In the serene coastal state of Goa, where promises are often made with the warmth of the sun and the backdrop of lush landscapes, the stark reality of broken political promises has cast a shadow over the Panaji Smart City project. Industry leaders, once reluctant to challenge the establishment, have now found their voice amidst the crumbling roads and unfulfilled commitments that characterize this ill-fated initiative.
Former Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) president, Manoj Caculo, recently took a stand against the Panaji Smart City project, demanding accountability from the Panjim MLA. In a scathing critique, he urged the incumbent to either complete the ongoing works by May 31, 2024, or step down from the position. Caculo’s frustration is palpable as he highlights the lack of responsibility and the absence of a clear plan for the beleaguered Smart City project.
Speaking at a round table discussion jointly organized by GCCI and the Institution of Engineers, Caculo lamented the indifference towards the plight of the citizens. He emphasized the impact on livelihoods and businesses, asserting that the current situation demands drastic action. His call for resignation extends beyond the Panjim MLA, encompassing all elected representatives who, in his view, have failed in their duty to deliver on promises.
Uday Madkaikar, former Mayor of the Corporation of the City of Panaji, echoed Caculo’s sentiments, emphasizing the economic toll on businesses in the St Inez area. Dust-filled air, disrupted restaurant operations, and the inability to use air conditioning due to ongoing roadwork chaos have collectively created a hostile environment for residents and entrepreneurs alike.
The concerns raised by Panjim residents go beyond mere inconveniences. Sanjay Sarmalkar criticized the substandard quality of the Smart City work and proposed the replacement of key figures involved in the project, suggesting that technical expertise is sorely lacking. Avertino Miranda highlighted the grave safety risks posed by inferior construction, citing instances of sewerage chambers collapsing due to shoddy workmanship.
The plea for an independent authority to conduct a quality audit before tragedy strikes underscores the urgency of the situation. It is a stark reminder that the pursuit of development cannot come at the cost of life and safety. The broken promises of politicians, coupled with the evident failures of Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited (IPSCDL), have left Panjim residents disillusioned and desperate for change.
As the May 31 deadline looms, the Panaji Smart City project stands as a symbol of unfulfilled pledges and a testament to the consequences of political negligence. The citizens of Panjim deserve better – a city that thrives on the promises made and, more importantly, delivered upon. It is high time for politicians to be held accountable for their words and for the sake of Panaji, for the Smart City project to live up to its name.