The Cavelossim-Assolna bridge is known for being a popular spot for tourists visiting South Goa looking for a picturesque sight of the River Sal.
But lately, the bridge has also drawn attention for being a spot for youth creating nuisance by parking their vehicles on either side of the bridge, consuming alcohol and racing.
As a joint undertaking, the panchayats of both Cavelossim and Assolna have come together to take up and implement measures to ensure safety on the bridge. In addition to maintenance work on the bridge, the panchayats are also in talks to put up signages and to include the local police in maintaining law and order in the area.
Speaking about the initiative, Cavelossim sarpanch Dionizio Dias said, “This has become a serious issue for many of the people using the bridge as well as for residents living around. We have spoken with the Assolna panchayat to work with us in putting into place measures like improving the markings of caution strips and warning signs, speed limits and no parking signs along the sides of the bridge. We are also looking into whether we can put up CCTV cameras.”
At a recently held gram sabha, Cavelossim resident Dixon Vaz raised the issue of youth loitering and starting brawls on the bridge. Many other locals acknowledged having witnessed youth drinking alcohol and leaving broken bottles on the bridge. In one incident, a bottle was thrown at a passerby on the bridge causing injuries, but it was later amicably resolved. A couple of years ago, a local boy had succumbed to injuries after hitting against two vehicles that had stopped on the side of the bridge.
Following the incident, a police constable was posted on the bridge at all times, which worked as a positive measure to keep trouble makers at bay, but this practice has since then stopped.
Though the village has a police outpost, locals say the response time is very poor. Dias said, “There have been incidents where he informed the outpost but to no avail. Dialling and complaining on the police helpline 100 only saw police personnel respond half an hour later.” In this regard, the panchayat also decided to write to the police, transport, RTO, and local MLA seeking police patrolling on the bridge, especially, during the night.