Mending Ties With Maldives
THE Abdul Gayoom government of Maldives did well to send its Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim to New Delhi to clear the air over India-Maldives ties. Cracks between the two geographically close nations appeared after the new regime of Gayoom put former president Mohammed Nasheed, who is perceived to be ‘India’s friend’, behind the bars on terror charges. The fissures deepened after the media of that country went hammer and tongs against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, bilateral relations hit a new low following Male’s ‘India first’ policy going for a six after it signed the free trade agreement with Beijing in November. Forcible restriction of Indian envoy Akhilesh Mishra’s movements in that country rubbed salt into the wound. Asim meeting both Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj reiterating his country’s “highest priority” to ties with India should soothe New Delhi’s nerves. Both countries expressing their keenness in boosting infrastructural, defence and security projects should augur well for their relationship. India’s immense socioeconomic contribution to the tiny island would not have missed the eye of the Gayoom dispensation. Modi should accept Maldives fresh invitation for an impartial ‘neighbourhood first’ policy.
GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
Start Ferry Service at Cortalim
THE usual 45-minute drive along the 36-km Margao-Panaji route has now turned into a nightmarish experience that tests the patience of commuters and motorists. It is the same experience for those travelling from Vasco to Panaji. All this chaos is as a result of the ongoing construction work for new bridge over Zuari river at Cortalim. Those travelling to the airport are missing their flights on a regular basis due to traffic snarls on the existing Zuari bridge. The traffic jams are causing delays to school and college students as well as office-goers as they struggle to reach their respective destination. Something needs to be done by the government to see that commuters and motorists have other options to cross the Zuari. One possible solution to the problem is to restart the ferry service on the Cortalim-Agassaim route. Crossing the Zuari by using the ferry service could take lesser time to travel to Panaji from Margao or Vasco and vice-versa than driving over the Zuari-bridge during peak hours when there are traffic snarls. There is absolutely nothing one can do if caught in a traffic jam on the bridge. The ferry on the Cortalim-Agasaim route could be put into service till such time that the work of the bridge is complete.
ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO
A Deathtrap In Ponda
THE location near Shree Maruti temple at Varkhandem in Ponda has turned into a deathtrap. There are neither speed-breakers nor traffic signboards at the spot putting pedestrians at the receiving end of zooming vehicles. Moreover four-wheelers are parked along the road-edge near the branch of Bank of Baroda. Stray cattle and dogs also mill about the road aggravating the situation. It is high time the concerned authorities initiated remedial steps to avoid any untoward incident. Traffic signboards and speed-breakers must be put up on priority basis. A traffic cop should also be posted at the location.
PRAVIN U SARDESSAI, ADPAI