BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Every water body has its own flushing system and keeping this fact in focus along with the work executed so far, Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited (IPSCDL) is confident that there will be no flooding in Mala because of the completion of work.
However, it will closely observe St Inez as work is still on; and the flood situation in central Panjim will depend on whether heavy rains coincide with the high tide.
“Our Panjim is low-lying with the outflow drains getting submerged during some high tide scenarios in the monsoon. The problem is aggravated during high tide and heavy rainfall which occur roughly around fifteen to twenty days during the monsoon,” explained a senior engineer of Smart City on condition of anonymity.
“The problem of flooding in central Panjim can be resolved if systems are put in place to hold or divert monsoon water coming from Altinho hill or if a system is designed to hold the river water from entering the city during high tide. It will be an expensive affair. Similar solutions proved successful in Tokyo and Singapore,” elaborated the engineer.
“The drainage system needs to take into account the old Portuguese drains along with the increased capacity and maintenance of pits,” added the engineer.
“If there is a solution to flooding in Panjim, it has to be a three-part solution with emphasis on Ourem Creek, St Inez Creek and water from Altinho flowing into central Panjim. A study was jointly carried out by Smart City and engineers from Denmark which was done under the Centre's green strategic partnership with the government of Denmark,” explained a spokesperson of Smart City on condition of anonymity.
Smart City officials are confident that Mala will be free from flooding this monsoon because of their Rs 170-crore investment in the flood water pumping station in Mala.
“The work has been executed by the Water Resources Department (WRD). The Mala lake is going to be used as a retention basin. It has been de-silted and five generator-based pumps – three of hundred horsepower and two of sixty horsepower – will be used to take care of the excess water,” assured the spokesperson.
“I do not know what the guys from Smart City are saying but the truth is we are in this mess because of indiscriminate construction. Legally, we need a 50 meters set back when constructing near a creek and the rule has been flouted,” complains Caetano Almeida.
“There is a difference between a nullah and to suit their bosses our PDA fellows mark creeks as nullahs,” he added.
Smart City officials plan to contain the flooding in St Inez by rejuvenating the St Inez nullah.
“ We have sanctioned Rs 38 crore to WRD for phase one which will include building side walls which will help define boundaries; desilting the creek of which eighty per cent of work is complete; and an aeration structure behind the Tonca STP plant to treat water and release into the system,” opines an engineer with Smart City.
The STP plant in Tonca is managed by PWD and receives 12 MLD of sewage every day. The treated water should flow through the creek, cleaning it and allowing the smooth flow of water in and out of the river.
“I cannot believe that all the sewerage is being treated because if it were, how come there is muck around this new bridge?” asks Sanjiv, who works in an establishment in the vicinity of the STP.
Central Panjim has 48 kilometres of sewerage network and 90 per cent of it was built in the 60s and, unfortunately, the plans were not available with any government department thus making the execution of work difficult.
However, according to sources, Smart City through the PWD has taken up nearly 12 km of sewerage network with HDPE pipes, manholes, connections etc under Amrut Mission.
Smart City intends to come up with a universal walkway in central Panjim with a focus on footpaths, carriageway, parking zones and revamping the existing drainage system.
“Work in central Panjim is very slow because other departments were busy with their work. We have completed just around 450 meters of the 8.5 km that need to be finished. We should start work in earnest once we are able to start work,” opined an engineer attached to Smart City.
Smart City started in 2019 and after a sluggish start, has picked up pace.
“It is true that we wasted time in the beginning with purposeless meetings. We started work in earnest after Ravi Dhawan was given charge in 2020, followed by Mamu Hage and now with Sanjit Rodrigues in charge, we are on full steam,” is the honest assessment by a staff member.
Monsoons in Goa are a favourite topic of discussion vis-a-vis the meteorology Department and this time Panjimites are looking to see the smartness of Smart City.