Army applicants forced to sleep on Ponda footpaths, temple premises

Ponda: They want to serve the nation but their plight at Ponda is deplorable. Hundreds of youngsters have come to the Military Camp, Curti for the ongoing army recruitment drive. However, in the absence of accommodation and toilet facilities, they have been forced to sleep on footpaths and even in Hanuman temple premises in Ponda. Since Sunday, Ponda locals have been calling on the authorities to look into the matter of these youth defecating in the open as well as the resulting garbage strewn across public spaces.

On this note, the Hanuman Temple Committee has demanded that that the Chief Minister ensures that accommodation and toilet facilities be provided to the youth at the Government Sports Complex, Ponda.

Ankush Naik, the vice president of the Varkhandem Hanuman Temple Committee further added that devotees, especially women, are facing difficulty in entering the temple premises due to the presence of the youth outside.
“We had complained to the Police to drive them out of temple premises but despite police action, they returns,” he said, while lamenting that the devotees can’t take walk around the temple as well.

Locals also pondered as to why hotels in the area cannot accommodate the youth given that every alternate year, these recruitment drives take place.
The youth who arrived on December 8, will remain in Ponda till December 14. Some of the army applicants, speaking to Herald, rued the fact that they are not getting any accommodations in hotels nearby. “There are very few hotels and rooms in Ponda, which are full. Some of the hotel prices are not affordable while others are giving only to married couples,” said one such youngster.

Goan Road Safety Convenor Dilip Naik said it is not right on the government’s path to allow the country’s future ‘jawans’ to stay in such terrible circumstances and questioned if this was ‘Swachh Bharat’. He also agreed with the temple committee’s demand for the youth to be shifted to the government sports complex in Ponda given that there are almost a thousand of youngsters in need of accommodation and toilet facilities. [H]