In a split second, the course of life for nine people was changed in a brutal accident on the Banastarim bridge. It was a tragedy that could have been avoided but for the drunken stupor and hubris of a rich couple driving on the wrong side of the road.
Out of the nine, three people lost their lives, while six were injured, two critically, in the horrific accident on Sunday, August 6. The incident brings to the fore the issue of unchecked drunken driving on Goan roads.
It is not possible to detect every drunk driver on the road, according to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and he is right. But, now that the unfortunate incident has happened, he has to allow the police to do their job and not interfere.
Though it is pertinent to identify the driver whose actions brought about the deaths and injuries, we must understand that both the man and the woman in the Mercedes car were complicit in the culpable crime.
If one was driving drunk, the other was abetting drunk driving. The car was destined to kill that late fateful evening.
Road accident numbers in Goa are getting worse by the day.
Sincere efforts are needed to ensure that the law works in all earnestness and without bias to deal with those who jeopardise the lives of people.
The police are duty-bound to do a fair job without being influenced by their political masters to dilute the Banastarim case because tomorrow it could be their loved ones in a similar situation. The first thing they will have to do is identify the driver.
While an eyewitness says it was the woman at the wheel, the police are sure, even without proper investigation, it was the man. Keeping aside any sort of prejudicial influence, the police should now go back to the place of the party from where where the couple began their irresponsible journey, and find out who took the wheel. But will they?
A road accident like the one that occurred at Banastarim would have never taken place if the irresponsible husband and wife, with their children in tow, had allowed someone to drive them home.
The moment the couple sat in the car to drive home that day, they both became partners in a criminal act that would snuff out the lives of three unsuspecting people. And it probably was not the first time they were drunk behind the wheel.
The trauma of a road death leaves behind many living victims. In the Banastarim accident, three deaths mean three families are shattered. Surely, there are other ripple effects like loss of income and psychological distress.
It is time the chief minister and the government recognise the living victims and give them assistance to tide through the trauma and, at the same time, ensure those responsible are brought to justice.
Now, about the six survivors of this accident, some of the victims will be left to cope with post-traumatic stress.
The Banastarim accident and also the high number of road deaths occurring in Goa, should prod the government to set up a mechanism to support all victims of road crimes or accidents.
Also, more needs to be done to keep in check drunken or substance-impaired driving. Breath analysers to check the alcohol level in motorists are fine, but the police will have to be consistent on the job.
Given the fact that alcohol is easily and cheaply available in Goa, it is important that the government and police devise a strategy to deal with the nuisance of drunken driving.
So, when the CM says it is not possible to check each and every person for drunken driving, he is just looking for an easy way out.