Traffic jam: Cops scuttle Cong rally at Cortalim, leaders held
17th August 2018, 08:17 Hrs
the goan I network
GPCC President Girish Chodankar, Congress Mahila President Pratima Coutinho and 21 persons were detained by police on Thursday morning after they attempted to stage a rally to protest against the poor road conditions which had led to regular traffic jams for several hours along the Agassaim-Cortalim stretch of the highway.
The Congress leaders and some workers were detained after they along with 100-odd members insisted on walking on the highway from Thane Circle to Cortalim circle with flags, as a part of a peaceful march to protest against the several traffic jams which had caused severe hardship to thousands of motorists and commuters.
Sources said the protest was also aimed at the bad traffic management along the highway between Cortalim and Agassaim.
Chodankar had reportedly informed party workers to proceed to the Thane circle at Cortalim by two-wheelers to avoid further traffic congestion. Accordingly, the Congress leaders and workers gathered at the Thana Circle at about 9 am.
However, teams from Goa police and Traffic were already stationed at the site to ensure that there would be no law and order problems.
Among the police officials present at the Thane circle included SP Arvind Gawas, SP South Prabodh Shirvoikar, PI Kapil Nayak, PI Ninad Devulkar, PI Navlesh Desai, PI Filomena Costa and PI Raju Raut Desai.
Mormugao Dy Collector Mahadev Arondekar and Mamlatdar Satish Prabhu were also present to monitor the situation.
As the Congress leaders began gathering in large numbers, SP Gawas asked the Congress leaders to agitate at the Thane Circle and refrain from walking along the highway, as it would cause further traffic congestion.
However, Girish Chodankar and Pratima Coutinho refused his request and insisted that they would walk peacefully along the shoulders of the highway with flags and return as part of their protest.
The situation turned tense, as Congress leaders and workers tried to march ahead, with the police force determined to stop their rally.
The police officials also threatened a lathi charge if the situation went out of control.
As the Congress leaders and workers tried to move towards the highway, police officials summoned a police van stated at the site and detained GPCC President Girish Chodankar, Congress Mahila President Pratima Coutinho and 21 persons.
As the Congress leaders and workers were being sent into the bus, Congress workers booed the authorities and chanted slogans against the BJP.
The Congress leaders and workers were taken to the Verna police station and were later released on personal bond.
Speaking to reporters at the site, Chodankar said the Congress had agreed to provide its volunteers on a daily basis to help in guiding the traffic at Cortalim.
“The BJP government had a huge police force to arrest and detain us. If half of the force had to be utilised to control traffic movement at Cortalim, it would resolve all traffic woes along this stretch of the highway,” said Chodankar.
Congress Mahila President Pratima Coutinho said two lives had been lost in the ambulance while a woman had delivered a baby, as they were proceeding to a hospital.
“Emergency services also are struggling to cope with these traffic jams. There is a strong police force, but why are they not along the roads always,” asked Coutinho.
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