Locals Demand Restoration of Mapusa River on a War Footing (India - Goa)

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Posted January 7, 2019

MAPUSA: Huge amount of garbage, waste, sewage and plastic is being dumped into the Mapusa River daily, but the authorities concerned seem to be turning a blind eye to this menace.
Several passersby moving along the Mapusa Tar Bridge, fling in a bag full of waste into this river. Since this is a disputed jurisdiction between the Mapusa Municipal Council (MMC) and Bastora Panchayat, these local bodies say it is the job of the other to maintain the river.

On Saturday, huge amount of garbage consisting mostly of plastic waste was found floating in the river below that Tar Bridge.

During the Portuguese era, the patrol vessels of Captain of Ports used to navigate from Panjim to Mapusa Tar Bridge and vice versa. And the Portuguese tourist vessels used to dock at Tar Bridge as it was a free navigational route.

Today, the river stands highly polluted with all types of waste and construction debris being dumped into it. The river also has shrunk in width due to diversion at many points and rampant construction along its banks.

MMC Chairperson Ryan Braganza said that the river comes under Bastora jurisdiction, as such, the panchayat should manage it. “No doubt, we do carry out cleaning and dredging of this river from time to time,” he said.

“We will clean it; it was recently cleaned by us during Ganesh Chaturthi. The work of desilting and dredging of this river to the tune of Rs 35 lakh is on hold, as the file is pending with the WRD,” the MMC chief said.

Bastora Sarpanch Savio Martins said that the river has been blocked near Hotel Green Park and also the saw mill due to the on-going PWD work of building the bridge.

“During high tide, the water begins to flow and along with it comes all the waste. I have also spoken to the PWD engineers concerned and they said they would look into it. The desilting work will also start shortly. There is also a need to create awareness among the people who throw their waste into the river,” he said.

The former sarpanch of Bastora, Andrew D’Souza, told Herald that over the years, the residential and commercial buildings along the banks are one of the reasons behind the river being polluted, as occupants of these buildings discharge sewage and effluents in to the river.

“The Mapusa River is dying a slow death and it needs to be restored on priority. The commuters plying along the Tar Bridge are seen throwing their garbage in there fearlessly. I had brought up this topic of the river being polluted at the Bastora gram sabha as well. I demand that the entire river, up to Hotel Green Park should be restored as there are a lot of people who catch fish here,” he said.

Another local commented that this mess needs to be cleared by the MMC which is shying away from its duties. It has become an open dumping place for everyone.

Source: Herald