LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR THE ISSUE DATED 30TH NOVEMBER 2019

FIGHT TOGETHER! As part of their awareness drive the Mhadai Bachao Andolan had an awareness meeting at Valpoi on November 28, 2019. Upping the ante, the MBA has planned to make every MLA reveal their stand on the contentious Mhadei river issue. MBA co-convenor Subhash Velingkar said panchayats should also come forward and adopt resolutions to protect Mhadei river. Around 161 organisations have now extended their support to the movement, and if this issue is not taken seriously by the BJP government then the movement will ensure their MLAs will be defeated in the next polls, Velingkar added. Co-convener Elvis Gomes also spoke, accusing Union minister Prakash Javadekar of working in the interests of his party only. Another speaker, Arvind Bhatikar pointed out that future generations of Goa will have to face dire consequences if the Mhadei river water is diverted

DON’T FAKE OUTRAGE

THE top leaders of the BJP, to temporarily cool down the tempers of all the Opposition leaders have reportedly barred their controversial MP Pragya Singh Thakur from attending its Parliamentary party meeting, plus have removed her from the consultative committee on defense but have still not expelled her for calling Mahatma Gandhi’s assassinator, Nathuram Godse a true patriot right inside Parliament. But then why will they expel her? When the BJP leaders themselves have deliberately given her the ticket, have got her elected, sent her in Parliament on a special mission, to openly speak in favour of one-community ‘Dadagiri’/supremacy despite of knowing the fact that she’s an accused in the Malegao bomb blast case and is still facing terror charges but is currently out on bail on health grounds? Yes, the reason why the BJP leaders keep promoting such hate-spreading third-grade controversial leaders like Yogi Adityanath, Sakshi Maharaj, Pragya Singh Thakur etc. is because their party inwardly is indeed a 100% communal party and which believes indulging in appeasement of the majority community using the services of such leaders to survive in Indian politics.
I therefore think that if the top leaders of the BJP really want to display their patriotism or show their respect for all our freedom-fighters then they should immediately expel known controversial leaders like Pragya Singh Thakur for openly glorifying and referring Mahatma Gandhi’s murderer, Nathuram Godse as a true nationalist-patriot every now and then to garner some cheap publicity for herself and the BJP.
Yes, referring to the murderer of our great world-famous leader, Mahatma Gandhi as a patriot is like calling all the terrorists/extremists of today freedom-fighters which is just unacceptable in a free, liberal and secular country like India. Hope better sense prevails. Time to act to show real patriotism. Now, let’s see which political party is really secular and which is rabid communal in our country… Over to the BJP leaders…
— Jerry Fernandes, Saligao

GOVERNOR OR RUBBER STAMP?
A Governor as the constitutional head has to be the custodian of the entire State and ensure its best interests at all times. He cannot act as a stooge or agent of the political party in power at the Centre in forming and dislodging governments while the fundamentals of democracy and righteousness are deceitfully trampled upon.
In recent times we have seen once too often the Governors acting at the diktats from the headquarters of the ruling party and this is absolutely outrageous. Discretionary powers have to be exercised very judiciously and a Governor cannot seek shelter under the immunity he enjoys by law.
The recent very sordid manner in which the Maharashtra Governor deviously burning the midnight oil to secretly and swiftly early morning swear in the Chief Minister and his Deputy was very high-handed.
It’s high time the nation debates on the manner in which Governors are appointed and whether we need ornamental puppet Governors needlessly burdening the taxpayer. Governors cannot end up being mere rubber stamps as they constitutionally have a major role to play in overseeing that the State is well administered strictly in accordance with law. They should be appointed on merit as the Raj Bhavans cannot end up being dens for politricking and shelter homes to rehabilitate the deadwood of the ruling political party. After all, do we really need a “spare wheel” at the state level?
— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

TAKE A STAND
Media trials declare a person innocent or guilty before or after a trial! Courts normally forbid the same before a verdict.
In democracies, the Assembly is the place where State matters are deliberated. However, like the media trial, the MLA’s in Goa ‘pronounce’ verdicts out of the Assembly in the media! This way they are able to make themselves out to be heroes and the activists as enemies.
The Siolim MLA is not the first in this Govt. to speak of rampant drug abuse in coastal areas along with rave parties. The CM rubbishes this and does that becomes a fact? No one is responsible for Nu Shi entering Goa waters. Every irregularity is ‘wiped’ clean by mere utterances before the media!
The CM took to social media to show how one MLA increased his assets 500 or 600 times whilst in power! Why this public statement? Why no case for accruing assets beyond ones income is filed? It seems that all pertinent and critical issues are ‘cleared’ by merely stating that they do not exist or exist but no action! The best part is that all people seem to be quite agreeable to this ‘media’ governance?!
Drugs sale in Goa, Mhadei water diversion by Karnataka, hijacking of Goan Rivers, human rights violation and coal transport are the present key issues in Goa. All these have been literally wiped away as being non-existent by mere statements by the elected Govt. ministers!
Recently, at the IFFI opening, protesters were arbitrarily, against their rights, removed from public areas. Many were supporters of political parties. It is imperative that they take up the matter in court, otherwise it can only get worse. Democracy must ensure our right to dissent peacefully.
The Govt. is treating the Mhadei water diversion very casually — as casually as the drugs menace. It is time that all villages make a scroll of ‘Honour’ which must be hung up in all villages. The press must also publish the updated versions regularly. roads or memorials are built in their name. Each MLA must be asked a specific question — Is the Mhadei water diversion a threat to Goa? If they say ‘No’, then we write down the same. If they say yes, we write so, and ask what action they are going to take and when? They cannot remain with no action plan. People will then come to know what their calibre is and the scroll will be there at the next election.
If the water is critical, they have to be prepared to fast outside Delhi PM’s office or resign en masse: there is no other alternative. The people need to know which side of the fence each elected person stands. Accordingly, he must then act.
— R Fernandes, Margao

COMPENSATE MARIVEL FISHERMEN
Those deputed by the government to watch the stranded Nalini are posted day and night with no equipment, no chairs and they sleep on cardboard boxes. They are not provided with meals and even worse, no toilets are available. They depend on locals for all necessities, including access to toilets in their houses. If a disaster does occur they don’t even have masks to save themselves. Recently newspapers reported that reimbursement would be provided as per their positions after submission of bills. The staff have been using facilities like toilets, eating whatever food was available etc but it is not possible to get bills. They say they would prefer the government to pay a lumpsum amount equally to all the members.
The Marivel fishermen have also requested that they be compensated for for the loss of their livelihood due to the restrictions imposed on fishing. This is equivalent to a natural disaster in many ways and considering CM Pramod Sawant has given the Dutch firm a month to clear Nalini, the fishermen will not be able to resume work any time soon.
Is the government listening?
— Stephen Dias, Dona Paula

IFFI OR FROZEN
IFFI is a nightmare for Goans every year. We just sigh and go out of way to avoid Panjim city during IFFI, hoping it will end soon. The only good thing about it is that the main roads get spruced up on the surface (not that the repairs last long). This year there was another annoyance. IFFI spread like a virus to Porvorim which means kids and adults alike could not see Frozen 2 unless they wanted to brave the rats in Samrat and Ashok. Why are Goans always the losers?
— Blaise Dias, Panaji

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