Panjim: Life of Ribandar residents has been thrown of out of track over the weekend and they will continue to suffer as the main road leading to their homes has been dug up completely and traffic access suspended.
The road leading to Old Goa from Ribandar via the ferry points has undergone digging over the weekend for laying underground power cables under the smart city project. Shalaka Infra-tech (India) Private Limited is carrying out the smart conversion of overhead to underground electrical network in Panjim and Ribandar for the Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd (IPSCDL).
Traffic flow from both the sides Ribandar as well as from Old Goa has been suspended on the causeway route and the entire traffic has been diverted via the bypass, National Highway 748 passing through Kadamba Plateau.
The worst affected are those who commute by bus as they have to walk from down the riverside up the plateau. A local resident said, “Bus movement has been stopped and we are forced to walk up the plateau to take a bus to Panjim or towards Old Goa. Again we have to walk when we have to come back to our homes.”
The man further informed that a bus driver even got into a scuffle with the men at work due to the inconvenience caused to the people. “The bus driver was very upset because they blocked the route and that has caused inconvenience and loss of business until the road is reopened”, he added.
Besides the traffic problem, most of the old houses all along the main road are ancestral homes and have elderly living in them. An old lady worried about her home getting damaged sat in her veranda despite the heavy machinery sound crackling her hearing.
Though she did not want to respond to any queries, her wrinkled face and murmurs about the safety spoke the unspoken. She, however, pointed out that the digging was being carried out in less than a metre’s distance and expressed worries about when the work would be completed and she would have a sigh of relief.
On Monday, the internal roads in Ribandar witnessed traffic chaos as traffic was being diverted from the ferry point towards the bypass. “I live on Kadamba Plateau and normally take 15 minutes to reach Panjim. Today it took me 45 minutes to reach. That is how bad the traffic situation is, despite having a four-lane bypass road, as the internal roads get blocked”, a youth working in the capital stated.
IPSCDL had informed that the District Coordination Committee (DCC), headed by the North Goa District Collector, had granted permission for digging of the roads and restoration process to be completed by May 15.
A site supervisor informed Herald that the work would be completed in two days. “Today (Monday) the digging of the road will be completed. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we will be laying the cables and day after tomorrow (Wednesday) the roads will be covered”, he stated.
However, even if the roads will be covered, restoration to its original state with a layer of hot-mix will take more time than the schedule date of completion (May 15). [H]