Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s promise to build a four-lane highway between Cuncolim and Navelim and the long-pending construction of the Cuncolim bypass came to haunt the authorities on Monday after a fish-laden truck landed into a rivulet at accident-prone Uskinibandh, Cuncolim in the wee hours of the day.
Fortunately, the truck driver escaped with minor bruises and the company transporting the fish from Kerala to Maharashtra was on the job to lift the ill-fated truck vehicle from the rivulet.
The incident, however, only brought to the fore the risk posed to heavy traffic on the National Highway 66 between Uskinibandh and Panzorconne for want of a four-lane road.
The accident has further raised questions over the fate of the Cuncolim bypass proposed over a decade and a half ago but has not materialized to date.
Gadkari announces road between Navelim and Cuncolim
A couple of months ago, Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari had raised hopes for the construction of a four-lane road between Navelim and Cuncolim at a cost of over Rs 200 crore. The four-lane road was supposed to get all the amenities, including paved pedestrian ways etc.
The ground reality, however, remains unchanged. The proposed four-lane road is yet to see the light of the day. And, if PWD sources are to be believed, the four-lane road will become a reality only when the proposal is included in the annual plan of the Union government.
PWD says proposal sent to Union govt
Sources in the PWD informed that the department has already forwarded the four-lane proposal to the Centre for inclusion in the annual plan.
“Once the proposal is included in the annual plan, the PWD will send the estimated cost of the project to the Centre for sanction. The project will be tendered after it gets the sanction,” a senior PWD official told The Goan.
On the long-pending Cuncolim bypass, officials pointed out that the PWD has proposed land acquisition on the stretch of the Cuncolim bypass between Uskinibandh, Cuncolim and the Balli Primary Health Centre.
“Once the land acquisition plan finds a mention in the annual plan of the Centre, the work of preparing estimates will begin before the estimates are forwarded,” he added.
To a question, a PWD, NH official the department has decided to pursue the Cuncolim bypass alignment between the Uskinibandh-Balli PHC stretch given that a portion of the land along the Panzorconne stretch stands already acquired and in possession of the National highway.
The early Monday morning accident once again triggered outrage amongst the motorists, with citizens travelling on the accident-prone road at Uskinibandh demanding to know why the State government and Centre are not taking up the Cuncolim bypass road on priority.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Naik said the government has not moved with alacrity to build the Cuncolim bypass or to widen the existing road into a four-lane when several fatal accidents have taken place on the Uskinibandh-Panzorconne road in recent years.
While the PWD officials later descended on the culvert to barricade the damaged portion, locals have demanded that the State government take up the four-laning of the road on priority and save the lives of the motorists.