PONDA: With the highest number of four Ministerial posts to Ponda Taluka, Pondaitees were delighted after Dr Pramod Sawant announced his 11-member team of Cabinet ministers.
However, this now has given birth to very high expectations among Pondaitees of all-around development in the taluka, which has lagged behind in many quarters. People now expect that all the four ministers will forget their political differences and unite to solve the various problems faced by Ponda Taluka locals for the past several years.
This is simply because, as we all know, UNITED, WE WIN and DIVIDED WE FALL adage.
We also know Ponda has become a power hub, but all is not well within the four ministers. The biggest rivalry is between Ravi Naik and Sudin Dhavalikar, and off late Govind Gaude is also become a bête noire
of the Dhavalikar brothers. Also, Dhavalikar does not share good relations with Subash Shirodkar either.
Not only Pondaitees but entire Goans hope the four ministers will put Ponda on teh path of development.
But do the four Ministers knows about significant problems, and are they willing to solve them on a Priority basis by forgetting political differences?
For example, the Ponda Sub District Hospital lacks essential medical equipment. People have to rely on Goa Medical College.
The new subdistrict hospital was inaugurated in 2013, and it’s now ten years, but the Ponda taluka MLAs never came together to discuss upgrading this issue, which the locals want on a Priority basis to be resolved.
With four MLAs becoming Ministers, people hope for the up-gradation of Sub District Hospital with CT scans and other medical equipment just on lines of GMC.
The second issue in Ponda is the parking facilities at Ponda City, which is Taluka Headquarters, and the third main is bringing more Industries in all four constituencies to solve the unemployment problem of local youths as Government jobs are limited.
A local Vishal Fadte said that on a priority basis, Pondaitees want good roads, uninterrupted water, and Power supply throughout the year. With these demands, the Pondaitees are very much upset with the increasing cost of commodities and fuel and want that their MLAs/Ministers use their powers to reduce those prices as they also wish to control water and power tariff bills.
Vishal said the cost of commodities is increasing, but the income of people is the same.
Similarly, the Pondaitees feel that the stray animal issues should be solved on the humanitarian ground by providing proper sheds and food for them. There are no cattle grazing grounds.
The stray cattle starve in the absence of proper food. Similarly, stray dog bite cases are increasing in Ponda.
Environmentalist Sandeep Parkar said now a day rising temperature is a problem.
The World climate is slowly changing, and so instead of blaming unseasonal rains on climate change, “We should protect nature. For better living, there is a need to protect the environment, as trees and hills are being destroyed for construction purposes,” he said.
The hills are the beauty of Ponda and need to be protected from chopping for concretization. Besides hills, the water resources are needed to be protected, which are sources of Bagayat and paddy crops.
According to Social Activist Viraj Sapre, the priorities Pondaitees shown are for the up-gradation of Ponda Sub District Hospital into a full-fledged Hospital on lines of GMC. According to Viraj Sapre, patients are sent to GMC even for minor ailments.
“What is the use of big four-story Sub District Hospital. There is no CT scan, MRI, and other emergencies medical equipment to treat serious patients, including those found in an accident, and when such patients are sent to GMC, they breathe their last on the way to 33 km away GMC Hospital.
According to Viraj Sapre, people spend a lot of money on medical expenses. In the absence of CT scans, people went to private Hospitals and spent thousands of money on their treatment. The Ponda Sub District Hospital needs CT scan Machine, Blood bank, MRI machine, and sufficient doctors.
He said various surgeries should be performed at this hospital so that people will get relief. Several patients from neighbouring Dharbandora and other talukas visit this hospital for treatment but are forced to shift to GMC due to a lack of facilities.
Besides health problems, Pondaites face another primary concern, the parking problem.
“One can get a flat in Ponda, but challenging to get a parking space in Ponda City, and one has to search a lot for parking for cars and bikes. There are very few parking spaces,” he said.
He also stressed more Industries in Ponda Taluka to solve the unemployment problem as the government jobs are limited.
When the Taluka locals come to Ponda Government offices or markets and shop, they face major parking problems. Creating parking facilities in Ponda City is another demand on their priority list.
The third primary priority demand is unemployment.
After getting four ministers, government jobs are more or less for close people of four ministers. However, they are limited jobs, so locals want the Government to introduce more industries at Bethora, Kundaim, Shiroda, and Marcaim Industrial estates and provide jobs to local unemployed youths.
For a long time, the main dominant occupation of Pondaitees was Agriculture. This activity is almost reduced to fifty per cent. Most farmers kept their land fallow, claiming paddy cultivation is not affordable due to the rising cost of labour, fertilizers, etc.
With Ravi Naik becoming Agriculture Minister, people now hope that he would revive the agricultural activity, including the paddy crop.
There are 19 Panchayats in Ponda Taluka, and in each panchayat, locals have a different priority list for development works. At Khandepar, Ganjem Usgao, these villages witnessed a major disaster due to the flooding of Mhadei tributaries. In the 23 July flood last year, several houses located on the Bank of the river at Ganjem Usgao and Khandepar, Murdi, and Savoiverem washed away, causing loss to the tunes of several crores. With monsoon round the corner, the people in this area want relief from the Government to prevent the flood or measures such as desilting the river, protecting walls, etc.
For the past five years, the Pondaitees have been hoping for good roads as they are forced to travel through pothole-ridden streets in Ponda City and surrounding areas because of long-pending digging work for laying the sewerage network for the 15MLD sewerage treatment plant work.
Its five years, Pondaitees have been suffering as hot mix carpeting on many Ponda roads is not done on account of ongoing sewerage work. 15 MLD STP for Ponda City is built at Kapileshwarim Kavlem, and work on Plant is almost completed. Power Minister Sudin Dhavlikar had said to open the STP in May this year.
Fatal accidents and drowning deaths in Taluka have become worrisome.
There are several accident-prone sharp turns which Pondaitees want improvement in Ponda’s dubious distinction of always remaining on top of the fatal accident list in Goa with average fatal accidents 2 to 3 per month and around 28 to 30 deaths every year. The locals demand to improve the sharp turns on Dhavlim-Farmagudi, Bythokhol- Bethora, and sharp turns in Taluka roads to prevent mishaps.
There is a need for a four-lane widening of the road from Farmagudi to Bhoma as this 10 km stretch is remained neglected on Ponda –Panajim Highway. Besides this, the Usgao to Mollem road needs to be widened into four-lane.
The Pondaitees have a lot of expectations from Power Minister Sudin Dhavlikar as the locals in Taluka are currently suffering from frequent power outages.
They say they pay high electricity bills but do not get good service, especially at night time when they notice frequent power interruptions. The unseasonal rains accompanied by gusty wind lead to the falling of trees in several villages, and many times people are forced to spend sleepless nights.
With Marcaim MLA being a Power Minister, Pondaitees hoped that he would solve their problem by initiating underground cabling.
Residents need a 24 x7 water supply, but it is a distant dream for Ponda Taluka locals. Although OPA water treatment Plant capacity is increased by 170 MLD water treatment per day, the Pondaitees are not getting it 24 hours. Still, only a few hours every day, sometimes taps run dry, and people take out morcha at Daag PWD Water supply Office.
With Priol MLA as Sports Minister, the Pondaitees hope his action plans would give scope to talents in Ponda. The Pondaitees demand the upgradation of Ponda Sports Complex.
People and farmers also have a lot of hope from Shiroda MLA and Cooperation Minister Subash Shirodkar. Since Goa Dairy comes under his department, the farmers hope for improvement in Goa Dairy affairs and also run into profit.
The current milk requirement of Goa is around 3.50 lakh litres per day; however, Goa Dairy hardly produces an average of about 60 thousand litres per day for a long period.
People from Ponda have a lot of expectations from Ponda MLA and Agriculture Minister Ravi Naik. He had already declared plans to make Ponda the Third District as people of rural areas will benefit from it as also more funds will get from the State and Centre to develop the Taluka. Over the years, works on several projects are pending, which people hope he will complete this tenure.
Ponda needs a new KTC Bus Stand
The 30-year KTC Bus Stand Shed that did not see any significant maintenance work is now on the verge of collapse. It’s now declared unsafe by KTC Authorities.
It’s months now, and the KTC Bus stand shed meant to shelter passengers is barricaded with metal sheets to prevent the entry of passengers into the Shed. Following this, five days back, the Danger warning signboards are also installed on barricades warning the passengers not to enter the KTC Bus stand shed, stating that it is structurally unsafe.
This forced the local and interstate passengers to stand and wait for buses in the open sky, facing scorching heat and Sunlight. After meeting one month of summer heat under open sky and Sun, the passengers are more worried that colossal trouble is waiting for them as monsoon round the corner and noshes have been erected to take shelter in monsoon.