By ROQUE DIAS
MARGAO: Margao, the commercial hub of the state is plagued with the problem of parking. Haphazard, wrong and idle parking have been the order of the day in the town and its outskirts.
The ‘utter failure’ on the part of the elected representatives to resolve the parking problem with some remedial measures only led to increased indiscriminate parking in the busy areas of Margao and Fatorda.
Some residents and shop owners were a party to the opposition that negated the efforts made earlier to bring order in parking in the town.
Margao Municipal Council and the local MLA Digambar Kamat claim that sincere attempts were made in the past to resolve the issue, but due to the strong opposition from the residents and some of the shop keepers, the efforts did not yield results.
The residents on the other hand say that the approval of plans for buildings even without parking spaces over the years, which was mainly due to the collusion between the politicians and builders, only compounded the parking problem.
With the tremendous rise in vehicle population and the space meant for parking remaining the same, the parking problem has aggravated further.
The efforts were made to address the issue, but there was no resolve to put an end to it.
The rent-a-bike and rent-a-car businesses besides tourist taxis have also eaten up parking spaces in the town to a considerable extent.
Some self-centric businessmen parking their vehicles on the road in front of their establishments also contribute to the parking woes in Margao in a big way.
The city fathers, past and present, have opined that the introduction of pay parking again in the town would ease the problem to some extent. The pay parking is expected to serve as a deterrent to many who do not understand the value of space and teach them importance of ‘conscious’ parking.
Importantly, the ‘crumbling’ public transport system in the state has given rise to the personal mode of transport, thereby ‘burdening’ the town with more vehicles, which are often used even to visit nearby places.
A visit to the town revealed that most of the shopkeepers block the space in front of their establishments. Many have blocked frontal road portion with concrete slabs thus inviting the wrath of disciplined motorists.
Double parking is most frequent on the lanes around the new market. Way to footpaths remains blocked by parked vehicles.
Sources informed that the shoulders of roads from Royal Foods to Caro Corner, Tourist Hostel to Kitchenette, Bank of Baroda to Jyoti Plaza, rear side of Grace church to Tato Hotel, and Banjara Hotel to Sapna Plaza can be used for pay parking.
“I had attempted to resolve the parking issue in the year 2002, but could not succeed due to the opposition from the residents. I am glad that the need for pay parking is felt again. The civic body should take all the stakeholders into confidence and introduce the pay parking which will help bring discipline in parking,’’ said the local MLA and former chief minister Digambar Kamat.
The Margao Municipal Council chairperson Gonzaco Rebello said that he is hopeful of resolving the long pending parking issue with the support of the present government.
Rebello said that the proposed multi-storey building for parking would definitely bring traffic discipline in the town, and added that it will also help in getting some revenue to the civic body.
The former MMC chairpersons Savio Coutinho and Kamlini Paiguinkar recalled that they too attempted to introduce pay parking with an aim to bring parking discipline, but people refused to pay by raising objection to the system.
“I tried to introduce pay parking in 1998 for two wheelers. But, due to the lack of support from my fellow councillors, the idea could not be implemented,’’ said Coutinho, adding, pay parking would bring temporary relief.
“The former Youth Congress leader Girish Chodankar had brought his two wheeler in my cabin to oppose the pay parking system. If support and cooperation had been given to us then, the situation would not have come to such a pass,” opined Paiguinkar.
The chief officer Narayan Sawant is very optimistic about the system. “We need to tighten the loose ends. I appeal to the people to co-operate with the civic body and support the pay parking system.”
HAPHAZARD PARKING CAUSES CHAOS IN MARGAO
By ROQUE DIAS