PANAJI: Alleging that the ‘Smart City’ project in the capital city is a scam of Rs 1,000 crore, the Goa unit of Congress on Friday, February 17, ‘warned’ the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to face the music if the citizens and tourists meet with accidents. Following the fourth accident in the city where a truck laden with pipes plunged into a dug-up road on Thursday night in Panaji, Congress leaders led by Elvis Gomes surrounded the ‘Smart City’ office and raised 50 questions regarding the work going on at a snail’s pace. Congress leaders Amarnath Panjikar, Janardhan Bhandari, Varad Mardolkar and others took part in the impromptu protest.
“No responsible officer is present in this office. We have learnt that they never visit the office. Hence, people are suffering due to the slow progress of work. This is nothing but a scam of Rs 1,000 crore. The BJP is smartly looting money out of the smart city project,” Elvis Gomes said. He said instead of giving free space to the public moving in the city, the contractors engaged in the work were troubling people by not using any safety measures.
“We have raised 50 questions in this regard. We want answers to these questions. Seems the government is in the carnival mood and have turned Nelson’s eye on the issue which is giving pain to the public,” Gomes said.
“It was a guideline by the Union government to involve everyone. It should be a citizen-centric mission. But no information is given about this project. Even the website is defunct. This is a major scam. We will take appropriate steps if the work is not done in the proper way,” he warned.
Amarnath Panajikar said that instead of organising a study tour for Goa MLAs in Madhya Pradesh to study the Smart City Project, they should first see the situation of Panaji city. “Accidents are taking place while the work is going on. But the government is not bothered by it,” Panjikar said. Janardhan Bhandari said that people and tourists were suffering due to the ongoing work which has been taking place for the last many years. “BJP is trying to loot money by doing sub-standard work,” he said. Varad Mardolkar said that it was dangerous to even walk in Panaji city. “We will take steps to expose the scam that took place in this smart city project,” he said. He said that Congress would file a criminal case against the “concerned persons” in this regard.