PACHU MENON, MARGAO
The decision by the Pramod Sawant government in Goa to keep on hold implementation of the new grossly enhanced fines notified by the Centre under the Motor Vehicles Act until repairs to pothole-ridden roads in the state are taken up post the monsoon is apparently a resolution endorsed by vox populi. The demands by the Opposition to defer the enactment of the new laws till basic infrastructure is made available to the public for safe, secure and smooth driving, and the safety of pedestrians is ensured also played an effective role resulting in the sudden volte face by the government vis-à-vis the operational dates. Just the other day, the Transport Minister was on record saying that it was not possible to co-relate the matter of the hiked penalties and the repair of ‘crater’-infested roads, as they were entirely different issues altogether. But then, imposing fines for traffic infringements on roads entirely unfit for commuting is unheard of either! With the sort of thoroughfares that actually do not deserve any road tax to be paid for, the search for a date to ratify the new legislation defies logic. In all fairness, Goa needs to have good motorable roads before the administration can even think of imposing the punitive Act in the state. The coexistence of ‘back-breaking’ roads and laws is just unheard of! The locals are perfectly justified in their demands for a postponement of the unnerving MV Act, at least until such time that the authorities settle their commuting woes. But having said that, their conditions notwithstanding, driving on the Goan roads has not been without its share of calamities either! A harrowing experience to say the least, the rickety ride and the traffic-senselessness of the motorists has always complemented each other making every outing on the Goan roads an unforgettable one. Demands for better roads should be substantiated by evidences of good conduct by the road users. Unfortunately, this never seems to happen.