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Floriano's Sunday Ramblings-19 [Of Expressways - Highways & Road Sense]

Floriano’s Sunday Ramblings-19 [Of Expressways - Highways & Road Sense]

Oh! to be in Goa…. was the first thing that escaped from my clenched teeth with strained right arm from clinging to the handle and a sore behind from unbearable bumps, when we hit a fairly decent and crater-free road after our decent from the ‘Chorla Ghat’, a road trip me and a friend of mine embarked upon to go to Hubli in Karnataka via Karwar and back to Belgaum via the four lane express highway and onwards to Goa via the most picturesque ‘Chorla Ghat’. And that is when, I especially, appreciated our Goa’s roads when I have been cribbing like a cranky crab all the while about our roads not being up to the mark. But this certainly does not give Sudin Davlikar, the PWD Minister, the right to go to sleep with a sigh of relief.

And should NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Agency] of the U. S. of A. select me for a trip to the MOON to fun-frolic on the moonscape, I will certainly refuse the offer, to tell them that I have experienced far better terrain than the moonscape could offer in zero gravity, right here in my own country, the stretch of road on the Chorla Ghat, which could be the envy of the extra-terrestrial beings, if any, on the moon. For, whoever did the metalling of those kilometers after kilometers long stretches of the road on this Ghat, they never knew or perhaps forgot that there was something called the ‘asphalt’ that goes into the road metalling. Most likely, and as a routine, the money went into the deep pockets rather than into the roads.

And I was all set to experience my first dirve on the Expressway that BJP’s Vajpayee has made happen – ‘The Golden Quadrilateral’ running upto Belgaum from Hubli. I must say that I was impressed. But for people who have been using bullock carts and bicycles for generations, the express-way is but a plaything. They ride/drive on the opposite side on the lanes, without a care in the world, and perhaps expecting the drivers of vehicle making 100 plus on the milo-meters to give them the right of way. Our driver would have been charged for man-slaughter/s if we did not caution him enough to reduce speed. At worst, we seated in the back seat of the Qualis were pumping the non existent brake pedals and trying to tear off the front seat cover thinking it was the steering wheel. At this rate, half of our standing army will have to be stationed at the entire length of the quadrilateral when completed, if India wants to compete with China on population growth. Otherwise, that dream will be dashed to ashes through millions of cremations and in the bargain we losing our forest cover. Indeed, it takes wood to cremate corpses, doen’t it??

And while on this quadrilateral, my mind came a wandering to our sweet Goan roads where our government has given us four lane highways but forgot to tell us that, of the two lanes on any one side, the right-hand side lane is the ‘fast’ lane. That drivers must use the right lane only to overtake, that too showing the right side signal, and go right back to the left lane after overtaking, again showing the left signal. But no! That does not happen. Heavy trucks and bullock-cart-slow vehicles prefer to sit on the right lane and expect the one behind to overtake on the left, deaf to the honking and flashing of the full-beams to attract their attention. The other day, when I had this soft-drink van sitting on the right lane at Porvorim, I had to overtake it on the left and flag him down to give the driver a good dressing down. But then, I had no choice but to listen to him telling me “ “But you have the road on the left open. Why can’t you overtake?” And to that, I had to shout at him “WHICH PIG OF AN RTO GAVE YOU YOUR DRIVING LICENCE?” I guess every one of them is a PIG, big or small. And we saw the PIG of the highest order of them all, pasted all over the full pages of newspapers on his birthday, the other day – Goa’s Minister for Public Transport. I don’t think these PIGS [RTOs, the Traffic cops] know the ROR [Rules of the Road] themselves. And I wonder if our Ministerial PIGs do themselves know about this as I see red-beaconed cars zooming past, overtaking from the left. And they want to give us more EXPRESSWAYS!.

And I want to be my usual impertinent self this once, again, to say this to our Chief Minister himself. And this should be recognized as me SHOUTING at the top of my voice and having put my tonsils to full power:

“ HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER, MR. PRATAPSING RAOJI RANE, .. SIR !! , YOU LISTEN TO ME. PLEASE INSTRUCT YOUR DRIVER NOT TO OVERTAKE FROM THE LEFT. DO YOU HEAR???? YOU MUST LEAD BY EXAMPLE. AND WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, PLEASE DO ME ANOTHER FAVOUR . USE SOME OF THOSE THOUSANDS OF RUPEES FROM THE CRORES YOU ARE POCKETTING, TO PUT FULL PAGE ADS IN THE NEWSPAPERS TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ON THE USE OF THE ROADS, HIGHWAYS AND EXPRESSWAYS. AND, AT THE SAME TIME, SKIN YOUR PIG RTOs AND THE TRAFFIC COPS FOR ONCE, AND DRY THEIR BRIBE TAKING HIDES ON THE PARAPETS OF THE MANDOVI BRIDGES FOR ALL TO SEE. IF YOU SHOULD FEEL IMPOTENT TO DO THAT, THEN KINDLY HAND-OVER THE HOME PORTFOLIO YOU ARE SITTING ON, TO ME, FOR JUST A WEEK, AND I SHALL SHOW YOU THE WAY.

End
LIFE LINE
Goa Su-Raj Party has been in existence since 31/08/2000.

AN APPEAL
DEAR GOANS WORLDWIDE,

ONLY YOUR EXTENDED HANDS CAN STOP THE SLIDE OF OUR BEAUTIFUL GOA INTO THE OBSCURE..

DONATE TO GOA SU-RAJ PARTY [GSRP]
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ADDRESS:383A PIRAZONA MOIRA BARDEZ GOA-403507.
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