It’s official. Perhaps for the first time in the city’s history, the district authorities have ordered the closure of a city busy road to rid a garbage dark spot and curb waste dumping during late evenings and wee hours of the day.
The Margao ring road from the Power House junction, Aquem to the Margao Fire station will now be closed for traffic between dawn to dusk, i.e. 7 pm and 7 am every day. An order issued by South Goa District Magistrate Jyoti Kumari has said the ring road will be closed till May 2023.
While granting the request of the Margao Municipal Council, the District Magistrate has, however, imposed a host of conditions on the civic body while implementing the order.
The closure of the road has only brought back to the fore the contentious issue of garbage dumping in the open and dark spots dotting the commercial capital. While the civic body’s avowed objective behind going in for the road closure is to keep the unscrupulous elements from disposing of the waste along the ring road at bay, questions are being raised about how the municipality will address the issue of the remaining 35-odd dark spots spread across.
For, the Comba ring road has virtually become a dumping ground all along the stretch, especially during late hours, given its isolated nature and absence of illumination.
Margao Municipal Chief Officer had on October 28 knocked on the doors of the South Goa district Magistrate to close down the Aquem Ring Road pointing out that waste dumping goes on unabated on the stretch.
The Chief Officer had contended that the civic body had taken up the exercise of removal of waste dumped along the roadside on the ring road from the Power House junction to Fire Station Margao but lamented that unknown persons continue to dump waste during late evening hours and wee hours.
The Chief Officer further informed that the MMC had earlier made several attempts to identify the persons dumping waste, but added that since the road is not illuminated, it becomes difficult to trace the violators.
The MMC had further made out a case for the road closure on the ground that the PWD has taken up the work of the ring road and constant waste dumping is causing hardship for the beautification project.
The MMC requested the closure of the ring road by directing the Traffic Cell of Margao to install necessary sign boards at the Power House junction and Fire Station Margao from 7 pm to 7 am to avoid waste dumping.
Accepting MMC request, Magistrate sets host of conditions
While the District Magistrate has accepted the Margao Municipal Council’s request to close the Aquem ring road for traffic, the civic body is expected to comply with a host of conditions, including deploying its own manpower at the entry and exit points of the route.
For, the traffic police, while submitting its no objection to the closure of the ring road stretch, has categorically informed that it would not be possible to deploy personnel to man the entry and exit points since the Traffic Cell Margao is facing an acute shortage of staff for daily duties.
The District Magistrate has directed the civic body to make its own arrangements to deploy personnel with reflective jackets, with a further direction to involve additional manpower and machinery to complete the work in the shortest possible time.
While directing the civic body to display proper signages, indicating flashlight work, the MMC has been told to depute security guards and traffic marshals with reflective jackets and also make sufficient illumination at the place.
A direction was also issued to the MMC Chief Officer to take appropriate action and penalize the person or organization dumping waste at the location.