The state sees around 15 lakh vehicles on the streets. VIBHA VERMA meets the traffic cell to find out how they manage to take care of the vehicular movement in Goa.
Catering to around 15 lakh vehicles, including those plying from other states, Goa suffers a serious manpower crunch to manage increasing traffic. The Traffic Department falls short of around 170 personnel and has mere 26 alco-meters to check for drunken driving in the State which witnesses increasing offences every year.
Superintendent of Traffic Police Devesh Mahala conceded the shortage of manpower; nevertheless he said in the upcoming reshuffling the vacuum will be filled. “We have shortage of manpower. It has been placed before the concerned many a time. We are expecting additional staff as reshuffling in the department is in process,” he said.
Despite an extremely difficult situation, particularly during major events and peak season, the department claims they manage with the current strength. A section of home guards assists the traffic personnel on the field while IRBians are deployed along the coastal belt.
While fatal accidents increased every year till last year, Mahala said the Traffic Cell has nonetheless been able to reduce it this year. “We have started enforcing the traffic rules, particularly in the accident prone zones and black spots, during the time when accidents occurred in the past. As such, we have reduced accidents by three per cent, while fatalities have come down by six in number and non-injury accidents have dropped by 12-13 per cent,” he stated adding that accidents at Margao, Vasco and Ponda too saw a decrease this year.
While drunken driving continues to be a menace every year with authorities waking up after every serious accident, adequate requirement of alco-meters has not been addressed till date. While the department claims that a proposal of additional 30 alco-meters is put up before the government, this could barely help curb the menace in the State.
“Goa is a tourist destination. The influx of tourists increases and also there is no control over a section of local population mostly comprising youngsters. Drunken driving cases constitute one of the highest under the traffic offences category and with limited equipment, it can barely act as a deterrent,” a road safety activist said.
Sources said that department is contemplating to have 100 alco-meters each in both the districts and Traffic police.