SAY NO TO DRUGS: Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte lighted the traditional lamp to mark the inauguration of the “Anti Drugs Awareness Programme” at Porvorim on June 27, 2018. Also present were ZP Member, Gupesh Naik, Sarpanch, Swapnil Chodankar, Director SCERT, Nagraj Honneker, SP (ANC), Shri Umesh Gaonkar and others


Casinos are a social menace corroding Goa’s fabric. Other states smartly kept them at bay, while only Goa has permitted both land casinos as well as offshore ones. With political blessings they are operating unmonitored and unregulated, with even the required gaming commissioner not in place.
As the leader of the Opposition, Manohar Parrikar had vociferously branded casinos as a “social evil” and “dens of vice.” While spearheading the agitation against casinos, he had vowed to throw them all out if the BJP came to power. But in a dramatic u-turn in March 2012 after usurping power, the BJP went all out to promote, shield and increase the number of casinos.
Goa was known as a tourism destination without being converted into a Las Vegas! It is due to the lack of vision and sheer greed of those in power that Goa’s tourism industry is today in shambles and dire straits, with quality and high end tourists keeping away from venturing in to what was once paradise of the East.
Branding the revenue from casinos “bad” money, Manohar Parrikar had declared in the Goa Legislative Assembly that casinos’ revenue would be kept in a separate account and utilised only on homes for the aged and those suffering from Alzheimer’s! Parrikar firmly stated, “We don’t want to use that money to buy computers for students. We don’t need that money in the budget.”
Addressing the Assembly on August 7, 2012, Manohar Parrikar had also categorically and confidently stated that he did not require revenue from casinos for Goa’s developmental works. On Oct 10, 2013, he assured the Assembly that all casinos would be removed from river Mandovi by Sept 2015.
It cannot be the government’s burden to unearth a location for the casinos to relocate. With the tacit support of the government against all contravention of law the casinos continue to thrive on the river Mandovi till today. Does the government have to be told the definition of off-shore?
Ironically, the RSS which sets the agenda for the BJP is known to be against gambling, but their silence on casinos is deafening. The BJP has fallen in passionate love with the casino brigade who are now getting the government’s abundant patronage and overwhelming support. For the dismal number of jobs created for Goan by casinos, the overall damage that is being inflicted to the state is irreversible.
While the BP is feasting with the abundant moolah flowing from casinos, Goa has sadly become the country’s gambling hub with allied vices of prostitution and narcotic trade flourishing alongside, while the crime rate continues to rise. For Goa to remain afloat, the casinos must sink. And the faster it happens, the better for Goa and Goans.
— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar
THOUGH Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making tall claims about the NDA government’s achievements in the past four years, for the common man, his government has proved to be an abject failure. Demonetisation not only caused great suffering to people, with at least 100 people having lost their lives while standing in queues due to exhaustion or skirmishes, but no black money has been unearthed and the introduction of `2000 notes instead of `1000 has only made later black money accumulation double in volume.
Introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) affected small time businesses who are faced with extinction, being unable to cope up with the high rates of taxation.
Making the Aadhaar card mandatory for linking to bank accounts as well as with mobile numbers was an affront to the people of India who were held hostage to this draconian move, which infringed on the original spirit that the Aadhaar in itself would not to be mandatory.
The performance of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) was another stark example of the incompetence of the government, with almost all PSBs having incurred losses with Non Performing Assets (NPAs), almost to the tune of 11%. In comparison, professionally managed private banks have all maintained profitability. In such low interest rate regimes, if the PSBs could not maintain profitability, then their managements have failed miserably. These same PSBs had very positive profit and loss accounts under the UPA regime. Also almost all the Public Sector Units (PSUs) show a declining trend in profitability in the past four years.
Also, since 2014, the price of oil has been comparatively low (each barrel at $40 to $45, as compared to above $100 during the UPA regime). However, it is a travesty that prices of petrol and diesel have become almost `80 and `70 respectively now in the market, mainly due to levy of almost 100% taxes and not due to the current prices of crude which are now at $75 to $80 per barrel.
It should also be highlighted here that when bank interest rates were lowered to 6.5 – 7.0%, most people invested in mutual funds, but it is a travesty that even mutual funds now have been under-performing due in particular to the fall in the valuations of mid-cap stocks. To add to this burden, the finance minister imposed a tax of 10% on dividends being paid to investors.
To cap it all the prices of essential commodities especially vegetables, cereals, pulses and fruits have shot up during the BJP’s government’s rule in the Centre.
— Elvidio Miranda, Panjim
This is with reference to the article” Lohia- The Che Guevara of Non-Violence,” in the “Goan Observer”(June 16-22, 2018). The article rightly highlights the unrestrainable political-activist and revolutionary mind of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia who, without a second thought, would immerse himself into struggles, against injustice and oppressions, a typical manifestation of genuine Socialistic philosophy. And he suffered, often grievously, the inevitable consequences that followed. As a prominent freedom fighter against the ruthless British Colonial Master, Dr Lohia suffered, for example, long inhuman prison-term in Lahore jail.
In fact, as is well known, Dr Lohia came to Goa, at the invitation of his friend Dr Julio Menezes of Assolna, to rest and recuperate, from weakness and poor health, caused by the cruelty he was subjected to, in the prison. Despite these historical facts, it has become a propagandist-fashion, to distort them, beyond recognition. The introduction to the above mentioned article, is a classic example of such distortions.
Was Dr Lohia really “so shocked by the Portuguese oppression” in Goa (i.e. the censor of freedom of expression), when he, along with hundreds (thousands?) of his fellow- Indians suffered and were suffering still, inhuman treatment, at the hands of his/ their Colonial Master — the British?! Or was it his “unrestrainable political-activist, revolutionary mind” that goaded him to “defy the Portuguese”? To assert the contrary, would amount to projecting Dr Lohia as a hypocrite!
There is no doubt that Dr Lohia, accompanied by Dr Julio Menezes, came to the, now named ‘Lohia Maidan’ on June 18, 1946, where some people had gathered to hear him speak. But did he “manage” to speak ?
1. Let us “listen” to the freedom-fighter “Gomant Vishant” awardee, Padma Shri Lambert Mascarenhas. In his book: “The Greater Tragedy” he reports: “Lohia was prevented by the (Portuguese) police, from addressing the gathering and was marched to the Police Station.” Writing further, Mr. Mascarenhas notes: “…he (Dr Lohia) then passed to (then) young V N Lawande who was standing by his side… the written message… that he had brought with him…(but)… the paper was snatched from his (Lawande’s) hand by the police…”
2. Freedom fighter Berta Menezes Braganca (niece of T B da Cunha) writes in her book “Landmarks in My Time”(1992): “… they (Portuguese police) arrested Dr.Lohia, whisked him across the border and banned his re-entry into Goa.”
3. Mr. Prabhakar Sinari, one of the main “ warriors” of Azad Gomant Dal, who suffered jail-term for his anti-Portuguese activities, says in a long interview to “Goan Observer”(June 18-24, 2016), among other things: “The moment Dr Lohia started speaking, he was arrested by the police, who had turned up at the venue in large numbers.” Mr. Sinari further adds that “… they had him (Dr Lohia) taken to the border and released …because they (Portuguese police) could not detain him in prison indefinitely… because Dr Lohia was a citizen of India.”
It is necessary to point out Mr. Sinari’s mistake when he says that ‘Lohia was a citizen of India’. Dr Lohia, like every Indian, (unlike Goans who were “citizens” of Portugal), was a “subject” of the British Crown, until one day prior to India’s Independence, which was on August 15, 1947 and Dr Lohia’s non-addressed “address,” was on June 18, 1946 i.e. more than a year earlier!
It is crystal clear that Dr Lohia did not ”… give a clarion call to Goans, ” did NOT make any speech, because he was prevented from uttering even a word! In the above mentioned introduction to the said article, the writer goes further in her/his fertile imagination and says “… he raised the Indian National Flag…”!!
Adv. Harshvardan Bhatkuly wrote in the” Herald” of 17th. June, 2014: “I scanned all the major newspapers of those days, there was not a whisper about what we know today as … Goa Revolution Day.”
Is it necessary to state that the statue erected at the venue named “Lohia Maidan”, depicting Dr Lohia making a speech is shameful LIE, among other lies, a vulgar joke on Goans!
— Sergio Carvalho, Mapusa

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