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Elon Musk! Forget the Moon & Mars, Come to Goa

I have much admiration for the eccentricity of Elon Musk. I love the fact that he is exploring the idea of living on the Moon and other planets.

His SpaceX program has been tenaciously working to ensure that human can live on the Moon and the planet Mars.

I, however, believe that if Elon Musk wants a road terrian to practice then he should come to Goa, because I am certain the roads in some parts of the state is a perfect terrain that can compete with the terrain on the Moon and Mars.

The roads of Goa two-decades ago were a pleasure to drive on. In some pockets even now the roads are a dream but unfortunately on the main artery roads to and from most cities, the roads appear to be a ‘Khatron Ka Khiladi’ challenge. Drivers would need to take a license from the Road Transport Officer stationed on the Moon or Mars.

I do not know what is it about rains in Goa but when it pours it brings with its downpour pains on the roads for the people. The road contractors however seem to be immune to pains of and on the road.

I cannot even blame the rains because the rain is acting true to its nature. The road however is not acting true to its nature because it takes on a nature of mediocrity because the road contractor does a mediocre work.

Every monsoon, irrespective of the government in power in Goa, rains tear into the road infrastructure making it dangerous for commuters in their bikes and cars. It is quite literally a nightmare.

I fail to understand that in Goa, we have constructed some remarkable road infrastructure, yet there are many examples in the state of poor road work. Even the Atal Setu bridge which has been touted as a road infrastructure model in the state of marvel is a sheer disappointment. In the years ahead, Atal Setu bridge will see a considerable wear and tear because of what appears to be poor construction work.

If the roads are poorly constructed then the contractors responsible for the roads must be penalised and booked by the law of the land if the roads leads to accidents. Politicians that overlook the faults of the contractors must also be penalised because they are custodian of the tax-payers money and therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure people in the state get the best road infrastructure.

Every year rains lash the roads in Goa and every year the roads are riddled with potholes. Then further monies are spent in repairing the roads for them to get ripped apart in the next rains. It almost functions like a business model. Contractor makes the road. Roads are poorly done. People complain. Roads are done up by the contractor again. Not sure if anyone keeps track of the repeated government expenditure to maintain the roads.

This mediocrity is not really mediocrity but a deliberate show of mediocrity. To be brutally honest it is a systemic form of corruption. Failing to solve the problem of the roads allows for a continous flow of monies to the contractors and sometimes reportedly even to the politicians.

I don’t empathise with any government that does not have the foresight to plan road infrastructure keeping in mind the quality of the road construction and its durability; because it is not just a road, it is an infrastructure on which thousands of people commute and they commute because they have put their trust in the goverment to build safe roads.

Don’t just build a road, save a life! That should be the motto for the contractors and for the minister in the government that is responsible for the road infrastructure.

It is not important for us Goans to have city-like infrastrure to compete with a Singapore or Macau. Or even have a restaurant high-in-the-sky to compete with the Eiffel Tower. That to me is all PR optics for our state. It looks good to see and read on newspapers. But to the common woman and man in Goa we want to be able to ride our bikes and drive are cars on a road without craters. We want to know that are families are safe when on the roads in the state.

Rains are God’s way of showing us that all the tall plans of road infrastructure we have for the state are meaningless when basic road infrastructure continues to remain poor, the work mediocre and people are forced to continue to drive on potholed infested roads.

I am not willing to accept that year-on-year we face the same issue when rains hit our state and damages the road infrastructure.  Year-after-year it is the same problem and the problem only seems to be getting worse. The solutions by governments lack foresight and planning, that the only unfortunate deduction one can arrive at is that there is a systemic corruption issue in the development of road infrastruture.

If it is corruption there will be no value to life and there will be no solution.  That unfortunately is seeming to be the sad truth.

You can moot with me that not all roads are bad. And I would have to agree with you on that. But my point is why can’t all the roads that are constructed be good and pothole free. It is not that a pothole free road is an impossible task to accomplish in Goa.

I also think one of the reasons for poor roads in some parts of Goa is that the science behind the road construction might be inadequate to deal with concerns of that particular road terrain. I believe we should spend money to have good roads and not give it to a contractor with the lowest bid. That’s where the mediocrity sets in.

I think seriousness will come when Elon Musk decides to try out the terrain in Goa for practice to travel on Moon and Mars.

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Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com
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