Need holistic plan to resolve Margao's vexed traffic tangle

| JUNE 20, 2024, 11:36 PM IST

Finally, the ball is in the court of the traffic department to draw up a traffic management plan to decongest traffic around schools in Margao, with a deadline of June 25 set to prepare a draft and place it before the Parent-Teacher Associations of schools in the area.

The heart of the city and the Comba level crossing have been perennially facing traffic snarls with parents queuing up with their vehicles to pick up their wards after school hours. The high-level meeting has proposed a few measures but those don't ooze confidence because several grey areas have been left unaddressed.

The surprise was a sudden move to denotify the Old Bus Stand, without getting into the allied issues that would crop up. The Old Bus Stand which once was the hub of Margao’s transportation system continues to serve people from villages like Raia, Arlem, Camurlim, Housing Board and several other areas within a radius of around 10-12 km. These buses become a direct link for the people to the city. While de-notifying it, authorities should have a backup plan because people who don’t have their own means of transport to travel to the city will be left with no choice. Allowing these buses to park along the roadside could drastically aggravate the situation.

The decision to move all accident vehicles and scrap material is welcome because it will clear up the place, but giving kiosks the concession to stay put beyond business hours does not make sense. If the intent is to clear the area, the relaxation to gaddas or kiosks is baffling.

Furthermore, the restriction on taking a U-turn at Comba for vehicles moving out of the subway and going towards Old Market defeats the very purpose of decongestion because the traffic will be now diverted to the city. You can’t have piecemeal changes without looking at the larger picture.

Secondly, while the focus was on the traffic near Fatima Convent High School and Loyola High School, the meeting failed to examine another major congestion happening at the level crossing at Comba, a problem that appears not only frustrating to motorists but also life-threatening to students who try to cross the tracks even when the gates go down in a hurried bid to reach their classrooms in time.

We don’t understand why authorities and the Margao MLA don’t see reason to prioritise the flyover in the area which could bring in welcome relief in the immediate future. In a recent announcement, the flyover from Victor Hospital at Aquem to La Flor Hotel in Margao has been approved despite the fact that there is no urgency or emergency.

The Comba level-crossing is going to be a nightmare for students and motorists in the years ahead because the double-track project will drastically increase rail traffic. From the existing 60-odd trains plying to and fro daily, the count could cross hundred giving nightmares for people stranded on either side of the tracks. Why are authorities not factoring in such situations?

Authorities and the traffic department have to take a practical approach to the problem rather than trying to sidestep issues that have political connotations. The need of the hour is to take a holistic and unbiased view keeping in mind only, and only, the problems at hand. The purpose will be defeated if politics of appeasement comes in the way. 

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