Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mapusa cries for development - by Erwin Fonseca (The Navhind Times)

Mapusa cries for development


Friday, 22 January 2010


Mapusa, whose municipal market completed 50 years of its existence, has slipped into a chaotic city. The ills of civic life have taken a toll on the once well-planned city. And in the rough and tumble of politics and administration, the city fathers have forgotten to celebrate the golden jubilee of the municipal market.

The golden jubilee of one of the oldest markets of Goa has gone practically unsung. Neither the Mapusa municipal council chairperson, the councilors nor the Mapusa MLA realised that the Mapusa market completed 50th years and it was a time to organise some events to mark the occasion.

It was in January, 1960 that the last Governor of Portuguese-ruled Goa, General Manuel Antonio Vassalo E Silva had inaugurated the municipal market. It was a well-planned market with ample place in-between and shops constructed were in an orderly manner.

Old-timers recalled that the Portuguese officials would regularly monitor the market and see that hygiene, discipline and order were maintained in the market. It was due to these efforts that Mapusa soon became popular worldwide for its Friday market as a lot of local produce would find its place in Mapusa.

The once famous Mapusa market today is besotted by disorder in the city. The ills of civic life have raised their ugly head in the city. Parking woes, bad roads, garbage, choked drains, stinking nullah have created chaos in Mapusa. The infrastructure of the market has completely deteriorated and no concerted efforts seem to be made for improving the city.

The work for the vegetable market has been incomplete for the last four years. There do not seem to be any signs that the fish market, which had been demolished for being in a bad state, will turn around soon. There is no decent hall which could help encourage the young artistes of Mapusa, though efforts are now on to construct a Ravindra Bhawan.

Even the parks and gardens are badly maintained as is evident from the fact that most parks and gardens in Mapusa wear a near isolated look. Indiscipline among vendors and lack of market management is further putting Mapusa in bad light not only among the locals but even among the tourists. Except for the early councillors who were determined to keep an order in the city, the subsequent elected representatives, chief officers and bureaucrats failed miserably in making Mapusa a good city.

The Mapusa MLA, Mr Francis D?Souza admitted that as an MLA he was also to be blamed for the mess of Mapusa as he is still struggling to give good roads and water to his people, but also blamed his councillors. Councillors from time to time ignore Mapusa and get involved in petty politics for personal gains. What is required is proper management of Mapusa market resources and decongestion of the market,? he said. Mr D'Souza claimed that when he was MMC chairperson he had made a lot of efforts, including construction of 400 shops in the city, that could decongest the market.

On the other hand, the MMC chairperson, Ms Rupa Bhakta said, Ever since I took over a year back I have tried to do whatever I could. However, it will require some time for Mapusa to regain its lost glory. I am definitely working for the improvement of Mapusa. She said the possibility of celebrating 50 years of the city market in the immediate future could not be ruled out as that would be a very good occasion for seeking more government help. Mr Vengurlekar, a prominent businessman of Mapusa who has been in the business in Mapusa since Portuguese regime reminisced, There was hygiene, cleanliness and order in Mapusa then. The Portuguese rulers were quite concerned about the maintenance of the market.

The residents of Mapusa are complaining about the rampant constructions coming up and choking the city in the midst of the sewage problem and water scarcity. Without mincing his words, Mr Ratnapal Salkar of the Mapusa Citizens Forum said, Some villages around Mapusa are much better than Mapusa, a major commercial city of North Goa. If Mapusa, which was once a very good city, is a very bad city today then it is our misfortune. He said that Mapusa is decaying and the stinking nullah in front of the fish market is proof of this. Our elected representatives from Mapusa have only one-point agenda: converting Mapusa into a concrete jungle.

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