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On the road to a safer Goa

Every year, the third Sunday of November is observed as World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR). NT BUZZ highlights the importance of being safe on the roads, to prevent accidents and save lives

Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ

Pandarinath Shirodkar was an international boxer. Due to financial constraints, he took up a part time job in a gym in Panaji, to support his family and sustain his sporting activity. On that fateful morning, near Green Park in May 2006, he was run over by an interstate private bus. A doctor’s strike in the hospital made matters worse; he was operated on two days later, came round but then slipped into a coma and never made it through.

Each of us has very likely lost a family member, friend, neighbour in a road accident. Also, we’ve seen and been witness to how an accident injury can scar or affect a person’s life temporarily or permanently, but yet, we tend to get over such incidents and move on.

Road accidents in Goa, like in other states have been a worry both for the police but general public too. And while violation of road traffic rules including not wearing helmets, rash driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol are some reasons, the bad condition of roads and poor lighting in parts of the state are also factors that lead to such tragedies.

While the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year, in Goa the week that has gone by has seen a lot of activity and awareness to mobilise and create awareness about the importance of road safety to bring down the number of accidents, and precious lives that are lost through such tragedies.

Creating awareness

Accidents are on the rise and keeping this in mind and in a bid to finding and implementing solutions, a subcommittee of the Supreme Court has asked each state to send a report on accidents every three months, whether there is a fatality or not. The analysis can provide considerable feedback on how to avoid such accidents. “We are hoping an accident is not treated as just a case and forgotten, but it should be a learning for all, whether it involved alcohol, breaching traffic violations, etc,” says convenor of GOACAN, Roland Martins.

On a positive note, DGP, Muktesh Chander speaking to NT BUZZ revealed that off late there is a better compliance of traffic rules in the state, more in North Goa as compared to South Goa, based on a study done for two days, November 11 and November 12. While the compliance for helmets was between 97 to 98 per cent in Panaji (Santa Monica Junction, Near Mandovi Bridge) and between 80 to 87 per cent in Mapusa (Karaswada junction, Gandhi Chowk), in South Goa, the numbers show a drop to some extent. Vasco (Near St Andrew’s Church, Chicalim junction) recorded compliance between 65 to 71 per cent for the two days while Margao ( Old Market Circle, Rawalfond) was even worse between 44 to 70 per cent.

Vigilant traffic sentinel

Over the last one year, the Goa Traffic Sentinel scheme that was introduced by the Goa Police Traffic Cell has also become a successful initiative. While through this, road traffic violations are reported through citizens, who are then rewarded while the offenders are punished, the entire aim of this scheme is to bring about compliance of road traffic rules, so as to reduce and prevent accidents.

Speaking to NT BUZZ, DySP, Dharmesh Angle says that the scheme is to get public participation for community policing. “Earlier, when police were on the road, people would follow the rules only at a particular time, and people would signal and warn each other to avoid getting caught. But now with the general public involved, violators aren’t aware that they are being caught on camera,” he explains.

Bursting people’s misconception that the Traffic Cell is out to make money, he says that the money is being returned back to the community, while the sole aim is to bring down the accident rate and make people aware about their safety.

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