By Aires Rodrigues

The Atal Setu across the River Mandovi was hurriedly inaugurated on 5th February 2019 amidst great fanfare and projected to be Goa’s wonder but soon headed to be a symbol for Government sponsored disasters.

When the foundation stone was laid in 2014 for this over 600 crore bridge, we were promised that it would last over 100 years. In fact, this failed dream has become a nightmare. The cheap photo shoots at the time have proved to be a far cry from the construction reality. The contract may have been given to a reputed company but most of the work was outsourced to substandard contractors.

The project which was supposedly being overseen probably with one eye shut by the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) alleged to be a den for rampant corruption must be made answerable for this nightmare.

The huge potholes on this bridge, other recurring defects and constant closures and re-working are a matter of concern. The problems may now be perennial. An independent probe and audit of the bridge is required to fix responsibility, seek recompense and to learn the lessons of how to avoid such systemic failures. The contractor must be brought to book and the GSIDC officials must be also fastened to the nearest lamppost if they colluded in this colossal loss to the state exchequer and intolerable inconvenience besides pollution to the suffering public.

With hundreds of crores having been spent the government was duty bound to ensure that very rigorous Quality Control Standards were not bypassed in their attempt to hastily get it completed. Every project has to be a very lasting one. A successful project is one which can achieve a balance between cost, time, quality and meets the agreed goals of the project. This can only be achieved with transparency, accountability and zero tolerance to corruption. To ensure that every project is properly and meticulously executed, we need to ensure Quality Control by persons well equipped to technically and administratively monitor and ascertain strict compliance of established standards.

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