The state government’s plans to set up a convention centre at the Inox courtyard, has drawn flak from Campal residents.
The ward candidates for the forthcoming Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) elections have also backed the residents of the ward and have termed the government’s move as ridiculous.
The Panjim citizen’s action committee (PCAC) convened a meeting on the issue and concluded that a convention centre at the Inox courtyard would be adding fuel to the fire with regards to the parking situation in Panaji.
In a press release signed by PCAC chairperson Atish Antonio Fernandes, secretary Kabir Pinto Makhija and member Kevin Rebelo; the committee stated: ‘We feel that having a convention center at the Inox parking lot is almost akin to adding fuel to the fire to the parking situation in Panaji. The proposal has been made for a 2,000 seater auditorium with parking for only 150 cars. International standards for parking to seat ratio are .33 parking for every seat which makes a requirement for 660 parking slots. This is not taking into consideration the 1,200 seats that are already existing at the multiplex. Furthermore, one has to note that this complex is adjoining to the main Panaji market and this additional inflow will definitely affect the daily lives of citizens,’ the press release stated.
‘The residents of Campal are already facing enormous hardships due to the fact that the Kala Academy, the football grounds, Panjim Gymkhana and the parade grounds are being given out to exhibitions and functions, sometimes simultaneously. Parking is haphazard and is done on both sides of DB Marg and even on the pavements forcing people to walk on the road. Blocking of private entrances to residences and colonies is very common. We feel that overdevelopment of this main road will lead to problems not only for the residents of the area but also of Miramar, Dona Paula, Caranzalem and Taleigao. We feel that any such convention centres have to be done in undeveloped areas which can be adopted by the government for overall upgradation as part of the project. We feel that all the attention and infrastructure is being centered around DB Marg and Campal areas and other parts of the city are being ignored and remain underdeveloped,’ the PCAC stated.
Pinto Makhija is contesting the poll on the panel of Taleigao MLA Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate. Journalist Ashley do Rosario who is also contesting for the same ward as an independant candidate said: “It’s not just the convention centre. The location of IFFI and Inox is a problem in Panaji. The area is already saturated. No amount of traffic plans will help. The people should ask for a shift of IFFI to the outskirts for long-term interests,” he said.
“Even this proposed convention centre won’t be sufficient in the next 10 years. Where will we build next? In the river? In 2004, the planners thought that this infrastructure was enough. It has been proven wrong. If you estimate 2,000 seats and calculate four persons per car, you will need parking space for 500 cars. Keep in mind, no celebrity will arrive with four persons in a car. This is not just an issue for the ward of Campal, but for the whole of Panaji,” do Rosario said.