FLORIANO LOBO | I happened to stop at Ticklo’s Petrol Pump at Mapusa this evening to buy a can of engine oil. Surprised to see Glen in the office, I struck a cordial conversation with him. He said that he was waiting for the laying of the foundation stone of JICA’s Mapusa Sewerage Scheme. When I uttered “Don’t Say”, he showed me the invitation card. He was not aware of what JICA was all about. Therefore, I explained to him that JICA [Japan International Co-operation Agency] was financing utility projects for GOA to the tune of Rs. 1031 crore at just 1% p.a. interest rate. He was surprised. Later, when I passed the area of the foundation stone laying site [ Next to Old Asilo out-patient complex, now in disuse- opposite the Majorie Farmacy and adjacent to the Comunidade Ghor Complex, at the site where tempos and trucks are parked- or the Milagres furniture fair is positioned], I clicked these photographs at a time when the crew were about to dismantle the set-up.
When I came home, I scoured all 4 English dailies i.e Herald, NT, GT & TOI but failed to find the usual inaugural splash. Went thro the yesterdays papers and still drew a blank. Wonder, why the laying of the most important foundation stone for the non-existent sewerage system for Mapusa has been such a low key.
A brief history
Mapusa Nagrikancho Ekvott – MNE with Adv. Antonio Lobo as it’s convenor, dug out the details of JICA from late Alban Couto of Carona, Aldona, as he was initially in charge of this vital project of JICA’s in Goa. He had thrown his hands up because the government at that time (Congress with Dayanand Narvekar as the Finance Minister etc) wanted to appoint its own Chief Engineer for the Goa Operations which JICA declined knowing fully well that their project in Goa would be reduced to a gigantic white elephant with the likes of Narvekar around.
MNE’s delegation met with Churchill Alemao ( at the Secretariat-Porvorim) who was the Minister for PWD, to demand the JICA Sewerage Scheme for Mapusa, fearing that JICA would withdraw its commitment as it had already threatened to do so if 1% amount in Indian Rupees w.r.t. Rs. 1031 crores was not deposited into the account. Churchill Alemao agreed in principle to put the Mapusa Sewerage Scheme on the road and appropriately instructed the JICA appointed Chief Executive Engineer Mr. Chimulkar to make necessary arrangements to see that Mapusa Sewerage Scheme went on the road immediately. He also directed MNE to directly interact with Mr. Chimulkar to know the progress. Mr. Chimulkar explained to the MNE delegation which met him on several occasions at Patto’s GIDC, that the scheme was using Swiss technology, where no rampant digging will take place in the city but will be point to point sub-soil laser boring to lay the inflatable, pvc impregnated pipelines from the city to the treatment plant which will be located somewhere in the fields next to the Mapusa River, that is if we at MNE have understood the process correctly.
The positioning of the Treatment Plant at Gaunsawaddo was opposed by the locals and hence it was decided to place it where it is now proposed to be.
MNE is happy that it’s efforts have been finally rewarded. But, it feels that such an important project for Mapusa should have been well advertised, and we, at MNE, would be happy to be part of this foundation laying ceremony. It looks like the Government of the day did not want MNE to take any credit for it being put on the road, and just as well. MNE is very very happy that Mapusa is finally going to get a modern Sewerage Treatment Plant which will go a long way in saving the already 3/4th dead Mapusa’s important River which has been choked to death by raw sewage flowing into it for this long.
It is a miracle that it has not died a long time ago. The Miracle must be put at the foot of the Milagres Saibin of Mapusa who has been watching over Mapusa to the extent that when the Portuguese detonated a full truckload of gelignite under the Mapusa bridge on the early morning of 19th December, 1961, nothing what so ever happened to the Milagres Church and the now standing monument of ‘Christ the King’, just a few yards away from the bridge, but took the entire tiled roof off the Church and into the thin air without any trace.