Panaji: Deputy Collector and Sub Divisional Magistrate H P Vivek on Thursday directed the traffic law enforcement agencies and public works department (PWD) to take precautionary measures to prevent accidents from happening at the Chimbel junction along the Ribandar-Old Goa bypass road.
He has instructed the traffic law enforcement agencies and PWD that land acquisition dispute along the stretch cannot be the reason to prevent them from taking measures to avoid road deaths.
The Deputy Collector held a meeting with senior officials of traffic police, PWD, RTO, Chimbel panch members and the villagers to decide on traffic solutions after a major accident involving eight vehicles claimed the life of a 24-year-old youth and left three grievously injured.
Taking cognisance of the incident, he ordered a joint inspection of the Chimbel junction comprising representatives of traffic police, RTO, Tiswadi mamlatdar, PWD, police and panch members on Friday morning at 10.30 am to explore the possibility of improving traffic condition and instructed to submit the findings along with recommendations.
As a preventive measure, the Deputy Collector suggested that the traffic police use speed radar along the stretch for the time being to serve as a deterrent against traffic violations.
“Our primary focus is to prevent further road deaths on this stretch than to decide on punitive action against PWD for not taking measures which can be taken up at the next stage. I believe that land dispute cannot be allowed to reflect on the traffic situation. There is a hurdle but this should not be the reason to allow accidents to happen. However, the team will inspect the road and explore every possibility, taking into consideration the technical aspect and suggest measures,” he said.
The villagers had demanded traffic signal, traffic blinkers, speed breakers and proper alignment of road but a traffic official, during the meeting, rejected the proposal of traffic signal, as it would create difficulties in taking turns along the junction. A speed breaker cannot be installed immediately, as a legal process has to be followed, the official said.
Traffic police informed the Deputy Collector that they had communicated to the PWD on several occasions to install traffic signages and expand the road but due to land dispute pending before court the PWD said it could not take up any traffic-related measures.
Meanwhile, speaking to this daily, concerned engineer of the PWD Narayan Mayekar admitted that the Chimbel junction is an accident-prone zone and expressed his inability to maintain traffic signages on the particular road stretch, as multiple agencies and government departments frequently carry out road digging work for providing public utility service.
“While carrying out the work, the installed signages are either damaged or robbed by people. Later, we have to go through a long process to procure new signage boards which takes a lot of time, as public money is involved. And as per the guidelines issued by central government, we can’t install speed breakers on national highways,” Mayekar said.
He said that the contractor, who was supposed to complete the work on construction of the flyover at the Chimbel junction has backed out, as one of the residents has moved court. He said that the PWD has prepared a fresh estimate and sent the proposal to the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways for its approval.