Opposition wants Goa CM to declare a holiday and hold higher traffic penalties till the pothole-ridden roads are fixed

Congress party has opposed implementing the new Motors Vehicles Act in Goa till the time the condition of the alleged potholes-peppered roads is improved.
The Opposition in Goa, the Congress alleges potholes and bad roads make it difficult for motorists to follow traffic rules.(HT Photo, Representative)
The Opposition in Goa, the Congress alleges potholes and bad roads make it difficult for motorists to follow traffic rules.(HT Photo, Representative)
Updated on Sep 06, 2019 04:13 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Panaji | ByGerard de Souza

The Congress party in Goa wants the state government to defer the implementation of the new Motor Vehicles Act, along with its steep penalties, until it can fix the pothole-ridden roads and improve road infrastructure.

Former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat, said that while he was all for motorists strictly following the rules, the state of the roads in Goa didn’t help their cause.

“I urge the Goa Chief Minister and Mauvin Godinho (Transport Minister) to defer [the] implementation of [the] new traffic rules as per the Motor Vehicle Act 2019 till basic infrastructure is made available for the public for safe, secured and smooth driving,” Kamat tweeted.

“I am of the firm opinion that all those who use roads should strictly follow the rules. This can be achieved only when the movement becomes, hassle free and convenient. Sometimes obstructions force [road users] to break rules,” Kamat said.

The new motor vehicle rules with steep fines are yet to be implemented in the state with the Goa government yet to ratify the new rules.

Deputy Superintendent of Police in charge of traffic, Dharmesh Angle, told the media that the Police Department was still awaiting a go-ahead from the Transport Department to impose the higher fines.

“We will implement the rules. The moment a new act is enacted, each state has to adopt it. The Transport Department has to officially notify it and then inform us about the revised penalties,” Angle said.

“The current fines are from 1988. They are outdated. We require new fines and they should be exorbitant fines, so that the violator feels the pinch. We are not imposing fines... we don’t get pleasure out of it. We have to do it because the accidents are taking place. We have to enforce the law in such a way that it is a deterrent for violations,” Angle said.

Asked to react to the claim that potholes are the primary cause of accidents, Angle said: There are good roads in many places, but there are different causes for accidents like over speeding. Roads should be good, no doubt, and we have written to the government about the condition of the roads.”

The condition of the roads has been a major flash point between the ruling and the opposition parties. The Chief Minister had promised to repair all roads before the ongoing festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.

However, with the rains refusing to abate, the condition of the roads has only worsened.

Kamat also asked the government to declare a ‘holiday’ until the road and traffic condition improved.

“I spoke to [the] Police Traffic Cell. They say potholes are creating obstruction in smooth movement of vehicles. I urge the Goa Chief Minister to declare holiday till they find some time to act and minimize the pains of commuters,” Kamat said.

The arterial road between the towns of Margao, Vasco and the state capital is pothole ridden and frequently congested leading to delays up to three hours.

However, Goa’s transport minister Mauvin Godinho didn’t see a relation between the roads and the fines.

“Both the things cannot be linked, saying first do the roads, then you charge. We should learn to obey the law and learn to respect traffic rules. We should not be the violators all the time. This year we have got more rains and not just roads, many services were impacted. Just because there are potholes, should people be allowed to drink and drive?” Godinho asked.

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