Siolim's potholes are taking its tourism down the drain

It is high time local authorities take note of Siolim's potholed roads that are tarnishing the image of this tourist destination
POTHOLE PARADISE: Since the road widening work began early this year, driving on  Siolim roads is like manoeuvring through an obstacle course.
POTHOLE PARADISE: Since the road widening work began early this year, driving on Siolim roads is like manoeuvring through an obstacle course. Photo: Roxanne D'silva

Siolim, the village I come from, embodies a peaceful getaway in every way. It’s the kind of idyllic haven you'll find in travelogues and stories - a place defined by the gentle flow of Chapora River, quaint Goan houses, narrow lanes, swaying coconut palms and a picture-perfect setting ideal for unwinding.

POTHOLE PARADISE: Since the road widening work began early this year, driving on  Siolim roads is like manoeuvring through an obstacle course.
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The village's tranquillity has for long attracted tourists seeking a soulful sojourn; some of them have even made it their home. In many ways, it's been an oasis of serenity for locals as well as tourists.

Slowly, this village in Bardez taluka of North Goa, shrouded in its charmed existence, began to experience tourist onslaught, transforming it into a popular tourist hub. As that happened, its gradual decline as a tranquil village set in. And, the downhill roll has been on since then.

While this transformation occurred on one hand, on the other the village also began grappling with woes and problems and the one I would like to address is bad roads.

Now you will find hotels, homestays and cafés that have sprouted up in a very short time. While this transformation has occurred, for the good or bad, the village slowly started grappling with many woes and the one I would like to address here is bad roads.

While it may be right to address the village as a picturesque one, one cannot ignore the bumpy reality the villagers and tourists have to face on a daily basis. The busy village roads are riddled with potholes, a price the place is paying for rapid urbanisation.

SAD TRUTH: Road widening work has seen trees being felled and walls demolished in Siolim.
SAD TRUTH: Road widening work has seen trees being felled and walls demolished in Siolim. Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

The potholed nemesis began with the road-widening work undertaken early this year. As it progressed, it eroded the natural beauty of Siolim and left a trail of destruction along the way. Even old trees and a religious place were were were not spared.

The main Siolim roads - right up to the market circle - that were being done up are today causing much inconvenience to everyone, especially during the monsoons. Some of these have turned into death traps.

POTHOLE WARNING: Entering into Siolim? Fasten your seat belt for a bumpy ride ahead.
POTHOLE WARNING: Entering into Siolim? Fasten your seat belt for a bumpy ride ahead. Photo Roxanne D'silva

Travellers passing through the junction, where the main Siolim road meets the Sodiem-Duler road, encounters significant inconvenience caused by rainwater accumulating due to unwanton digging of trenches. With no proper demarcation or warning, gauging the depth of potholes becomes nearly impossible.

POTHOLE PARADISE: Since the road widening work began early this year, driving on  Siolim roads is like manoeuvring through an obstacle course.
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Due to the rains, numerous vehicles, including trucks and rental cars, face difficulties navigating through waterlogged areas. The present situation poses potential dangers to pedestrians as well. For motorcyclists, it’s particularly risky as they can easily lose control and suffer serious injuries.

The unfortunate truth about this picturesque village and popular tourist destination is that its roads have been in a state of disrepair for several months.

The unfortunate truth about this picturesque village and popular tourist destination is that its roads have been in a state of disrepair for several months now.

The situation goes beyond mere inconvenience, with trenches dug along the sides of the main road and haphazardly filled trenches crossing the road itself.

WHOS GOT THE MAP: Cars doing the Macarena on the streets of Siolim.
WHOS GOT THE MAP: Cars doing the Macarena on the streets of Siolim. Photo Roxanne D'silva

Potholes make every journey uncomfortable and hazardous, posing risk of vehicle damage and accidents. Tourists, anticipating a peaceful retreat, instead endure a bumpy ride that can greatly diminish their experience. For locals navigating these roads, the prospect includes not only discomfort but also risk of severe backpain or accidents.

POTHOLE PARADISE: Since the road widening work began early this year, driving on  Siolim roads is like manoeuvring through an obstacle course.
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Social media and news reports paint a grim picture, with frustrated motorists and residents demanding action. Another road in Siolim that faces same issues is at Marna, along the Duler-Marna route, where digging work of the electricity department continues. Many newspapers have highlighted the issue and locals have voiced their concerns, but with little effect.

POTHOLE PARADISE: Since the road widening work began early this year, driving on  Siolim roads is like manoeuvring through an obstacle course.
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Questions also arise about the poorly-lit route and the lack of reflective signage along the dug-up trenches, posing risks for drivers and riders alike. Both locals and tourists have faced issues on this route, yet no action has been taken.

Locals have expressed their concerns, and in the event of any accidents caused by this hazardous situation, the Siolim Civic and Consumer Forum is prepared to pursue legal action in the Consumer Court if required. They seek compensation for the injured and aim to hold accountable both, the contractor and the responsible department, for their negligence.

All we ask from the department is to take some precautionary measures to ensure that there are no casualties due to their works. To put up proper signages and illuminate the streets.

All that is expected from the department is to take some precautionary measures to ensure that there are no casualties due to their works. The best would be to put up proper signages and illuminate the streets.

The poor road conditions have a cascading effect. Tourists, who have endured a rough ride, may be discouraged to return or recommend Siolim to others. This could lead to a decline in tourist footfalls, impacting businesses that depend on tourist footfalls.

POTHOLE PARADISE: Since the road widening work began early this year, driving on  Siolim roads is like manoeuvring through an obstacle course.
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While temporary fixes have been attempted, they haven’t held up. A permanent solution is needed to address the root cause and ensure smooth rides for all. Siolim’s reputation and life of people on these roads is on notice.

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