Waste Management Minister Michael Lobo appealed to keep politics out of the issue, but in the same breath blamed the two MLAs of Fatorda and Margao and the local civic body for their failure to resolve the garbage mess. He said the garbage issue at Sonsodo had raised grave health concern and if immediate measures were not taken to find a way out of the problem, then it could turn into an epidemic. “Let’s not play politics on Sonsodo. Let’s clean it and give it back to the people. The MLAs should help us to put a good plant at Sonsodo. Our government will make special financial provision to ensure that a state-of-the-art garbage plant comes up there.” The Waste Management Minister was addressing the media during his visit to Mapusa to attend public grievances in the deputy collector’s office. Continuing, Lobo said he suspected Vijai Sardesai was afraid that he (Lobo) would get the credit when the plant comes up at Sonsodo. “You only take credit. But you stand by us to build this plant. Let’s keep politics aside,” he said taunting the Fatorda MLA. For almost one week, Lobo and his once friend-turned foe, the Fatorda MLA, have been locked in a verbal duel over the issue of clearing the Sonsodo dumpsite in Margao. On Thursday, the waste management minister snubbed the Fatorda MLA and his supporters by refusing to meet them while on his way to inspect the Sonsodo site. The waste management minister said both the Fatorda and Margao MLAs had got the councillors of Margao Municipal Council elected on the promise of clearing the Sonsodo garbage site. “They promised to build a state-of-the-art waste treatment plant at Sonsodo, they promised to collect segregated waste of every household, they promised to give Margao and Fatorda of your dreams to the people. But today if you go around Margao and Fatorda, you will see heaps of garbage everywhere. Is this the dream they have given?” he charged. He also said there was systematic misinformation carried out to mislead the people of Curtorim and Raia stating that the government was planning to build the garbage plant on their side. “We are not building a plant that side. It’s a cooked up story of my dear friend Vijai Sardesai. We will treat the garbage and make bales and if there is no space this side, we will keep them the other side. Then we will lift it and transport it,” Lobo said.
Waste Management Minister Michael Lobo confessed that if “his friend” Vijai Sardesai wanted to join the ruling group he had no objection but he should not block good projects. “Vijai is my colleague in the assembly and he’s my friend. We have heard he is trying to come inside…We have no objection. But he should not object good work…,” Lobo said Lobo said that in the previous assembly term for the period of 2012-2017, he stood by Sardesai whenever he raised his voice for Goa. “We were friends. I still treat him as a friend. When he was a minister and when he was removed as minister…I have not removed him. I am not the party president or the high command of the party,” he said. The waste management minister also said that the Fatorda MLA had refused to take his calls. He also ridiculed the Fatorda MLA for coming to the Sonsodo site with a handful of people on Thursday. “He (Sardessai) is bringing only 14 people…That means he has no standing in his constituency…So cheap politics…He should stop this and help us to put a good plant at Sonsodo,” Lobo said.