Although Calangute has been the most popular tourist destination in Goa for over four decades, it has been largely neglected as far as traffic arrangements go.
But things have been changing rapidly ever since the new BJP government came to power in March.
Infrastructure has since become the top priority, with a focus on improving the road network and making it easier for both vehicles and pedestrians who visit the beachside resort village. After years of neglect, the Goa police opened a traffic cell in Calangute in November, and finally, vehicles parked in no-parking areas have started being fined.
Parrikar inaugurated the traffic cell office at the Poriat ground.
The first spot to receive the new government's attention was the main entrance to the Calangute beach, with chief minister Manohar Parrikar laying the foundation stone for the beautification of the 'Calangute promenade' on June 18 last year.
The actual work, though, started only in November. TOI has reliably learned that various bottlenecks in receiving permissions delayed the work.
Also in November, besides work on the promenade and the traffic cell office, Parrikar also inaugurated the widening of the Baga road, which was largely completed before Christmas, with a new footpath for pedestrians.
Simultaneously, authorities also developed a new parking lot on 8,000 sq m of land.
By December, the GSIDC had started work on widening of the road from the Bhodko Vhod junction on the Calangute-Mapusa road to Baga via the Calangute-Arpora road.
In the meantime, roads in Gauravaddo were also widened and hot-mixed.
Temporary parking arrangements were also made in Baga on 10 acres of land belonging to the GTDC, and also in front of the St Alex church at the entrance of Calangute.
These will subsequently be made permanent parking spots.
Local MLA Michael Lobo and panch Joseph Sequeira promptly blamed the Congress for neglecting Calangute.
Another major work in the pipeline for Calangute is the new bus-stand-cum-taxi-stand-cum-market complex at Bhodko Vhod junction to ease traffic congestion within Calangute.
One reason for the congestion is the hundreds of rent-a-bike two-wheelers and taxis which park themselves on the roads even though they're not supposed to do so.
That is expected to change once the new complex is ready in about two years time, Lobo said.
Work on the new bridge at Arpora is yet to start, although PWD Minister Ramakrishna Dhavlikar had visited the spot in November and told TOI that tenders for it would be issued soon.
The bridge, which only permits one vehicle to cross at a time, is a major bottleneck on the Calangute-Anjuna road, especially when the Saturday nigh market is on.
Stakeholders like hoteliers say that traffic woes could have been avoided with a bit of planning and foresight, pointing out that officially, Calangute is still a village, although for practical purposes, it's a city and needs to be treated as one with urban facilities.
The problem, say residents, is that nobody expected it to become so developed and tourism to grow to such an extent. [TOI]