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Drives against abandoned vehicles should not be limited to Panaji alone

The North Goa district and Panaji city authorities are expected to remove the vehicles that have been abandoned on various roads in Panaji by their owners in the near future. The traffic police have identified 281 parked or abandoned vehicles that have been rotting along the roads of the capital city for a long time. Some of the vehicles were being used by their owners as storage facilities. Traffic police officials have written to the Corporation of the City of Panaji and the North Goa district collector to remove the vehicles in accordance with the legal procedures. The CCP will remove the vehicles that have been identified as abandoned to a site where an auction would be held to dispose them off by the officials of North Goa collectorate. Similar drives were carried out on at least two occasions in the past in which 60 abandoned vehicles were identified. Fearing that they might lose their ‘vehicles’, some of the owners came out to own that they owned the vehicles and removed them from public spaces.

Abandoned vehicles of all types can be found on almost all city roads. The owners have been illegally using public space and doing it on a ‘permanent’ basis, as though roadsides were meant for their private use. They have been taking advantage of the laxity on the part of officials concerned. The rotting vehicles encroach on parking space. They are breeding ground for rodents and they are an eyesore. The city faces acute shortage of parking space. The sooner the abandoned vehicles are removed, the better. Drives against abandoning of vehicles should be routine as that would help keep the roads clear. According to the Motor Vehicles Act, local police officers are empowered to remove vehicles abandoned on roads for more than 10 hours; they are similarly empowered to remove vehicles parked in no-parking zones immediately. But the rule is not enforced constantly and on a strict basis. That is why owners of vehicles that are not in running condition leave them parked in public spaces without the fear of being penalized for their illegal acts. If they know that the law would catch up with them if they do so they would stop doing so.

The CCP has decided to restart pay parking in the city. The CCP can use the opportunity to remove the abandoned vehicles to expand parking space. They should also create parking facilities; in the process they can earn revenue and improve parking facilities further. Though the announcement to restart pay parking has been made, the city officials have not yet properly earmarked parking spaces. Pay parking was to restart on September 16, but it has been delayed following discovery of some discrepancies in the proposal by the directorate of municipal administration. The CCP has to create parking facilities before implementing the decision. Any attempt to haphazardly implement pay parking without creating necessary infrastructure would meet the same fate as that of the earlier attempts. The parking laws should be uniformly applied not only in pay parking zones but elsewhere in the city so as to discipline motorists. Traffic rules are routinely violated by motorists with regard to parking and also with regard to driving and parking in “no entry” areas, which can be prevented by strict implementation of rules.

Drives to remove abandoned vehicles and enforce pay parking should not be limited to the capital city alone but extended to the whole state. The traffic laws and parking laws should be applied all over the state so as to bring order to the chaotic traffic situation in the various cities. It is curious to note that all roads in Panaji are congested with vehicles, but the multi-level parking facility at Patto remains underutilized. The vehicle owners, including those coming from other states, prefer to save money by haphazardly parking their vehicles on city roads rather than using the pay parking facility. Unless the authorities make up their minds to implement the laws strictly, be it parking of vehicles or other traffic rules, it would be difficult for them to establish discipline and order on the roads and reduce the number of accidents and cases of road rage. 

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