Experts while participating in a ‘Together for Panjim’ seminar at International Centre for Goa on Sunday suggested that creating separate lanes for pedestrians, encouraging cycling and proper parking lots in Panjim can solve the problem of traffic congestion.
Alexander Beets from Amersfoort City, Netherlands, pointed out the similarities between Amersfoort and Panjim and said that Panjim can be turned into garbage-free and traffic congestion-free zone.
He informed that about 30 per cent of Netherlands is below sea-level and it is structured in a proper way to manage floods, garbage and traffic congestions.
“Amersfoort has a population of around 1,50,000 people”, he said and informed that it invites additional 1,00,00 people during the annual jazz festival, despite which there is no traffic problem.
He also suggested separate lanes for pedestrians, cycling and vehicular movement to solve traffic problem and avoid accidents.
Beets has plans of inviting Corporation of the City of Panaji officials to study Amersfoort’s traffic and garbage management.
He informed that Amersfoort has expertise and technology to tackle garbage problem and appealed to the citizens, government officials and related authorities to come together to solve this problem.
Architect Dean D’Cruz said that Panjim’s traffic problem can be solved by adopting good traffic management plans. He suggested introduction of new concepts like cycles and electric rickshaws to avoid traffic congestion and said vehicles can be stopped at the city entrance and alternate mode of transport can be provided.
Mr. D’Cruz said that Panjim is a best model city for traffic management because historically it is a planned city and informed it was not possible to have multi-storied parking in Panjim as people spend less time in the city. He said, “As Panjim is located on the banks of a river, it needs some planning and cleanliness near the river.”
Environmentalist Clinton Vaz pointed out that plastic which blocks the drainage system, results in floods in Panjim, even though the city is located on the banks of river Mandovi and has the best storm water drainages. He also said that the uprooted mangroves and garbage thrown in the mangroves also results in floods. Vaz also stated that although Panjim manages its garbage efficiently, still there are many areas where garbage exists.
Panjim’s 15 tonnes of garbage produced daily is managed by 175 composters which separate it into organic and non-organic waste.
There were a few recommendations made by experts at the seminar with regard to solid and liquid waste management, traffic management and heritage.
Recommendations for waste management included appointment of separate account head for waste management expenses, autonomy for waste management department, setting of waste management infrastructure for bulk generators, commencement of Bainguinim site, punishment for littering, urinating, spiting and ward committees on line of Delhi’s RWA / Mumbai’s ALM.
Recommendations with regard to traffic management included free parking at all city entry points to encourage parking outside city, pay parking in the city based on time (in parking lots), strict fines for all traffic violations, environment friendly transport system for public in city, making Panjim pedestrian friendly, cycle paths along the river front.
With reference to heritage, it was strongly recommended to have a heritage policy for Panjim, heritage regulations as proposed by Goa Heritage Action Group, unprotected heritage buildings to be protected by CCP, heritage gardens and bridges to be maintained by CCP, heritage zones to be taken care of, preservation of natural trees or floral heritage of Panjim and declaration of Panjim as heritage city.