Goa is not only about the beaches and night clubs but it also consists of hinterlands and villages like Netravali. Situated in the far from the capital city, in the north Goa, Netravali is rich with the natural resources and nature in abundance, but despite that Goa Tourism department did not promote this place properly and Goa Government has neglected it by and far. Now the situation is such that this village lacks even the basic facilities. Here is the report.
Netravali which is one of the biggest panchayats in Sanguem Taluka consists of remote and hilly areas of NUNE, Savari, Vichundrem, Salgini, Tudav, Verlem, Neturlim Village, Dambokhod, Khutiwada, Bonliwada, Vargaon, Karkem, Margowado, Gawaliwada, etc. But sadly these villages are lacking in basic facilities and facing a lot of hardships. Some of the issues faced are erratic power supply, shortage of potable water, lack of medical and communication facilities, which make it difficult for the people.
The lone rural medical dispensary (RMD) at Neturlim lacks medical facilities. On an average, around 40 patients visit the RMD, with a doctor coming in the RMD for 6 days a week from 11 am to 12.30 pm along with a pharmacist and a peon. The doctor comes all the way from Balli, Cuncolim.
Verle, a remote hilly area, has a sub-health center where the doctor visits once a month. During other days, patients are taken to Neturlim RMD and after first aid treatment, they are shifted to Sanguem PHC based at the Neturlim police outpost.
The Heath officer from Sanguem PHC Dr Sima Pai Fondekar said that the centre is understaffed with a doctor’s post vacant since 2014 and at present there are only 4 doctors working at the PHC, out of which one doctor is sent to RMD, Neturlim and in cases of emergency, he too does not visit the Neturlim RMD.
During the rainy season, the villagers are plagued with power outages. It has been brought to light that the overhead wires have not been changed for the last 25 years. In some areas, broken electricity poles cause a major problem, and instead of replacing them, overhead wires have been fastened to nearby trees.
Neturlim village has an office for linemen with around eight linemen deputed in the village. However, a visit to the office revealed that basic electricity material required to restore the electricity supply was missing. Inquiries revealed that though there are types of equipment for cutting bushes and tree branches they are in a pathetic condition and linesmen are not provided with safety tools of any kind, including raincoats, hand gloves, etc. There is no full-time vehicle available with them.
On the other hand, the AE K M Sasi at Sanguem office when contacted maintained that everything is in place. When the grievances were placed before him, he said these problems would be resolved only when the work of underground laying of cables is completed. He also added that the initial survey for this work was done, the estimate came to about Rs. 33.50 crore and the work is expected to be completed by June 2021.
Raju Devidas, an aggrieved villager said that the ones most affected were the housewives, who due to erratic power supply were unable to use appliances like mixers, grinders, washing machines, iron fans, etc that work on electricity.
Students too have been bearing the brunt of erratic power supply. A college student Nachita Gaonkar said the there was no power supply for 6 days at a stretch with villagers including students being badly affected as they failed to gain information from mobiles due to the disconnection of the internet.
Children, office goers, and even senior citizens were not spared. Gaonkar also said that only BSNL connections worked in the village, while most of them had disconnected their landline phones.
Villagers also complained about the water shortage during the months of April, May, and June every year. But bills are being issued regularly.
The Deputy sarpanch of Neturlim Abhijit Dessai said the government could help the villagers if they were committed to it. One option was adopting solar energy. Secondly, generators could be provided to villagers at subsidized rates… Windmills could also be installed to harness wind energy. Salgini area is the ideal place for his purpose and the government needs to conduct a study on this subject, he said.
He further demanded that the government upgrade the RMD at Neturlim into a PHC. The villagers have to travel a distance of about 40 km to reach the Sanguem PHC. He added that the PHC at Neturlim would be a central place for all villagers including for those from remote and hilly areas.