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Clarity returns but sadness prevails

Clarity returns but sadness prevails

19 May 2017 No comment 21 hits

Margao: Mixed feelings of anguish, anxiety, despair and despondency were palpable in Sanvordem on Friday as villagers waited with bated breath to get periodic updates of the search and rescue operations.

While it was fear, chaos and confusion that reigned the minds of the villagers soon after the disaster struck on Thursday evening - as none could provide any clarity over the number and identity of persons feared missing - some sense of order was restored on Friday, as realization dawned that the number of fatalities in the disaster wouldn't as high as was initially presumed.

Nevertheless, one couldn't overlook the sense of resentment among the villagers over the "inaction" of the authorities in taking proactive steps to prevent such disasters. "This was a disaster waiting to happen. The authorities cannot escape the blame for this calamity, as they allowed the bridge to exist in such a dangerous situation for so many years. Does the government have to wait for lives to be lost every time before it starts taking any action?" said Rohan Naik, echoing the sentiments of the villagers.

The footbridge was constructed in the early 1990s alongside the now unused old RCC bridge so as to facilitate the movement of pedestrians, as walking across the RCC bridge amid heavy mining traffic had made life difficult for pedestrians. A part of the span of the footbridge from the Curchorem end had collapsed years ago, and since then, it was rendered unusable for pedestrians. The construction of the new bridge with sidewalks for pedestrians meant that the old footbridge was no longer required. While the villagers were aware of the perilous condition of the footbridge and therefore avoided going anywhere near it, migrant labourers would use the footbridge mainly for drying clothes.

"Had the authorities been prompt and responsible enough to demolish the footbridge, this disaster could have been averted," Rohan reasoned, a sense of anguish writ large on his face.

In the past, it was informed, the villagers used to take this footbridge for Ganesh visarjan procession during Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

Speaking to REPORTERS, Girish Naik of the Sanvordem Ganeshotsav Mandal, said, "Every year, we take all precautions to ensure that nobody uses this footbridge for Ganapati visarjan procession. In the absence of any signboards or barricading, we ourselves erect temporary barricades and warn people against using the footbridge ," Girish says.

Source: Clarity returns but sadness prevails

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