Panjimites up the ante against bridge project

Maintain that the 8-metre bridge having a cycling-cum-walkway will block the tidal flow of creek and impact the city
Former CCP councillor Patricia Pinto makes a point before Chief General Manager of Smart City Vijaykumar (standing right).
Former CCP councillor Patricia Pinto makes a point before Chief General Manager of Smart City Vijaykumar (standing right). Franky Gracias

"Break the bridge" was the refrain of the residents of Panjim on Friday as they confronted the officials of Smart City, LKS, and Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation at the site where the project is ongoing.

The citizens, who came together under the Save Panjim Group and led by former CCP councillor Patricia Pinto, told the officials present the damage that will be caused to the river and the creek after the bridge project comes up will be irreversible.

The ongoing bridge project on the banks of river Mandovi.
The ongoing bridge project on the banks of river Mandovi.Franky Gracias

Patricia maintained that the presentation made by LKS some years ago on the same project for the benefit of the public was quite different and what was happening now was totally in violation of environmental laws.

Addressing media persons on site, she said, "The LKS report does not make a mention of the ongoing bridge project, which is claimedly coming up to allow an exit for cyclists and walkers to a broader promenade."

Patricia said the LKS report makes no mention of the bridge project.
Patricia said the LKS report makes no mention of the bridge project.Franky Gracias

The citizens said no one knew why a cycling and walking track, and that too 8 metres wide, was being constructed by killing the beach stretch. They fear that the entire project may be with an objective to build small jetties along the route to supplement casino operations.

When the officials of LKS and GSIDC claimed they had CRZ approvals for the project, the citizens shot back by saying that such approvals cannot be above environmental laws.

The citizens of Panjim have vowed not to allow the project.
The citizens of Panjim have vowed not to allow the project. Franky Gracias

They said there could be a hidden plan to later convert the 8-metre cycling and walking track into a road to make it easy for the real estate lobby to further their agenda.

Saying a stark no to the bridge project, Patricia showed the officals an existing parallel walking path in the Campal garden that could be connected to the present walking track.

Samiuddin of Smart City explaining why the bridge project was envisaged.
Samiuddin of Smart City explaining why the bridge project was envisaged. Franky Gracias

She also showed the officials a place near the forest department entry where the cycling track being constructed could join and there was no need for the bridge.

Presently, two concrete structures have come up in the tidal zone of river Mandovi for the erection of the bridge which will connect the cycling track-cum-walkway to the promenade along the D B Marg, opposite the Maquinez Palace at Campal.

Former CCP councillor Patricia Pinto makes a point before Chief General Manager of Smart City Vijaykumar (standing right).
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Patricia said their letters and subsequent reminders to the Mayor Rohit Monserrate and the local MLA Babush Monserrate on the issue have gone unanswered "Panjimites are being cheated. We will not allow such projects and destruction of our already smart city," she stated.

AAP leader Valmiki Naik, who was also present said, it was now time to confront the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority on how it was allowing such projects.

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