26 Jul 2020  |   05:37am IST

Lessons lost: Goans have to bear with bad roads across the State yet again

One of the most common complaints from commuters and locals is that the roads in Goa are always suffering from some kind of damage during the monsoons. Locals wonder how the government authorities fail to rectify these errors or plan in advance, to ensure that these roads are pothole free and the tar doesn’t get washed away in the rains. Last year itself, the PWD and the Minister had come under severe criticism for the extremely poor quality of roads but this year, it’s the same old story. There have been minor and major accidents including fatal ones but as Team Herald discovered, there are areas across the State where the authorities have failed to act despite being informed by locals via written complaints. Here’s a look at the issues faced by the common man
Lessons lost:  Goans have to bear with bad roads across the State yet again

Team Herald

Same old bad road problems in ‘Smart’ Panjim city

It was an annual feature these monsoons too. Some of the severely damaged roads in Panjim have been battered by the recent spells of heavy rains, causing much hardship to the commuters.

A round in Capital city and its surrounding areas gives a clear picture about the pothole-ridden conditions across. The road stretches, which were already damaged due to substandard works or the give-a-damn attitude of the authorities, have taken a severe beating in the rains.

Prominent among the most damaged roads are stretches along KTC bus stand, Patto-EDC, Mala, Miramar, Taleigao, St Cruz, and also some interiors, where patches have been filled with mud or tar, which has also washed out in the spell.

The construction of flyover, from Merces junction towards Bambolim, has led to damage of the existing road, causing much hardship.

The motorists have to endure a back-breaking ride in the majority part of the city.

“This is a common scenario every monsoons. The road condition is totally unmotorable after the rains. Before rains, no efforts are taken to clear the potholes. The motorists and other commuters are enduring untold sufferings,” Rajesh Naik, a local resident said.

Comba roads not tarred  for 11 years while Margao’s ring road in bad shape

The roads in and around Margao have survived the rains. All the major roads in Margao are in good condition and are being repaired as soon as the condition deteriorates. The ready-mix tarring machine filled up the small potholes around Borda areas on Friday. 
However the curious case of the roads of Comba Margao still perplexes many. Roads of Comba wado have not been tarred for the last eleven years for reasons best known to the PWD Department. The tender of Comba roads tarring was floated long back in 2008. However, after much ado, the tender was scrapped after 6 years due to no work execution. The re-tendering of the work was processed in 2016 but the PWD sat on the process for another 2 years and in 2018 the work order was issued. Locals blame the PWD and cite it as an example of PWD’s failure. 
However, after three morchas and protests the work is still not being executed. When contacted, the Councillor of Comba, Ketan Kurtarkar said, "We have put lot of efforts to get this work executed so that the people of Comba get good roads. Leave politics aside and let the work of the road happen.”
Elsewhere, the Ring Road, which was opened earlier in 2019, continues to be in a bad state.  Sources stated that work of the sewerage line has rendered the road in a bad state. 
“There are no street lights, no road markings on the entire stretch. This road has become a haven for illegal activities ranging from wholesale of fish, booze parties, drugs etc,” said a couple of local while criticising the role of the authorities concerned. 

Pathetic roads all over, be it Patradevi or Guirim, Pernem or Bardez 
Several spots of NH 66 from Patradevi to Guirim are full of potholes and have turned into a nightmare for the daily commuters. Due to the ongoing work of highway expansion from Patradevi to Guirim, parts of the highway are in very bad condition.
Moreover, the situation has gotten worse during the heavy rains as it is difficult for commuters to see the roads and know which dangerous parts to avoid.  
The Patradevi to Railway bridge road at Amere is also in a terrible shape.
Locals have blamed the highway extension work for these problems, and pointed out that 20 people have lost their lives since 2018, while a number of people have sustained major injuries. Most of these road accidents have occurred on the NH 66, between Patradevi and Dhargal and further on till Guirim. 
However, the authorities have turned a blind eye despite the many representations that have been submitted to the authorities concerned as well as the agitations carried out by the protesting locals. 
Even the roads at Virnoda, Colvale and Guirim have potholes and the tar on these roads got washed away in the rains. A video of the heavy vehicles literally bouncing up and down as they cross the Porvorim to Guirm potholed highway has also gone viral. 

Potholed Ponda: Shoddy road work in covering sewerage 
chambers causes bumpy ride for commuters 
Like many of the development projects, the deadlines for its completion keep on getting extended. This is the case for the laying of the sewerage network in Ponda, and the amount of time it is taking to complete, has caused a lot of issues for locals along the way. 
They have been waiting for three years for the completion of the 15 MLD sewerage treatment plant in Ponda. What has troubled them further is the kind of shoddy work seen when it comes to digging up roads and the hotmixing the potholed-roads. 
Many of these sewerage chambers have been constructed in the middle of the road. The problem arises due to the fact that once it’s constructed; the chambers are not covered properly. Sometimes the road is not leveled properly, meaning the upper surface of the chamber is at a higher level than the road and the vehicles passing by bump against the chambers when they cross this spot. 
Besides giving commuters a bumpy ride, locals felt that it is untomorable road cause of these problems, especially to two-wheelers who are at risk as they could lose their balance when they go over these spots.
Locals from Ponda have demanded that the roads be covered properly and explained how in the rains or at night, when one can’t see the chambers properly, the consequences could be tragic. 
Locals point out that such spots exist at the road at Kapileshwari Kavlem; Dag Tisk Ponda; road near Ponda Municipality; Varkhandem, and the road leading to upper Bazaar Ponda. 
When the sewerage dept officials were asked about the status of the project, they said that 80% of the work on the laying the sewerage network lines is complete. The officials added they expect the work to be finished in the next few months.  However, regarding the issues of bad roads, they said that NOCs have been given where the sewerage work is complete. They further added that hotmixing carpeting has also been completed in most places, except in places like Dag Tisk Ponda, where there is still some pending work of laying sewerage lines. 

Compared to the road problems in towns, it’s far worse in rural areas like Sattari 
In Sattari taluka, all inter villages roads are in a pathetic condition for the past several years.  This, despite the fact that,villagers from rural areas have constantly raised the issue of the bad roads, at their respective village gram sabhas. 
To their queries, the panchayat body replies stating that they have already submitted the files for carrying out repair work to the PWD’s Road department.  The panchayat elected representatives blame the authorities for not taking any action. 
But this has been a perennial source of worry for the locals given the number of road accidents that have occurred in the villages. 
“Not a single elected representative is bothered to repair the road of their own village. We are facing the problems such as body pain, backbone injuries etc but nothing has changed. And in the rains, it is very dangerous to ride one’s two or four-wheeler on these roads. The potholes is one issue but the roads are overflowing with rain water,” say locals. 
They give examples and point to most of the internal roads of Poriem village. Local named Virendra Majik elaborated about how locals are forced to travel on these dangerous roads as they have no other option. 
“In Honda village, all the panchayat ward roads have been washed away due to the heavy rains. We demand that the government repairs these roads before the Ganesh festival,” local Omkar Desai adds. 
While the hotmixing of roads in the Nagargao panchayat area has started, the PWD Valpoi’s Road Department office had to stop the work due to the intervening heavy rains. 
“Now the work of hot mixing the roads will start after Diwali. From a geographical point of view, Nagargao village panchayat is large. There are total 60 kilometers of inter village roads in this panchayat,” explained panch member Parag Khadilkar, while adding that the hot mixing of roads in his area has been completed. 

Roads of Vasco, Chicalim, Cortalim- Full of pockmarks of neglect
The condition of the roads from Vasco area are as sick as the COVID situation in Goa at present. The vicious cycle of road tarring; asphalt getting washed off in the rains, potholes being formed and then minor patchwork being done using mud and stones is never ending. And these are how some of the roads are in Vasco, especially the road from Vasco KTC bus stand to the Chicalim slope, which is a bumpy ride for the commuters.
Incidentally, since the last one year, these roads suffered this way. The heavy rainfall in the last two months have also increased and widened the number of potholes. 
In some areas, locals have said that the unmotorable roads do not improve even with the stop-gap measures of filling the potholes. 
Local Agnelo D'costa said the road from KTC bus stand till the Chicalim slope gets spoiled every year and that senior citizens and those who are ailing are inconvenienced due to the bad road conditions. He elaborated that the potholes cause them pain in their back and body when they travel on these roads.  The PWD authorities should give a serious thought on giving good quality of roads in the first instance rather than going for temporary patchwork later with muds and stones,” said D’Costa. 
Siddesh T, another person from Vasco said the roads in Vasco; especially the internal roads are not in good shape. “The road near MPT Hospital, next to the waste dumping site is horrible. There are dogs, cattle sitting on the road. There are huge potholes on this road and during rainy season, the potholes become unnoticeable due to water logging and this might be an open invitation for vehicular accidents,” he added. Incidentally, the MPT hospital houses COVID patients. 
Another person, Shahnavaaz Mayyadi, also stated that the roads from the KTC bus stand to Vaddem Lake need attention. He also reiterated that there should be a permanent solution to this. “Simply doing patchwork with mud and stones won’t resolve the issue.  In fact, it takes three to four shower spells for the mud and stones to get washed away,” he added. 
Another person named Sohail felt the highway roads need to be of better quality and not muddy, filled with potholes. “Road near the Verna slope, Cortalim junction stretch, Agassaim area gets quite bad during the heavy rains,” he added. 


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