not heard of any of the weekly meetings that has taken place in the Margao Municipal Council in the last two months.

“I do understand that the committee comprising officials of various departments such as GSPCB, PWD, sewerage, MMC etc was not constituted by the High Court. This committee was formed by Margao MLA Digambar Kamat to take a weekly review of the ground on the sewage situation and take remedial measures. Leave alone initiating any remedial measures, the meetings of this committee have not taken place in the last two months,” Alvares said.

He pointed out that departments such as Water Resources and PWD ought to have been members of the committee so that they suggest measures and guide the farmers to take up farming at Salpem lake once again.

He added: “This committee has had a couple of meetings. Prior to the constitution of this committee, there’s been no dearth of inspections of the Salpem lake, the sewage treatment plant (STP) and the nullahs discharging raw sewage into the river Sal. Sadly, not a stormwater nullah has been plugged from carrying sewage and wastewater into the river to date.”

Alvares pointed out that the ground reality has not changed for the better to date, adding that he would draw the attention of the court at the next date of hearing. “Not a single stormwater nullah carrying sewage has been plugged to date. I have no idea whether the Margao municipality has got the households and commercial establishments to take the sewage connections,” he said.

That’s not all. After the then District Collector, Jyoti Kumari had inspected river Sal and the six nullahs carrying sewage into the river, instructions were issued to the various departments to initiate action and file the action taken reports.

After the transfer of Jyoti Kumari, sources wondered whether there’s been any follow-ups on the river Sal contamination to take the battle to a logical conclusion. 

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