MISLEADING: It is not tooth paste of dentist who produce the brightest smiles but dental technicians like those who have set up the Sai Dental Lab in Arpora
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
And a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when we discovered that it was not Colgate White or Meswak Strong which is responsible for healthy teeth. For a Saturday following the week when a Central Government survey claimed that Goa has the highest degree of unemployment at over 34%. For a Saturday following the week when despite talk of increasing availability of jobs no action is being taken either on the government front or in the private sector. For a Saturday following the week when the pipelines supplying waters from Assanora snapped again depriving citizens of drinking water supply for the 6th time.
And a few stray thoughts on what contributes to strong sturdy and the white teeth. Do not believe in the advertisements of the various brands of Colgate or any other commercial toothpaste. No tooth paste by itself can make your teeth stronger or whiter. It is not even the dentist who can guarantee bright, strong and white teeth. If you want the best caps and crowns and most polished teeth your best bet is the dental technician. It is not the dentist in his fancy coat and attractive reception room who ensures that your teeth remain as well maintained as they were originally made by the maker.
It is not the dentist alone who is responsible for replacing a broken tooth or supplying you with an entire set of dentures. It is the dental technician who is the most important factor in the best dental services. You may go to your dentist and have your teeth examined. You may go to a dentist and get a fancy implant done which could cost you as much as Rs 25,000 per tooth. If many of the teeth that you see when they are grinning at you look so scary it is because of the lack of quality dental technicians in Goa.
Even the Goa Dental College, which has very sophisticated equipment, has a very poor dental lab. The dental lab at the Dental College is ill-equipped and poorly staffed. And as in all government hospitals, the technicians are not available in the hospital as they are busy doing their private jobs.
SAI DENTAL LAB
If mercifully there are some excellent teeth we owe it to Mrs Mohini Naik, and her two sons Rahul and Rohan Naik who run the Sai Dental Lab in Arpora. It is Mrs Mohini Naik who is the pioneer of quality dental technical care as she qualified from Mumbai which has the best facilities. Goa has very limited facilities for training dental technicians. Mrs Naik, with her vast experience, sent both her sons to Dharwad which has among the best facilities for training dental technicians. Most dentists in Goa will acknowledge as Dr Sumeet Kaisare graciously did the contribution of the first family of dental technicians comprising mummy Mohini Naik & sons Rahul and Rohan. They are pioneers not only in providing quality dental technical services but are the first to invest in new technology.
When I went to the Sai Dental Lab, I was very curious when I saw a computer looking like a mini CT Scan. I am quite used to maxi computer scans of the brain and other parts of the body. Rohan patiently explained to me the major developments that had taken place in dental care. Rohan told me that very soon we may not need moulds to make dentures.
Just as in the newspaper industry we send the pages to the printing press through email, similarly dental technicians will be able to make moulds from the CT scans of the patient’s mouth. Sumeet Kaisare however cautions that the new technology is still a baby and it will take some time to grow up. Moreover this technology can be used only in the case of some patients.
It all started with one of my upper teeth snapping from the root when I ate some very hard snack. Like all of us do, my first reaction was to go to my dentist, Dr Sumeet Kaisare. Dr Kaisare told me that the dentures were fine and the tooth which had come out could be replaced easily. He asked me to leave the dentures with him and he would give me the repaired upper denture the next day.
I asked him why it should take so much time. It was then that Dr Kaisare explained the extent of dependence of dentists on dental technicians. It is a 10 minute job but only a dental technician can do it. Dr Kaisare was good enough to give me the name and location of the Sai Dental lab. Since I had not taken a ride on the Atal Sethu Bridge or visited Arpora for a long time. I decided to take a ride to the Lab. Outward appearances can be very deceptive. I was not prepared for the wonders that would unfold in the old house sporting the sign Sai Lab. I than meet young Rohan who assured me that he could get a new tooth installed in 15 minutes.
True to his word within ten minutes the new denture was ready. I wandered into his cabin and was amazed to see the CT scan. I quickly realized that it was a special scan for the mouth. Rohan explained how moulds would not be necessary in future and a set of dentures could be prepared from the CT scan just as printing press convert the text you send them on PDF files into ready-made newspapers all folded and ready for distribution.
Apparently even the material now used for making dentures is undergoing a change. I am a little shocked that most of our dentists are chasing implants rather than hiring good technicians from Dharwad or Mumbai. This would make a world of difference both to the speed with which damage to a tooth can be repaired and quality of dental care. The Naik family comprising mummy Mohini and her sons Rahul and Rohit deserve our compliments for their commitment to excellence in dental care. Their concern for patients is so deep that they even have comfortable chairs where the patients can wait while their problem is being attended to. Mrs Mohini Naik, of course, is the quality control supervisor. Nothing moves out of the lab without her giving it a final check.
And a few stray thoughts on the report that a Central survey had concluded that Goa has the highest unemployed population in the country. According to the survey the unemployed population in Goa is over 34% as against less than 5% in many of the North Eastern States. This could be because all the unemployed of the North Eastern states are working in Goa. We find the claim that Goa has the highest number of unemployed youth hard to believe. From our own personal experience we don’t see any unemployed people in Goa. Even the illiterate uneducated migrants get a job immediately in Goa.
I happen to live in Dempo Bhat which is a mini Kathmandu. There are new Nepalis coming in to the colony every day as due to word of mouth people know that they can get jobs easily. The cousin of my maid who was tall and well build decided to try her luck in Goa. Within 24 hours she had found a job as a security checker at the Caculo Mall on a salary of Rs 10,000. Never mind that she did not know any language other than Nepali. Never mind that she would not have seen a pistol or a AK 47 in her life.
All that mattered was that she was tall and looked capable of dealing with people who might be smuggling things in or out of the mall. I subsequently discovered that the majority of the menial employees both at the Caculo Mall and the Gaspar Dias Club were Nepalis whose job was to wash large containers for 12 hours a day. When I had gone to attend a PIB party during IFFI, I crossed the barrier and went to the new Ritz Hotel at the Panjim Gymkhana. All the employees were either from Assam or Orissa. It is difficult to believe that in a state where even freshly arrived migrants can get jobs at a minimum of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000, there can be an unemployment rate of 34%.
Admittedly a lot of Goans may be under-employed. This is because Goan businessmen pay very badly. Moreover even the MNCs and the pharma companies in Goa are reluctant to hire Goans as they feel they don’t respect a work ethics. That if you hire a Goan he will disappear every week for two days to attend a fest or marriage or jatra. The quality of education is also not particularly satisfactory.
But the real reason why the Central Government survey must have concluded that the unemployment rate is highest in Goa is because most Goans are not interested in private sector jobs. If you considered only government jobs than the rate of unemployment would be 90% and not 34%. There is something wrong with the methodology used for conducting the survey. If willing to work at any reasonable salary, which might not be very high, it is not difficult to get a job in Goa. But Goans will always find it difficult as they are very choosy and they will not do manual jobs or even jobs that they think are not consistent with their sense of dignity.
Many Goans are not interested in the traditional jobs that their parents and grandparents were engaged in. Which is why there are no coconut pluckers or toddy tappers or even linesman for the electricity and telecom departments. There was a whole community of barbers in Mala who were referred to as Barberrias. The entire community has vanished and all the barbers we come across are for some reason from the Muslims community in UP.
In any case there are no saloons any longer. There are only beauty parlors with girls from the North East. The claim that the unemployment rate in Goa is over 34% could be valid only if we are talking about Goans wanting government jobs.
And a few stray thoughts on neither the government nor the private sector doing anything to generate job opportunities in Goa. An example is the Tuem Industrial Estate which was formally inaugurated ten years ago. Plots were allotted to entrepreneurs and Rs 10 crores has been invested. But the businessmen, who had set up industrial units in Tuem, still do not have either water supply or power. The projects in this estate were expected to generate over 500 jobs.
The premier industrial estate Verna, has an acute shortage of water and power. No company in the industrial estate can function without a backup of generators. For about a decade there was some relief when Dattaraj Salgaocar with Reliance set up a Naphtha based power plant. But with the increasing cost of Naphtha, it had to be closed down. The suspension of mining led to the loss of over a lakh of jobs. No steps have been taken to create alternate employment opportunities.
The real problem is that even private companies prefer outsiders to Goans. Not only because they are more hard working but because they are better qualified. Goans have to acquire the skills that are in demand. They have to realize that unlike government jobs business organizations are not charitable institutions and will extract the maximum amount of work from you. Government jobs are a very eagerly sought option.
Here again when the Goa Public Service Commission conducted exams for accountants and Mamladars, very few passed the online exam. The various departments decided to recruit a large number of youth from their constituency as part of the strategy to retain their vote banks. Unfortunately, when Pramod Sawant became the Chief Minister he decided that a separate state level commission would be set up to fill vacancies in all government departments collectively. The committee has been set up and an IAS officer has been appointed to head it. But recruitment according to the CM, will have to wait till May as the government has no money to pay the new employees.
ZUARI BRIDGE DELAYED
Similarly the work on the Zuari bridge and the expansion of the highways is going slow because there is no money. There are any number of tourism colleges. The majority of them are not recognized. Since jobs in hospitality involve long hours Goans are not interested in joining these organizations. Goans should prepare for jobs well in advance. The ideal example is the Mopa airport which will be ready in about three years. It will require 20,000 employees both on the technical side and for ground handling. The government should ask the contractor to set up training facilities so that Goans can get the jobs or the government itself can set up Aeronautical Engineering degree and diploma institutes to prepare Goans for jobs at Mopa.
And a last stray thought on why water pipes keep bursting at the same places again and again. Admittedly the pipes are very old and should have been replaced long ago. But that is not the only problem. The primary cause for the repeated break down of pipelines is the breakdown in power and fluctuations. When the power breaks down naturally the pumps will stop working. When the power comes back there is backlash which increases the pressure at the points which are weak or have been repaired repeatedly. It is a question of the chicken and the egg. We still cannot decide whether it is breakages of pipes which create water shortage or the breakdown of power. which leads to pipes breaking.