Friday , 18 January 2019
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Repair Dabolim Airport Road

The airport road between the Chicalim circle and the Dabolim airport has always been the pride of Vasco. Since CHOGM way back in the eighties, the airport road had been the most well maintained and well-lit road. Citizens from around this area and elsewhere would use it for morning and evening walks. Tourists arriving at the airport and proceeding further would have a good first impression about Goa. But since the past few years, the airport road has become a death trap. The left side of the road from the Chicalim circle upto the airport was dug open for laying cables and since then the condition of the road has been neglected. Many concerned citizens have written about it but it has fallen on deaf ears. At the Regina Mundi School road intersection, a huge 2x2x2 metre pit has been kept open for more than a year. Are we waiting for a tragic accident to wake up? Is it not the right of the taxpayers to expect safe and proper roads? Do the vehicle owners not pay road tax? The bad condition of the road increases the cost of maintenance of vehicles. Will the citizens have to protest march to make authorities fulfil their responsibility? Who will bell the cat? It is years now since the cables have been laid but still no sign of the road being repaired. When will authorities take responsibility seriously?

ASIF HUSSAIN, Alto Dabolim

 

Porvorim Promenade In Dire Neglect

The promenade in Porvorim along the western side of the CHOGM road is a boon to pedestrians and morning walkers. Earlier, it was also being used by youngsters as a cycling track but was stopped due to timely action of the caretakers. The promenade is now in a bad state and getting dirtier by the day, as nothing is being gone to keep it clean. Besides the squatting cattle and stray dogs, there is any amount of cow dung spread on the track. Devotees to the neighbouring temple also leave behind their leftover food, banana leaves and water bottles, as there are no garbage bins provided anywhere. Broken beer bottles and plastic bottles are also a common sight outside the liquor shops and eating places in the vicinity. Of late, the promenade is slowly turning into a railway platform with drunkards and visitors sleeping overnight. It is shocking that no action is being taken by the concerned authorities to maintain day-to-day cleanliness and public hygiene. Have we forgotten our commitment to ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ so soon?

A F NAZARETH, Alto Porvorim

 

Spruce Up Rail Infrastructure

The terrible stampede at Elphinstone Road Station on Mumbai’s suburban railway network is another grim reminder to the governments that they have to pull their socks up with little time to waste, and repair the country’s infrastructural system. Many buildings and bridges are so dilapidated in India that they are ready to crumble any time. Unfortunately, the apathy and neglect of the authorities have ensured people live and traverse with danger lurking around the corner.   Successive railways ministers have succumbed to political compulsions by announcing new trains; but hardly anybody seems to have done much to spruce up the rail infrastructure in the country. Ironically, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal was in the city on the day of the Mumbai tragedy to announce 100 new suburban trains. The then railways minister Suresh Prabhu had declared widening of the Elphinstone station overbridge in his 2016-17 budget. But the project failed to take off at all, thanks to vote bank politics, myopic political outlook, lethargic bureaucracy, operational constraints and “financial crunch” among others. It is shocking that Railways has found no worthwhile companies to hand over the contract to date for the purpose of widening the six-feet bridge. The staircase on either side too is longing to be replaced but has no takers. Crowding of people at the edge of one staircase due to heavy rains resulted in stranding of people across the bridge leading to a horrific disaster Friday. The inherent rumour-mongering nature of some of the people led to jostling, pushing and jumping, and the inevitable happened. The bridge, built 15 years ago, handles nearly one lakh people on an average per day and definitely deserved better. There is no crowd control system in most of the suburban network foot overbridges in Mumbai.  Police often act as hapless onlookers in such tragedies. At least during peak hours, police personnel have to be deployed to ease things out. Few overbridges have slopes, rather than staircases, which is again an open invitation to pandemonium. Uniformity in foot overbridge construction, borrowing from the state-of-the-art technology, is the need of the hour.

The role of the railway station authorities, in moments of bedlam, in taking quick remedial action cannot be overstressed. But for many good Samaritans, the death toll at the Elphinstone station could have been much more. The hopelessly overburdened suburban rail network has to be de-congested through alternative modes of public transport like the ongoing metro project, which has to be expedited.

GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA

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