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Govt fails to review traffic sentinel scheme

Nine months after assurance, panel yet to be set up

Panaji: Though the state government had given an assurance on the floor of the House that the traffic sentinel scheme would be reviewed and a committee under Transport Secretary would be constituted for the job, the government has, however, failed to review the same.

Nine months on, the assurance is yet to be fulfilled.

Sources in the administration told this daily that neither the committee has been constituted nor the scheme has been reviewed even after the government’s assurance in the state assembly.

It may be noted that majority of the legislators had made a hue and cry over the implementation of the traffic sentinel scheme and extensive deliberations on the scheme were held in the state assembly on January 31, 2019. Legislators cutting across party lines had strongly opposed the scheme during the discussion in the assembly demanding that it either be scrapped or kept in abeyance.

The then Transport minister Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar had assured on the floor of the House that the government would review the controversial scheme as demanded by the members and come to a conclusion.

The scheme was introduced by the government to bring in discipline on the state roads but it had evoked angry reactions from several people. 

Later, exactly after a month, Dhavalikar had said that a committee headed by Transport Secretary would be constituted to review the scheme. However, even after nine months of the assurance, there has been no action to review the scheme.

Current Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho has admitted that nothing has moved in this direction. Speaking to this daily on Monday, Godinho said that he was aware of the assurance given by the government on the floor of the House. He said that so far nothing has come to him in this regard.

Dhavalikar said that a proposal was moved in that direction when he was the minister but added that now he has no idea as to what happened to the proposal.

It is pertinent to note that the then Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo, who is now a minister in the Pramod Sawant government, had termed the traffic sentinel scheme as illegal and demanded that it be scrapped. He had claimed that many people, under the guise of being traffic sentinels were clicking pictures of girls in the coastal villages and the pictures were being circulated among tourists with claims that the girls were available for prostitution.

Then leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, who is now Deputy Chief Minister, and BJP MLA Glen Ticlo had moved a Calling Attention Motion during the budget session demanding scrapping of the scheme.

Congress MLA Digambar Kamat, who is now the Leader of the Opposition had asked the government whether the police could outsource the scheme’s functioning while pointing out that the legislators were facing resentment from the public due to the scheme.

Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai, who was a minister in the then Manohar Parrikar-led government when the issue was raised by the legislators, had supported the traffic sentinel scheme saying that it helped bring in discipline with regard to traffic management.

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