11 Jul 2024  |   04:51am IST

Widening Roads; Narrowing Homes

Joseph Lewis D’Silva

Building bridges and widening road is done in the name of development and because numerous accidents take place almost every day; also because of increasing vehicle traffic on narrow roads. But broadening of main roads affects demolition of residential houses and agricultural lands.

According to the locals, accidents are caused not because our present roads are narrow, but because of the following reasons: (a). Parking on our roads is a Robinson Crusoe situation, in reverse.

Instead of being abandoned on an unknown island surrounded by water, our parked vehicles, in no time, get marooned in the middle of other vehicles due to irregular vehicle parking. Two, three and four-wheeler owners park their vehicles anywhere and everywhere turning the road narrow and cause accidents. 

(b) Goan roads are filled with speed maniacs of brute force and rowdies of road rage. 

Two wheelers, shoot like arrows through thick traffic. Dandy drivers with mobile covering their ears while driving and Western ideas covering their mind while speaking, go wrong way down the one-way street. They skip traffic islands and overtake from any side; be it right or left as if the whole road belongs to them, and thus cause accidents. 

(c)Our roads have become death traps due to its inferior construction. The hot-mix on roads does not last long. It develops different type of potholes, with a few drops of rain; and to avoid them our riders circumvent and cause accidents.

 (d) Different government departments are perennially digging roads, without proper coordination between them. Every now and then, there is some sort of excavation on the road by men who lay cables or repair water pipe line, which bursts often --- regularly-irregular. 

(e) Irritating stray dogs, chasing each other in their game of love; placid ponderous, plodding cows and buffaloes on roads, add to the woes of road accidents.

Road widening to 4 lanes is a devilish plan because it grounds to dust the nest of hundreds of people who have built it with their hard earned money along the road. Everyone wishes to have a secured roof over their head.

The family feels the need of owning a rightful shelter; it is not just a matter of construction but of affection as well. Breaking down of legal houses for road widening will sent many on the top of mountains to live with the birds and the bees.   

According to the aggrieved people the existing road with the increased number of vehicles is sufficient for normal traffic. Some allege, that the present widening is to help the mining lobby to transport ore and coal.

Locals say, if at all, the development of widening is required, it should be twisted and turned on the periphery of the thickly populated area instead of destroying the houses.

Stooges of government say, “The persons whose houses are destroyed will get compensation.” But aggrieved people say, “The reimbursement for damaged houses will not be able to build similar shelter with the compensated money. They will not be able to live even like earthworms under the stone.

In the search for safer roads and smoother traffic, we must weigh the true cost of progress. It should not come at the expense of people’s homes and livelihoods. A balanced approach, selecting community well-being and modern planning, can pave the way for both safer roads and secure homes.

Dear reader, let us pray; a time like this demands. Oh Lord, give us men who will impound strays and give us sufficient and efficient policemen who will not only fine helmetless riders but also control irregular parking of vehicle on main roads; and last but not the least, O Lord, give us road contractors who will give us superior roads. Amen.


Idhar Udhar