PANAJI: The issue of lane-cutting on the Cortalim-Agasaim stretch was raised at the meeting of the sub-committee on road safety and management of the North Goa district consumer protection council in North Goa on Thursday.
With nightmarish traffic jams on either side of the Zuari bridge only getting worse with each passing day, members of the consumer forum during a meeting with traffic police, demanded that they install CCTV cameras and fine those who break queues and aggravate the traffic situation.

Installing boards warning people that they’re under CCTV surveillance is not enough, Roland Martins, convenor of Goa Consumer Action Network, said. “Traffic police need to keep a check on lane-cutting. Traffic police on duty need to take pictures and book offenders. The police should then release the figures weekly stating the number of people who were booked along the Cortalim-Agasaim route to instill discipline,” he said.

Appealing to people through signage to maintain lane discipline is one thing, but those not following rules need to be penalised, he added.

One such lane cutter overtaking from the left rammed into Lorna Fernandes’ car while cutting in on the same route on Thursday. “I had to take my car to the service centre. I’m going to file a compensation case against PWD because they’re responsible for this mess. I’m paying taxes, including income tax and road tax, and what am I getting in return? Nothing. Just wasting my time, money and energy. My car was damaged through no fault of my own. It’s a shame that the government cannot tackle petty traffic jams,” she said.

Director of panchayats Ajit Panchwadkar, whose work schedule has also been disrupted over the past few days because of traffic snarls along the route, suggested that vehicles be permitted to move only along a single lane to reduce the chaos and give a free way in emergency situations.

“One lane must be kept vacant for movement of ambulances, police, fire brigades or any other rescue or emergency vehicles. If vehicles move in three lanes on a single road, it causes a bottleneck. If everyone moves solely in a single lane in a disciplined manner, the situation will be much better,” he said, adding that at least four teams of traffic police need to be constantly on the move to monitor and clear traffic jams.

“Someone should realize the loss of fuel caused due to traffic jams. It‘s a huge national loss, and moreover, it‘s adding to the pollution,” another commuter said.

DySP traffic (North) Dharmesh Angle said that additional staff have been deployed to ensure that there’s no lane cutting. “We appeal to people to maintain lane discipline. The Zuari Bridge can only accommodate a single line of traffic from both directions. When people form multiple lanes before the bridge, it creates confusion and everyone suffers,” he said. When asked whether the traffic police will penalize those overtaking, he said it is not a question of enforcement, but traffic regulation.

The horrendous traffic jams on the Cortalim route are also impacting businesses in the state. Fashion photographer Crispino Dourado from St Cruz has had to let go of projects down South because of the unpredictable traffic situation.

“I cannot commit to clients in South Goa anymore. I have had to pass on projects to my friends instead. I can leave four hours earlier or stay over in South Goa the previous night to ensure that I make it but that’s an utter waste of time. Time is money,” he said

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