Since there are no marshals to direct traffic, it’s a free for all in Goa’s Smart City

May 21, 2024 | 06:59 IST

Since there are no marshals to direct traffic, it’s a free for all in Goa’s Smart City

On DB Marg near Campal ground there are frequent traffic jams, especially in the evening; the previous practice of having traffic wardens has been discontinued; Panjim Traffic Cell is facing shortage of staff
Since there are no marshals to direct traffic, it's a free for all in Goa's Smart City

Team Herald

PANJIM: Even as the Smart City works in Panjim have made life miserable for residents, misery continues to flood the state capital. The Panjim Traffic Cell of Goa Police is now facing shortage of staff and to address the injury, the agencies carrying out the work also failed to deploy marshals at the locations.

Traffic jams have become a regular phenomenon, mostly observed in the evenings on DB Marg near Campal ground.

What is startling is that insufficient attention is paid to this problem. A few months ago, some posts were filled with traffic personnel, but that is not enough if we consider the magnanimity of the shortage of police personnel.

During the hearing of two Public Interest Petitions (PIL), the Bombay High Court in Goa was informed that steps would be taken to ensure adequate signage and traffic wardens would be deployed at the work sites besides traffic police. where the roads were not completely closed or diverted.

Madan Bugde, a shop owner from St. Inez, said no traffic wardens were seen at the locations at all. “If the contractor had deployed marshals, the vehicles from other places would not have entered the temporary road and caused blockages for the residents of St. Inez. It is complete mismanagement,” said Bugde

Piyush Panchal, one of the petitioners, also said that no traffic wardens were seen at the locations.

According to sources, the Panjim Traffic Cell had written to the contractor more than once to provide traffic wardens at the sites, but in vain.

A top police officer said that while executing a major road project, the contractor is instructed to deploy marshals. But this was not the case in Panjim.

But what is even more discouraging is that the earlier practice of having traffic wardens to direct traffic, especially during peak hours, is missing. The need for administrators is felt even more as roads have been constructed in the city due to the Smart City works, which have made life miserable for city residents. And to add to the misery, the road signs are missing, making it a free-for-all program.

“The system of traffic wardens is still in place, but people are not coming forward to offer their services. Four traffic controllers work at the Panjim Traffic Cell. They are deployed when their services are needed. They receive a fixed fee. But since it is a volunteer service, citizens should come forward to offer their services,” an official told O Heraldo.

Traffic warden Shamu Silimkhan, who has worked for the cause for many years, said: “Earlier, there were 11 traffic wardens in the capital Panjim to manage traffic. In the past, they were usually deployed near their place of residence. However, they were not assigned a specific point to regulate traffic. There were also Home Guards, but they used to stand next to the traffic police.”

What is also sad to note is that no lessons were learned even after the city, including Ribandar, witnessed two fatal accidents and many minor accidents in which people were injured. City residents are now wondering what the situation will be like when the monsoon begins as Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited (IPSCDL) has barely 10 days to meet the May 31 deadline.

The sanctioned personnel of the Panjim Traffic Cell consists of one PI, four PSIs, 10 ASIs, 14 head constables and 75 constables; however, the current strength of the cell is one PI, two PSIs, eight ASIS, 22 head constables and 31 constables. This means that with the exception of the head of the department, there is a shortage of staff in all ranks, especially constables, which is even less than half of the sanctioned strength.

When contacted, senior officers of the traffic cell admitted that there is a shortage of staff but termed it a routine matter, which is handled regularly.

The excavated BB Borkar Road is causing traffic disruption in Porvorim

PANJIM: The residents of Porvorim were suddenly caught unawares by the massive digging of BB Borkar road. The constant digging and excavation of the road on one side and that too every 50 meters is causing traffic disruption.

BB Borkar road is witnessing bumper to bumper traffic jam. There is no traffic policeman to monitor the movements of the vehicles as one of the roads is blocked due to ongoing excavation works. There is also no good signage.

Porvorim Residents Welfare Association secretary Juino De Souza said: “Every day there are serpentine lines of vehicles on the road and it becomes difficult to commute as traffic is diverted from the highway to the BB Borkar.”

He also said that local MLA and Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte should take cognizance of the matter and immediately deploy traffic police to the spot. He further demanded that the contractor should also deploy traffic controllers to regulate the flow of traffic.