Solve Divar ferry issue once and for all

Through the Citizen Herald column I would like to draw the attention of Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant, and Member of Parliament Shripad Naik, Sarpanchas of Sao Matias and Goltim-Navelim-Piedade Village Panchayats regarding the pathetic plight of Diwadkars.

The islanders have been facing ferry breakdowns almost every alternate day on the Divar-Old Goa and Divar-Sao Pedro routes, where there are four ferries plying.

When there is a breakdown, the Diwadkars have to adjust with only one ferry on each route, for which the islanders especially those with the four-wheelers, have to wait in queues for hours to cross the island as the ferry fills up with two-wheelers.

As there is no alternative for the islanders, school and college students also suffer as they reach late to schools or colleges. Every alternate day, there is a ferry breakdown or a ferry is taken from the route to serve other routes.

Besides, chaotic scenes are a frequent occurrence on the ferry ramps. Ferries have crossed the river with vehicles half in the ferry and half on the ramp putting lives at risk. Often four-wheelers are not allowed to come out of the ferry as two-wheelers have rushed in before the four-wheelers can move out.

Ours is the only island in Goa without a bridge and no other connectivity. My question to the River Navigation Minister, River Navigation Department Officer In-Charge, staff on duty, what is the permanent solution for the breakdowns? Why are we deprived of our right to have good services?

Will the Minister, Officer take up the matter seriously in the public interest as soon as possible and provide us good services, by keeping a ferry on stand by, on both routes, so that it can be replaced immediately, instead of getting it form Betim Dockyard?

Secondly, by asking the staff on duty to report when and why the ferry is broken down, or by having a good technical staff on duty, which can handle and repair the ferry by themselves, whenever there is a breakdown.

I appeal to all Diwadkars to come forward to solve the issue by calling the sarpanchas of both the panchayats and urging them to pass a resolution to submit a memorandum of the Chief Minister, RND Minister and North Goa MP so that our ferry issue is solved once and for all. [H]