Many Construction projects are taken up by the government institutions in the name of development which obviously consumes a lot of money of the taxpayer. Besides the result for which the finance is taken up is seemed to be failed in most of the cases. And this comes into picture when the investigation starts. In one such case, GSIDC used almost Rs 6 crore in the construction of just three washrooms. Yes, shocking but true. This was revealed only when the Herald had filed an RTI with this regards. Read this Mini scandalous news here.
Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) has used almost Rs 6 crore in the construction of only three washrooms. Out of which two are at Old Goa and one at Mala which has cost the taxpayer Rs 5.89 crore.
The information was surfaced by the Right To Information Act (RTI) by Herald which revealed that the building of washrooms at Old Goa for the 2014 Exposition in two packages cost Rs 3,32,98,087 (Package I was Rs 1,67,54,331 and Package II was Rs 1,65,43,756). The RTI reply also disclosed that the construction of washrooms at Mala (Package I) will cost Rs 2,56,43,457.
The current situation is that after spending Rs 3.32 crore on the washrooms at Old Goa, they are of no use and are shut. They are opened only at the time of 10 days of the novenas and feast of St Francis Xavier.
A vendor situated next to the washroom said that “These washrooms are never opened except in December. What is the use of constructing them?”
Other Vendors, who did not want to disclose the name said that, earlier at both these places there were toilets and washroom facilities and these additional ones were not actually required. He added, “Besides, during the Exposition they had already brought chemical toilets, so these toilets were literally of no use.”
Further news is actually shocking that at the time of Exposition, the government spent Rs 78.5 lakh on setting up and maintenance of the chemical toilets which was the additional expense, about what public would have been never known.
If we compare this huge cost for washrooms with the construction a primary school in Cambrabhat, which is just about around 200 sq mt with modern facilities and a compound wall. GSIDC took this up at just Rs 70,15,874.
In the same way, the reconstruction of Government Primary School at Falwada, Cudnem Bicholim has been taken up at Rs 71,77,814 and construction of a Primary School at Tamsodo Dharbandora at Rs 99,77,392, for what we can actually call a development.
Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte, who is in the construction business, questioned the huge costs of construction. “At the present construction cost of Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per SQ mt, the costs of these toilets, which are only around 100 sq mt cannot be more than Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh unless GSIDC has used gold fittings with diamonds adorning it,” he said.
He also pointed out that the PWD rate for a small single toilet is Rs 28,000 and at that rate you can build 10 toilets for Rs 2.80 lakh. “This shows how GSIDC is being misused for personal benefits,” Khaunte said.
GSIDC Vice Chairman Siddharth Kunkolienkar said that the washrooms being constructed in Panjim are part of the redevelopment of Mala with funds obtained through a Challenge Fund floated by the central government under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.
“Three toilets are presently being constructed out of which one has been completed and the others are in progress. Some of the residents of Mala live in unfortunate circumstances where their immediate urban neighbourhoods lack private and public facilities,” he justified, adding that these washrooms are being built to serve their needs.
“With regards to Old Goa, the washrooms and toilets were built during the Exposition of the Sacred Relics of St Francis Xavier. This was built from funds allocated for the up gradation of infrastructure. Being a prestigious event of international significance and considering the quantum of pilgrims expected, the washrooms were well designed keeping in mind the needs of the people,” Kunkolienkar said.
Giving it a name of one-time investment Kunkolienkar added, “Since Old Goa is a heritage site of international significance and has a large volume of tourists, travelers and locals visiting, it was decided to make a one-time investment and make the structure permanent.”
The GSIDC vice-chairman, however, did not answer to the excessive costs of constructing these toilets.