WILL PANAJI FLOOD OVER THIS MONSOON?

ADVANCE WARNING…if early showers of rain can create this scenario, imagine what will happen when the real monsoon arrives and Smart City Project contractors have forgotten to include intelligent drainage systems in their projects! Somehow we Indians don’t understand the importance of making roads for smooth drainage of falling rain. Beautification is more important than practical things like drainage systems in place!In one of the picture we have Panaji MLA Babush Monseratte inspecting Miramar’s flooded roads in the first floods before the real monsoon arrives…he better invest in a motor boat now instead of motor bikes and cars!

By Rajan Narayan

THE Revenue Minister Babush Monserrate has warned that the capital city Panaji cannot be saved from flooding during the forthcoming monsoon. Babush has pointed out that the roadways drainage and sewage work undertaken by Smart City Project contractors is sub-standard, not up to the mark and incomplete even if his latest quote is “it is only 90% complete.”
In fact, Babush Monserrate has virtually sounded a red alert for shops and commercial establishments down 18 June road. In recent years 18 June road has been flooding over badly every monsoon for the original drainage channels have been messed up. Every monsoon now we see 18 June Road in the news with the residents here in angry and stressed out mood because of the distress the flooding puts them through (including the senior citizens in families).
What has never happened before is happening now. On several occasions rain water mixed up with the dirty muck of the roadsides has entered the shops in the busy commercial and shopping hub of Panaji. The shops are low line almost at the level of the footpath while as a rule Panaji itself is more or less at sea level so called city.
Panaji’s drainage system was set up by the Portuguese more than 400 years ago. Many sewage pipes have not been fully replaced by the Smart City Project works.
Mayor Rohit Monserrate has demanded the replacement of old Portuguese drains. Smart City Project CEO Sanjit Rodrigues has boasted about completing all roadworks including drainage and sewage works at St Inez area from Caculo Mall to Taj Vivanta Panaji and vicinity. The area around the Caculo Mall is still in an unfinished state at the pavements and kerbsides level. Much is still awaiting repairs and finishing off and nobody is sure if it will happen before the monsoon rains descend. The St Inez areas have become a nightmare for pedestrians let alone two-wheelers and four-wheelers alike.
On the eve of the monsoon of 2024 the whole of Panaji looks like it will be under threat of flooding. The traditional spots prone to flooding are also the areas around the Don Bosco School. This makes it difficult for students to get in and out of school. The Miramar circle also tends to get flooded in the absence of proper drainage.
All problems get intensified at high tide when sea water comes in at the Miramar Circle. The monsoon waves are so rough that they splash right across beach ways and make their way down the roads. The Panaji Kadamba bus terminal is another disaster zone for every year it witnesses massive flooding.
It is feared that the newly built up areas too will get flooded this year, including the areas around Junta House and the Fidalgo Hotel enclave where the kerbsides with their treacherous narrow alleys are deadly for all traffic and pedestrians daring to take their chances here. The Mala areas too have seen extensive digging but it is anyone’s guess what will happen this monsoon here. The fear is that various trenches left open or barely covered will fill up with water and be treacherous spots for everyone be they be on cycles or bikes or cars.
Smart City Projects CEO Sanjit Rodrigues had virtually sworn to media people that all roadways works will be complete and the city safe for the monsoon by May 31, 2024. The picture at ground level reveals a different story with hectic work still on along with fresh digging here and there to rectify wrongs committed.
An inspection was carried out by Revenue Minister Atanasio Babush Monserrate along with CCP engineers on May 30 but it from all accounts his verdict was that Panaji could drown this monsoon the moment the rains arrive. The monsoon has already heralded its arrival in Kerala on May 28, and it is now expected to reach Goa this week. The confusion is compounded by the fact that schools reopen for the academic year on June 4, 2024. How will the children and their parents and school staff cope with the new school scheduling as also a city overflowing with rain enough to be injurious to limb and life all around?

IS PANAJI READY FOR THE MONSOON?

A photo essay…take a look and make up your own mind!

ON THE EVE OF THE MONSOON RAINS, END-MAY, 2024…glimpses of the state of roadways down DB Marg, St Inez, Tonca, 18 June Road, near Cafe Real, Caranzalem road, new Panaji bus-stops a utter horror stainless steel mirage and what else – stupid beautification gullies, pocket gardens at road endings which will turn into litter sites for litterbugs! Pics by Tara Narayan and Heena Nawar

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