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Locals demand for clarity on much-delayed Cuncolim bypass road

Locals demand for clarity on much-delayed Cuncolim bypass road

People want to know which alignment has been selected

VIJAY DESSAI


CUNCOLIM: What is the present status of the proposed Cuncolim bypass road on NH66? What was the outcome of all the High level Committee meetings? Did the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI) contractor finish the physical survey and presentation of the demo regarding all three alternative proposals? When will NHAI start the construction work? Have the affected residents of Sirlim, Cuncolim and Balli agreed to the bypass proposals?

These are some of the questions that are still haunting Cuncolkars. From the last eight years, the issue of the Bypass road on NH66 from Sirlim to Balli via Cuncolim has been discussed at all levels but nothing has changed. When it comes to taking responsibility for the delay in resolving this issue, all the authorities and elected representatives concerned have been passing the buck and blaming each other.

Unfortunately, this has been an issue for the last thirty years during which there have been so many accidents, including fatal ones.

This has been going on for eight years and during that period; there have been many fatal accidents on the NHNH17, which has now got status of NH66. This alone, should have been a cause of serious concern for the authorities. Further due to the narrow, congested roads and bottlenecks at Cuncolim market and Balli, there is always a traffic problem and is a very busy road in terms of volumes of vehicles passing through each day and locals feel widening is the need of the hour.

Incidentally, the NHAI, which wants to construct a four-lane highway that is six metres broad on NH66, has almost completed the construction work from Canacona to Pollem, while the work from Sirlim to Patradevi is underway. However, the work on the Sirlim to Balli via the Cuncolim bypass road is yet to see the light of day. Presently, the authorities are yet to confirm the alignment of the bypass even as four years were taken to select the best proposal for the bypass.

Four years ago, NHAI had proposed three alternative alignments for the bypass. The first one was from Sirlim to Sarzora via Cuncolim to Balli. This alignment, which is parallel to the railway track, was acceptable to a section of the locals. Cuncolim MLA Clafasio Dias had supported railway parallel bypass while Velim MLA and Minister Filipe Nery Rodrigues had called for a high-level meeting with the authorities to decide on an acceptable alignment but that was two years ago. The second alignment was from Panzorconi to Belatemb to Balli. People of Panzorconi and Belatemb in Cuncolim however strongly objected to this as there were many houses that would be demolished to construct the bypass. The Cuncolim MLA had even raised this issue in the Assembly session by calling a motion. Dias had informed the house that this alignment is not feasible and had requested for it to be scrapped. The third proposal was from Uskini bandh to Sanvorcoto via Comba to Balli. NHAI and PWD sources have stated that this proposal has been given the green light and the 7m-long stretch will start from Uskini Bandh to the Balli Health Centre. NHAI officials added that the expenses for the selected bypass alignment will be less and only 31 structures would need to be demolished.

Locals have been demanding for the bypass project to be completed as early as possible.

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