Huge trees between Polem and Cuncolim are a menace to drivers and pose a serious threat to life and property and the spate of deaths over the years does not seem to have changed the attitude of the local authorities to handling this problem
Huge trees standing right on the shoulders of NH66 threaten fatal accidents.
There are several huge trees standing right on the edge closely aligned on NH66 between Polem in Canacona till Cuncolim. Complaints by travelers about the threat by these huge trees have been ignored by the authorities resulting in loss to both life and property in recent years.
The NH66 starting from Goa border at Polem till Cuncolim mostly passes through dense forest and uneven terrain. The highway road built by the erstwhile Portuguese regime apart from widening by a few meters has not seen any major alteration since it was first built a few centuries ago. The road itself is less than 6 mts wide at many places with innumerable blind curves and cannot be categorized as national highway according to present standards. To add to this situation there are no shoulders at many places resulting in sudden drops on the edges of the carpeted portion. This road is an important link from the north and west to south India and vice versa. Thousands of vehicles from light to heavy use this road on a daily basis; and with unique obstacles this stretch of highway poses a challenge to the out-of state-vehicle drivers who end up in accidents.
Tales of accidents happening due to various reasons are a common phenomenon on this roadway but till now very little has been done to improve the safety standards by the PWD officials. A few years back at the instance of a complaint from the business’s community of Canacona, the then deputy collector of Canacona had ordered the removal of such dangerous trees which were presenting obstacles to the flow of traffic. While the fire and emergencies personnel cleared some trees, due to some reasons others where left untouched. In an accident reported recently at Balli the co-passenger of a car lost his life after the driver lost control over his vehicle and hit a massive mango tree positioned right on the shoulder of the NH66. The driver and another occupant seating on the rear seat were also critically injured, the public gathered at the site of the accident were seen blaming the PWD highways for not removing such dangerous trees from the road side. "How many deaths of innocent road users do the authorities need to witness before they start removing such dangerous trees from the road side?" questioned another commuter who looked shocked observing the scene of the accident.
Roadside tree maintenance is important annually for public safety and should be implemented before monsoons said a regular bus driver.
When Herald brought the presence of this trees on the shoulder of NH66 to the notice of PWD highway officials they said they had identified such trees and communicated the same to the deputy collector of Quepem. However Pradeep Mokhardakar a local resident from Canacona taluka questioned the job of the concerned officials who could not do their duty properly and have the trees removed before precious lives were lost due to the inefficiency of officials .