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Tragedy averted as concrete slab gives way in Sanguem market

Sanguem: A major tragedy was averted on Thursday at Sanguem Market after a side wing concrete slab of the dilapidated Sanguem Municipal owned Town Hall collapsed and fell near a place occupied by a local dry fish vendor and a chicken shop.

The incident occurred at about 8.30 a.m. Had the incident occurred on Wednesday or Sunday, it would have resulted in a major tragedy and could have taken lives of the people. Moreover, the dry fish vendor who usually turns up for the day by 8.00 a.m. was late on Thursday. Similarly, the chicken vendor, who after a hectic day on Wednesday, decided to open his shop a little late.

It is pertinent to note that the Portuguese era town hall is in dilapidated condition and needs to be demolished immediately. However, the demolition procedure is getting delayed year after year despite the municipality having made several requests to the higher authorities to permit the demolition of the old structure and provide funds for the construction of a new premise.

Even a couple of days back, the newly elected Sanguem Chairperson Romualdo Fernandes along with the Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar and Goa State Urban Development Agency officials had conducted a site inspection of the dilapidated building and the municipality along with the GSUDA officials were in the process of shifting the vegetable and fish market which functions from the dilapidated building to the new premises behind the Sanguem Municipal Office.

In the last monsoon, another portion of the said town hall had collapsed but luckily at that time, the portion remained hanging on the top of the building and was later removed with the help of heavy machinery.

Incidentally the town hall also houses a ‘Balwadi’ and the parents are literally worried about the safety of their children attending the ‘Balwadi’. Immediately after Thursday’s incident, the parents rushed to the ‘Balwadi’ to verify the safety of their children. Some parents also took their children home after the incident while others demanded immediate shifting of the ‘Balwadi’ to an alternate site.

It is also pertinent to note here that the interior of the town hall which houses a mutton shop and godowns is totally in a mess and is prone to breeding of water borne diseases.

A local Apolonario Gomes informed that the SMC should take immediate steps in cleaning the premises and should also take concrete measures to demolish the old structure in the safety of the general public.

SMC Chairperson Romualdo Fernandes informed that the process for demolition of the town hall is under consideration and that the SMC is in frequent touch with the DMA and GSUDA officials to plan for a new building in place of the old building. [H]

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