It was 2nd of October 2009 and unusually it was raining non stop since past couple of days. All the Canconkars except to watch T.V. or play cards had nothing to do.  Canacona is the southern most taluka of Goa which is sandwiched between the devil and the deep sea. The devil is the ghat section on the west and the deep sea is the Arabian Sea.
Mr. Avelino Barreto senior executive at Intercontinental who stays downstream of river Talpona is at home today. The Talpona River after his house becomes four times wider. As he was coming out to his balcony he looked at his watch it showed exactly 1.00 in the afternoon.
He came to his balcony and saw water spreading in all directions of the river. Talpona River is the biggest river in Canacona.With in 30 minutes water was flowing over the road and he thought it wise to take away his Alto car to a safer place. After removing his car, within five minutes all his four steps leading to his house got submerged.
His neighbor Mr. Francisco Barreto a motorcycle mechanic by profession who is the immediate neighbor of Avelino was not so fortunate, his house is about two meters above high tide line and as the water started entering his house, his wife desperately started yelling for help. Avelino and Hendricko Carvalho swam through more than chest deep water to reach to Francisco's house and retrieved whatever they could move upstairs, as most of the things were unmovable most of his belongings got destroyed in the flood waters.
Another ward Muthal which is situated on a hill and has two houses close to the river got submerged, as the houses are unoccupied the flood waters left an inch of mud as a pleasantry which was not so pleasant.
A little ahead at Sadolxem Mr. Augusto Barreto's ground floor got submerged, his wife and two daughters took refuge on the first floor. A few hours later all of them were taken to safety with the help of a canoe. However all his electronic gadgets and home appliances were totally damaged. An old building beside Augusto's bungalow was just not able to bear and collapsed to the ground.
Water had started going over a bailey metal bridge which connects Sadolxem to Paneafond by over 2 meters.  If you cross this bridge you reach Paneafond, with a cluster of about eight houses on the bank of the Talpona River.
Mrs. Fatima D'sa ex transport minister and ex MLA of Aldona Goa govt. had come for a holiday at Paneafond, at her husbands house situated right on the bank of the river built some fifty years back. After breakfast at 10.00 in the morning she is having a nice time watching the flooded river by sitting in her veranda. As the water starts entering her house she climbs up and takes refuge on the terrace which is covered with GI sheets.
Dinesh Pagui a constable at Goa police is off today and he is having meals with his mother, pregnant wife and kids. His front door is latched from inside. He notices brown muddy water gushing through the gap of his front door, he goes and opens the door and is swept in the house with the current of the water. He hurriedly takes his family and escapes through the back door. Though his concrete house remained intact all his belongings and two neighboring houses got washed away.
Meantime Mrs. Fatima D'sa who was trapped on the terrace of her house frantically dials CM's mobile number, since the weather was cloudy and windy sending navy chopper to rescue her was ruled out by the navy
Meantime Dinesh heard her shouts for help and with the help of local boys who are good at swimming rescued her from the jaws of death by using a nylon rope. When all this drama was getting unfolded OUR LADY OF ROSARY sitting atop a small hill in the Sadolxem church was mutely watching as if she has disowned her laity.
A little up stream a village called Delem which has five to six low lying houses got submerged and before anything could be salvaged the occupants had to abandon their houses and run for their life.
Another village called Mokkadamol mostly inhabited by Brahmins got submerged with water. The water rose over their houses in just fifteen minutes. They could helplessly see their gas cylinders, washing machines, fridges, etc floating in the muddy waters which found its way till north Goa the next day. All were heard saying that we are fortunate to be living.If it had to happen in the night then their bodies even would have not been found.
At Batpal the NH 17 started getting submerged with water as early as ten in the morning. A mushroom factory owned by Sangam Kurade of Panjim was totally under the water and roofless. A neighboring house of Mr. Caitano Fernandes was also submerged all his belongings got destroyed in the swirling waters of the river, another bar was not able to withstand the force of nature and ultimately collapsed, water also entered the bungalow of Dinesh Desai and some more houses, all of them abandoned their houses and ran for safety. There was a huge line of interstate vehicles lined on either side of the road at Batpal.
Mr. Sankalp Amonkar and Sunil Paiginkar youth congress leaders were at Batpal at that time and risking their lives were seen rescuing the trapped people especially children and women to safer places.Sankalp was so engrossed that he overlooked his own safety and at the last minute had to climb an abandoned truck which was lying at the middle of the road. When the water rose up to the cabin he was seen having chest pain.
Prasad Pagui A reporter of prudent media a Konkani TV channel who was on his way home to Paigin was found covering the entire episode from Mr. Devendras house till his spare battery got exhausted.
At about ten in the morning an assistant engineer of PWD roads Mr. Luis Dias accompanying south Goa collector G.P. Naik, are at the Jivotam Partagal Matt at Partagal Canacona. The CM of Goa is a Devotee of this Matt and more then willing to bend the rules to appease the swami of the Matt.
The meeting got over by twelve and as it was raining outside the swami requested both of them to have lunch at the Matt.  Mobile and land lines started ringing continuously on the entire river stretch inquiring about the status and well being of relatives, friends and neighbors.
At 1.00 o'clock in the afternoon after having his meal the CM of Goa Mr. Digamber Kamats mobile started to ring, he immediately picked up the phone and the caller on the other side was G.P.Naik with in five minutes he understood the gravity of the situation and dispatched rescue team to Canacona.
The rescue team with inflated out board motor boats reached Batpal by 3.00 PM. but after taking a trial thought it wise to remain on land itself as they were not trained to venture in to turbulent waters.
A major bridge over this river is the Ordhofond bridge, water started flowing over this bridge and a few houses located on the lower side of this bridge got completely submerged most of the houses were intact because the water was flowing in all direction and more in the reverse direction. The dressing room for the priest at Ordhofond OUR LAY OF FATIMA CHAPEL got completely washed away by the water currents at this place.
Satolem is a little hamlet in the Gaodongrem village made famous by the tribal agitation of 25th May.  This small village of about twenty houses of tribal s is located at the foot of a huge hill. It rains almost daily in this village. So it was nothing unusual for the tribals. But suddenly at about 11.00 AM a large thunderous sound came from the hills, boulders small and big, trees, and water was gushing down from the hill, there were huge holes formed on the hill and water was coming out as if the selaulim water pipeline is broken.
The hills burst open at many places bringing along with them thousands of tons of stone, boulders, pebbles and trees, the course of the streams got changed and all these silt got deposited in the fields and rest found its way into the Talpona river.
Its still a mystery how this unimaginable undreamable thing happened in Canacona, ONGC came with a fact finding committee but could not throw any light on the entire episode which all Canconkars will not forget for at least another decade or so.


Mario said...

Agusto Barreto is anti-goan.He sold his huge track of land to a person from Hubli after fooling Goans who were ready to buy them.Just for sake of money this bastard is selling land to non-goans.I wish both his daughter and wife run away with ghaties leaving Augusto Barreto only with money which we Goans will watch  to see how long he will enjoy  them,

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