Tuesday 18 Jun 2024

Traffic cops leave no room to be 'smart' in Panaji

ASHLEY DO ROSARIO | JANUARY 19, 2024, 12:56 AM IST
Traffic cops leave no room to be 'smart' in Panaji

CATCHING PREY: Traffic cops stop a motorcyclist for a traffic violation in Panaji.

Photo Credits: Narayan Pissurlenkar

Commuters in the capital city, especially the two-wheeler riders, who get stuck in traffic snarls due to the ongoing 'smart city' works often attempt to cut their way through by changing directions and riding onto the several by-lanes. These smart moves to beat the mind-stressing chaos in the city may bode well for some but for many others, it has invited trouble in the form of prying traffic cops.

Some of those alternate lanes and by-lanes are one-way zones and the motorists many a time opt to ride the wrong way to beat the chaos, landing straight into the net of these traffic policemen, all ready to cut a challan with fingers on their POS machines to collect the fines.

This has been the scene at several locations in the city. Unsuspecting two-wheeler riders opting for a short-cut to beat the traffic jams and snarls but landing in the hands of these traffic cops, who have no time or will to use their skills for controlling and minimising the traffic chaos but all the time in the world for guerilla-type modus operandi to outsmart these riders who stray into the no-entry zones and one-way streets on the wrong side.

Panaji's pay parking biz

It wasn't too long ago that the renewal of the 'pay parking' contract and the clandestine extension of the previous one well beyond its expiry generated much heat in the corridors and halls of the Corporation of the City of Panaji. Now, it is generating the moolah on the streets of the capital.

Two former mayors -- Surendra Furtado and Uday Madkaikar -- were in the forefront of the chorus alleging hanky-panky in the dealings between the CCP led by mayor Rohit Monserrate and the contractor, who incidentally happens to be Sohan, the son of former minister, the late Somnath Juwarkar.

Months later, there's pin-drop silence and business as usual (or unusual?) for the contractor's traffic wardens on the streets of Panaji where a parking slot is like gold amidst the excavated roads. The slots are even sold at a premium on an hourly basis, especially along the MG Road after sundown in the Casino belt.

Meanwhile, a little bird familiar with CCP's backroom chatter reveals that one of the two ex-mayors -- Uday Madkaikar -- was taken to task over his adventure of raising a stink on the pay parking contract episode by the son of his former boss.

Madkaikar began his innings in civic politics under the wings of the late Juwarkar, although he missed getting elected the first time in the then Panjim Municipal Council elections in 1995, losing by a solitary vote to former minister Isidore Fernandes. Since then, he has got elected several times but has switched between the Juwarkar and Babush Monserrate camps multiple times.

Now, with Juwarkar junior himself seemingly smoking the peace pipe, Madkaikar finds himself out of the loop and a vociferous part of the opposition in the Monserrate-controlled CCP.

But his heroics in the alleged pay parking scam wasn't taken too kindly by his former boss's son who invited him to a meeting and let him have it, the little singing bird hummed in our ears.

End of the story on the so-called CCP pay-parking scam!

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