21October2017

Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Garden of Eden - II

The Main Opera

Last week you read how Rs 1,59,68,204 is being spent to renovate an existing footpath that no one uses because it is on the creek side of Rua De Ourem in Panjim; and also an existing garden that does not exist.  Nobody walks on that side because each and every building or public utility is on the other side and as a result protects pedestrians from the sun.  It therefore makes no sense renovating that side. What should also surprise you is the fact that GSIDC did not think it was necessary to consult the Town and Country Planning Department.  Because it says there was no construction involved. It just went ahead on a whim.

 

Earlier, Garden of Eden -1 explained how an entire charade was enacted to pick a contractor. The actors were a Mumbai contractor who, the first time bought tender forms, but did not bid. There were two reluctant bidders in fact. The second time he tendered so high, he was bound to be rejected, which happened, forcing a third call. At the second call also, a Panjim contractor came on stage, made sure his bid was faulty and was rejected. At the third and final call, the same error- prone Panjim contractor, another Mumbai contractor and the eventual winner K.G Thomas all bought tender forms, but only Thomas bid. The stage was set for the main opera.

 

Duct to nowhere

So, why would anybody want to spend so much money? It’s like this. There is really no garden. There never was. It’s all about spending your tax money somehow and there’s opportunity here.  The entire project was cleverly divided into two parts.  One part almost entirely consists of laying a duct to accommodate telecommunication cables of the various agencies.  The duct, could in future house electrical cables, broadband cables etc, it was claimed.  The width of the duct varies from 1.2 to 1.7 m depending on space availability. Imagine the stupidity. Why not a standard 1.2 m and save money?  The duct is being built with concrete walls with moveable slabs made of fiberglass, and reinforced concrete to cover it.  The total length of the duct is 870 m.  Looks impressive on paper.  But, at both ends of the duct, the cables emerging from it will be exposed (for eternity perhaps?) as they are everywhere else in Panjim.  Because, the Corporation of the City of Panjim (CCP) has bigger problems confronting it, with very little spending money in the kitty.  Its revenue is almost entirely eaten up by wages and councilor perks.

 

Costly experiment

The GSIDC engineer I spoke to could not explain the linkage of this duct with any existing cables existing nearby.  He opined that the duct could be used as a model for laying other ducts elsewhere in Panjim.  Yeah, right!  Problem is, this experiment is costing you Rs 77 lakh.  Or Rs 8,850.57 per running meter.  That’s a lot for a solitary 870 mt worth of gain.  GSIDC also said maintenance would be transferred to the CCP and it was up to them to maintain or prepare a model for maintenance.  Little wonder the GSIDC did not consult the Town and Country Planning Department (see Garden of Eden-1.) But, it made sure it got the CCP’s NoC for this.  GSIDC also did not hire a consultant and drew up the proposal and plan itself.  Clever! In the Congress’ wisdom, this would fall in the category of its much loved word ‘development’. You of course would be right if you wondered why this money was not spent in constructing even a single subway for Panjim so you could cross a busy road without fear of a hands-free driver crushing you (a hands-free driver is one who holds his/her mobile in the right hand, gesticulates with the left trying to explain to himself what the listener can’t understand, all the while thinking his/her vehicle is on auto drive.  This strange syndrome increases proportionately with the length and breadth of each corner or curve in the road. Nobody as yet knows why.)

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