Wednesday , 11 December 2019
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Goa’s Killer Roads

How is it that the authorities in the state are propelled into action only after a major accident! It is as if they are waiting for a disaster to strike before swinging into action. The mishap at the Chimbel junction along the Ribander-Old Goa bypass road once again comes into sharp focus for the inordinate delay shown by the traffic enforcement agencies and the public works department in taking precautionary measures to prevent accidents from happening at the spot despite the apprehensions locals have been consistently raising over the grave risk posed to lives at this junction. In fact this has been the story all over the state! With the authorities showing a marked reluctance to take measures to eliminate the risks at the accident-prone areas, the issue of road safety and the movement of vehicles at these ‘death traps’ lacks serious consideration. Although traffic regulation should be a routine matter, Goa’s killer roads seemingly account for more deaths in the state than any other single cause! Yet, deployment of traffic personnel at important crossroads has never featured as a priority for the department. While it is so easy to attribute bad road engineering for the recent spate of accidents, the road-users too have made an equal contribution. Rash and negligent driving for instance! Over-speeding as an apparent exhibition of one’s masochism is known to cause enough problems for other commuters on the roads. Yet there is always a tendency to overlook these reckless manners as an inevitable part of daily travel. While sensible driving has never been our forte, it is the fondness for ‘improvising’ one’s techniques on the roads so as to cause discomfort to the others which needs to come in for sharp criticism. Traffic enforcement and awareness on road safety may have facilitated an increase in compliance of traffic rules, but have they helped motorists to become more circumspect and disciplined on the roads! The growing number of accidents and the impudence on the roads clearly reflect the worsening traffic scenario. While a collective failure of all concerned government departments would be blamed for the accident at Chimbel junction, how has it addressed the issue of road safety! It can only be achieved if various traffic enforcing agencies and the road-users come together to deal with the problems.  

PACHU MENON, MARGAO

Danger Of Bird-hit

It was by providence that the MiG -29K fighter jet which crashed on the Verna plateau shortly after take-off on a routine training mission did not come down at the crowded Verna Industrial Estate which could have led to a major disaster. The efforts of the pilots who ejected to safety needs to be highly appreciated for veering the jet away from the crowded industrial estate to a vacant space. Be that as it may, if the crash was as a result of an encounter with a flock of birds then it is a matter of grave concern. It raises a pertinent question. How safe is the air space around the Dabolim Airport? Several domestic and international flights arrive and departure from the Goa International Airport. A bird hit could spell disaster both for the passengers and people on the ground. Obviously it is the garbage strewn all over the place which attracts the birds in the air-space around the airport. If steps are not taken by the authorities to clear the area around the airport from the garbage there could be (God forbid) a major tragedy. 

ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO

Mishap At Chimbel

The ghastly accident at the Chimbel junction last week, wherein a tanker whose brakes failed, rammed against seven vehicles causing the death of a young man apart from injuring others and causing immense damage to the vehicles has sent shock waves around. We have often driven along this stretch and the road from Old Goa as it approaches this junction slopes down and also becomes narrow causing hurdles in driving. Till the flyover is completed people will have to bear this problem and be extra cautious by following the traffic rules diligently and by avoiding speeding excessively. However in the instant case the cause was the failure of brakes of the tanker due to which the driver lost control resulting in the havoc. The matter should be viewed seriously by the RTO for so many people had to pay the price for no fault of theirs. Brake failure of heavy vehicles like tankers, trucks and buses is not uncommon and in the past we have witnessed fatal accidents due to such causes. There should be an emergency brake working all the time but quite often irregular maintenance of vehicles due to man’s apathy results in unforeseen agony on the roads. That said it is worth pondering over the huge loss of lives encountered on the roads due to various reckless errors committed by the drivers and riders alike. As revealed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways wrong side driving has claimed 24 lives every day during 2018. This is a terrible but avoidable tragedy as all that is expected of the vehicle user is to be cautious and follow the road discipline meticulously. While driving on the roads we have observed how people freely defy the rules with total impunity. Can such lawbreakers seek any redemption? Yet when the traffic fines were steeply raised recently, to rein in the traffic violators, there was such a hue and cry from all quarters to reduce the penalties and so many states including our own Goa took pride in ruthlessly reducing the fines. The argument raised was that the authorities should first take action to improve the roadways. We do concur with this view but at the same time the traffic offenders should be fined sternly to set a deterrent.

MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES

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