PACHU MENON, MARGAO
BESIDES his efforts to clear the city of all encroachments, the chief officer of the Margao municipal council deserves to be congratulated for his decision to donate goods confiscated in the course of the drive to the old-age and children’s homes in and around the commercial capital of the state. Rather than have all the seized goods piled up near the MMC building and left to rot, it is indeed a noble gesture by the CO to have some of these impounded goods distributed among those who definitely deserve the society’s charitable ways to keep their spirits high. Margao has always been assailed by the problem of encroachments on pavements and footpaths by illegal vendors, which has been a source of unrelenting tension for the administration. Apparently, umpteen petitions made by shopkeepers and other merchants in the market to keep illegal hawking at bay hardly elicit any response from MMC officials. Other than an occasional show of ‘purging’ the city of these ‘irritants’, there has never been a concerted effort by the municipal authorities to keep the commercial capital free of vendors brazenly carrying out their business from pavements and other public pathways. However, the manner in which people have been patronising these roadside vendors, it becomes difficult to believe that the civic authorities have the support of the public in keeping the city roads and footpaths free of encroachments by unauthorised vendors. The hue and cry over evicting hawkers selling traditional village produce from the vicinity of the Margao police station some years back comes readily to one’s mind. With the penchant shown by Goans for local produce, the roadside ‘markets’ which have mushroomed all over the state has only proved to be a blot on the lovely landscape. Moreover, the cry for self-reliance in the times of the pandemic has only magnified this anomaly with entire road stretches becoming satellite bazars. One can well understand the unpleasant aspects of the present situation that has compelled people to pounce on opportunities as they come. But the chaos needs to end so as to enable an orderly conduct of all business activities.