Goa Pradesh Youth Congress President and Corporation of the City of Panaji councillor Joel Andrade on Thursday hit out at Imagine Panaji, stating the ongoing works in the state capital has turned Panaji into a ‘Killer Smart City’.
Andrade made these remarks following the death of 21-year-old Ayush Halarnkar, son of former CCP councillor Rupesh Halankar, who fell in an open trench on New Year’s day. The incident sent shockwaves across the city.
“Yet another casualty in this ‘Killer Smart City.’ A young boy from Ribandar died after falling into a trench while riding his bike. Why has Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited (IPSCDL) left these trenches open for extended periods without any safety measures? Who is going to take responsibility for this? My condolences to Rupesh Halankar and his family,” Andrade said.
Andrade, who has led multiple protests and has raised the ‘Killer Smart City ‘ issue numerous times, posed five questions.
“Where is the Smart City plan? Why the lack of transparency? Two, why is the IPSCDL website not updated? Is it trying to hide something from the people of Panaji? Three, why is the executing agency not giving information? Do they have something to hide? The BJP is famous for siphoning off 40% of the tendered amount. Is it also happening here?” he questioned.
“Also, why is our Mayor, who is on the Imagine Panaji Smart City board, not safeguarding the people’s interest? Why is there no consultation with elected councillors and Ponjekars? It’s been around four months now, but our residents’ safety is not considered while planning the works. People have to park their vehicles at a considerable distance and walk. The police say their objections have been ignored. What if we need an ambulance to come to our doorstep? Is the Mayor and MLA going to be responsible if one needs to be rushed?” he further questioned.