Citing security reasons, the Indian Army has sought the closure of two central market roads located in close proximity to army establishments in the Goa capital. The city's civic body, however, is opposed to the move.
In a written proposal to the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP), the army says the two market roads, which run along the headquarters of the 2 Signal Training Centre (STC), a signals and communications division of the armed forces, need to be closed as a deterrence against "terror activities".
"It is requested that a holistic view to the security requirement of army installations and deterrence against any terrorist activities in the market area is taken," Lieutenant Colonel Austin Collaco, administrative commandant of the 2 STC, says in the letter to the CCP.
"The security environment in the present scenario demands a high level of alertness and a proactive stance. Our vulnerable areas have to be kept under continuous surveillance to prevent any untoward incidents," the letter further states.
Goa has in the recent past been on the terror radar of Islamist terror groups. In the wake of the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai, a red alert has been declared in Goa numerous times with intelligence reports hinting at a possible sea borne terror attack.
The two roads, which the army wants closed, run parallel to the Mandovi River that flanks Panaji.
Security pay-offs emanating from the closure of the two market roads, according to the army proposal, "would outweigh the minor inconvenience to the people".
The CCP, however, doesn't want the two roads closed.
Panaji Mayor Carolina Po told IANS that the market roads were an essential vehicular and pedestrian artery leading to the city's major commercial area.
"We cannot afford to close it down. Instead the army should move its establishments out from the centre of the city to the outskirts, considering that they are sensitive to issues related to security," Po said.