Goan roads, a lunar affair
India is aiming for the moon and the groundwork seems to have started in Goa. The state, which claims to be a famous tourist destination, is promising tourists an experience of driving a vehicle on the moon.
Now, this also makes one wonder whether this is part of a new tourism strategy.
The moon is known to have craters and is definitely not equipped or licensed to have vehicular movement, except for a lunar roving vehicle. Goan roads, however, have managed to strike so many similarities with the surface of the moon.
The only difference being we are driving cars and bikes manufactured by Tata and Mahindra - not by Boeing.
Obtaining a driver’s license to ride a bike is simple – riding along the lines of the number 8. I’ve always wondered where this would be used while actually riding a bike, since taking sharp turns is not the best idea.
That was until I had to manoeuvre the 15 potholes that I come across on my way home. The same potholes that have even proven to cause life-threatening accidents. Looks like the driving test is well-tailored to suit the roads, after all.
With half the existing roads already having potholes and ditches and the other half of the capital city being dug up and left as possible ‘death traps’, how are we part of a smart city, really?
The onset of the monsoon brings another fresh set of problems. With the roads of Panjim mercilessly flooding, travelling is as good as a blind man driving. Falling into the worst potholes because they have been submerged under water is a problem that the common man must fend for himself.
You will be surprised to see that googling the words, ‘Goa roads’, will show you pictures of beautiful and well-maintained roads, while the reality is something that only Goans and people visiting Goa will know.
Not forgetting the attractive slideshow of beautifully constructed roads that flash once you open the official website of the Department of Transport, Goa. Maybe, it’s high time the department hits the update button and portrays the sad reality – Goan roads are in a pathetic state.
I think of the people that have lost their lives because they braked too hard when they suddenly saw the deep pothole come their way, and the ones who did not break as hard but still met the same fate.
The loss of a few days at work, probably a few broken bones and five trips to claim insurance for their damaged vehicle.
What is sad is that this has been going on for longer than I can remember. So much so, it has become normal to see broken roads and gravel lying around followed by a few kilometres of a good road.
Let us take the example of this one road that I pass by every day. Although an entire strip of the road has broken off, there was just one tiny window space where my vehicle could dodge the brutal thrashing of the Goan roads.
Most roads make me want to apologise to my bike. Ironically, this road is situated right outside a police station.
What is difficult to understand is why the job is not being done properly once and for all. Why are well-tarred roads being tarred again? Why is there no uniformity in the tarring process?
Layer upon layer, one engineer is hired to cover the incompetency of the previous one. But is it really the engineers that are incompetent or the people hiring them?