Believe me, most of the roads in Goa lead you to hell! Be it a State or national highway. Whether it’s two or four wheelers or heavy vehicles, you are bound to witness a tragedy some time or the other, because there is total negligence and no driving sense. Using common sense while driving makes the best sense, but this has gone for a toss in Goa. But those who are in a hurry while driving, put others’ lives at risk. Irrespective of whether one is literate or illiterate, driving sense should be driven by common sense on Goan roads. The potholes or uneven surfaces are another cause of accidents.
Building roads or highways is any governments’ priority and commuters go gaga once these new roads are thrown open. But how these roads are built is a million dollar question. The question arises because there is no authorized supervision nor is there any quality checks of the road works. The contractor is the sole supervisor and quality controller. They are given a free hand to undertake the works, but only after paying the commission to the concerned higher ups. So the quality of the road works take a beating. That’s a reality, which no one can deny in this corrupt system. Construction of roads is a big money making business. Milking the government’s treasury is just another name of the game. However, maintenance of these roads is also a mystery, since no one wants to take responsibility for the poor quality of works. No one ever dares to question the contractor about the quality of his work. The commuters who would be using the roads are least and last on their minds. And mind you, had there been no payment of the 20/30 percent commission, the contractors would have done a wonderful job, to say the least.
While considering the safety aspects of the roads, they may be ‘safe’ only on the drawing board, but poor implementation makes them dangerous.
Do we need Chandrayan-3 technology to construct roads in Goa? It’s very true that all accidents may not be due to bad roads but at times, since many accidents are self accidents. But in Goa, at least the larger question is the quality of roads and the number of accidents which take place due to bad roads. Any new road or resoled road should have had at least a lifespan of five years. But it is not so! In just six months the roads are yet again crying for attention. Constructing a road is one thing, but ensuring quality works and maintaining them is another thing.
Secondly, there are the traffic signals in Goa which very often play games. Most of the signals which were erected with much fanfare were supposed to work 24 x7. But generally they are playing hide and seek. So commuters get a ‘free run’. There are many who jump the signals and drive away, as they are sure no one will ever chase and challan them. But in reality they put others’ lives at risk with their misbehaviour.
Isn’t it too harrowing to see that everyday innocent lives are lost? With the exception of Banastarim and Porvorim accidents which were due to human errors, almost all the other accidents are definitely caused due to bad planning, alignment and bad maintenance of the State roads.
As I pen down these lines, comes the news that yet another life has been lost due to cattle on the road in Pilerne. Who let the cattle on the road? Who is supposed to tend the cattle? Why should the cattle be on the roads first of all? Who and why are the cattle let loose on the roads? Does the government have any answers and solutions for this menace?
Thirdly, the way the traffic police show their presence and their might by the roadside, it looks as if they are performing yeomen service to the public. But alas! They are chasing the riders and car drivers only to make a quick buck. I agree they may be fining the law breakers, but at the same time they are also fleecing the public in broad daylight. Take for example, most of the time the traffic police makes their presence felt on the Nagoa-Verna highway near the roundabout. But instead of standing right by the highway, they cleverly hide themselves by the road side, on the old highway which leads to Verna Church. This is because they want to avoid the private CCTV cameras installed by a villager at the junction to protect the Statue of St Francis Xavier.
Something is seriously wrong with our road network. Some places it’s the sharp turns that hinders the front view. Secondly, the sheer madness of drivers is to blame. The alignment of the speed breakers is no hindrance to the rash drivers, but they act as back-breakers to those who follow the rules.
Fourthly, the driving schools in Goa need to answer a lot. It’s at the learning stage that a driver has to be taught the pros and cons of safe driving, but instead these schools tend to become a milking cow for the traffic police. Unless and until the traffic police behave the way they should, nothing will change whether it’s on the road or in their drawing rooms.
It’s time we have CCTVs installed on every highway. This is especially to study the footage and determine the cause of many accidents. By the way, will the traffic police personnel in Goa ever change their hearts and do some soul searching and prevent Goan roads from turning into a hell for road users?