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No master plan for Cuncolim adds to the town’s chaos

03 Aug 2021 | 07:01am IST

No master plan for Cuncolim adds to the town’s chaos

Demand not to bring new projects, instead repair and renovate the neglected landmarks

Vijay Dessai

CUNCOLIM: Cuncolim can never complain about under-development — crore of money can were shelled out to raise oh-so modern concrete structures that glittered this corner of South Goa with a shiny look. However, those blessings of developments for last 20 years, irrespective of governance, have turned to be a curse for Cuncolkars as lately they realised riding on the urbanisation spree without a master plan in place, Government, Council investment never had a foresight for their maintenance; Most standout as showpiece tender almost no benefits to the locals.

Cuncolkars regret that all successive MLAs and ministers, unfortunately, were never guided by the then engineers, architects and expert consultants that erecting a structure were not the end of plan but they had to stack money for their maintenance over the years and now they have turned to be white elephants for the current successive local bodies.

Current Cuncolim Municipal Council (CMC) failed to allocate proper budget for their repairs and maintenance. Locals claim that when council planned some projects it was duty of council and MLA to see that the public money which they are spending for a particular project it would return benefits the public in general. Many projects in town are turned into white elephants.

People in chorus raise question whether those projects were built to benefit local representatives or to benefit people?

When Joaquim Alemao was Urban Development Minister, he wanted to give a facelift to the town by getting beautification projects. Concrete road from Bhiunsa to Sanvorcotto and blue fancy shining street lights along the side of the concrete road was his dream and government spend around Rs 10 crore for this project. Unfortunately those fancy shining lights never got lighted and concrete road was replaced by tar road. The whole expenditure goes waste.

Most of the development Cuncolim saw was during Alemao’s time. Government, through various departments, provided huge funds to construct various projects but within ten to fifteen years half of these multi-crore projects lost their glory as successive Councils never made any provision in their budget for maintenance. Councils never had enough fund for it.

The locals are aghast to see that landmark project like Indoor Sports Hall at Maddicotto, which was constructed to provide all indoor sports activities and also gymnasium, is limited only to badminton that too for few, its ceiling, which had collapsed, still not replaced, electric connections which had damaged is yet to be fixed and even the walls need repair. Unfortunately, most of the proud projects are reeling are fated to same condition in different capacity.


MULTIPURPOSE HALL IS IN BAD SHAPE

Only auditorium in Cuncolim, which is owned by CMC, demands quick attention. This auditorium is leaking during the rains as the false ceiling is about to collapse. Ceiling fans don’t function during summer. There were demands to install air condition facilities but again council declines showing empty coffer. Instead Government spent few lakh of rupees to install huge air tanks and pump which as alternative to air condition; unfortunately those tanks and water pumps got damaged during the rains.


FREEDOM FIGHTERS MEMORIAL

Freedom fighters memorial is in the ruins. It is the pride of Cuncolkars but they regret that it is dishonored by negligence of CMC. New Council was supposed to renovate the freedom fighter memorial. Yuri Alemao had promised CMC to bear the renovation expense but locals objected to this idea and the whole renovation got stalled sine die.

Cuncolim Chieftain Memorial, Cuncolim market projects, toilet facilities, CMC administrative are yearning for repairs and renovation but locals are not very hopeful about it. Council claiming that its coffers being empty no maintenance work has been completed in its 120 days in office.

Smart Cuncolim was the slogan of governing council and they came in power with same promise but couldn’t show anything in action or intention till date.

Locals say nothing has changed in last 120 days and present Council has adapted the footsteps of past lethargic Council. It has also been reportedly found that present Council and MLA are not on same page with vision and mission.

The big question that has started pulsing in people’s mind is that when municipal coffers are empty, government is not ready to allot fund, locals are not allowing politicians to take repair work with their personal funds so in that situation how CMC would be able to make Cuncolim smart.

“Our motto is to make Cuncolim smart. We will deliver what we have promised. Cuncolkars waited for last ten years wait for some more days and you will get the results,” say councillors from the governing body

In fact with so many revenue generating projects CMC should be able to become self-sustainable. The locals have arrived to a realisation that lack of planning and administrative failures and lack of strong will would spoiled the show.

Cuncolkars are now demanding not to take new projects till all those existing projects are repaired instead.

“CMC must put a capping on new projects. First priority should be repairing and renovation. Freedom fighters memorial and chieftains memorial is our pride this need to be renovated on first priority,” said a Cuncolim local.

Will Laxman Naik and his team under the guidance of their mentor Yuri Alemao be able to put things right to make Cuncolim smart?

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