LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR THE ISSUE DATED 15TH AUGUST 2020

RESTART OF MINING; Chandrakant Gawas (Member of Managing Committee and Treasurer, GCCI) along with R.S. Kamat (Director General), and A.K. Banerjee (director,) called on Dr. Pramod Sawant, (Chief Minister) at his office to discuss mining related issues faced by the stakeholders. During the meeting Gawas requested the Chief Minister to call for a meeting of stakeholders under the aegis of Director, Mines & Geology, in presence of Advocate General for sorting out issues before restarting of mining!

COLLEGE START UP

GOA University has declared all colleges will commence from the academic year starting September 1, 2020. Before opening up have all the associated risks been evaluated? There is a severe shortage of both testing and beds at the moment and the government is forced to advice home isolation for Covid-19 positive cases.
The procedure followed world wide is: Test, if positive do contact tracing with testing. In a school/college of just 40 students if anyone tests positive the remaining 39, plus teacher, plus friends of the student and passengers buses, other transportation, etc, will have to be tested. Now consider if there are 10, 20 or 30 positive cases each from a different school/class: Will the government be able to handle it?
In the US some 97,000 students tested positive within a week of opening schools! Haste makes waste. We must look ourselves in the eyes first: What are we capable of? What are our strengths? The present situation says we are lacking most severely: Let us not put on a show of bravado and then pass the buck! We need to think and find solutions outside Goa: Bring in advice from places that have shown more results. Person coming in last in the heats cannot move to the next round with the other qualifiers.
—R Fernandes, Margao

AUSTERITY WORKS WONDERS!
AUSTERITY is not such a bad thing. In these Covid-19 times when life dictates most people practice austerity, there can be many benefits. Conspicuous consumption has declined considerably and even essential consumption is moderated. These are experiences from which everyone can learn a lesson on how to live in future from now onwards!
Become austere by choice to make our environment a much better place to live in. Cut down on consuming and using things to harm the environment. Tighten belts, consume less all that leads to environmental degradation. Regulate expenses, moderate conspicuous consumption, spend only on essentials, reduce reduce garbage, phase out plastics, especially single use plastics. Invest in balanced eating to emphasize on immunity boosting, exercise regularly and go green majorly by planting trees, growing orchards, gardens and backyards…fruit trees, vegetable patches and also keep surroundings spic and span.
Choose austerity and inculcate healthy practices. Become compact and robust. Austerity will make you tide over longer in these hard times. But occasionally indulge in a little bit of luxury!
—Elvidio Miranda, Panaji

COVID-19 REALITY
IN India’s smallest state the Covid-19 pandemic is aging with confirmed cases racing to 10,000 and sadly deaths poised to cross a century. Health Authorities are still not prepared, but in a state of disarray while dealing with the spike in cases. Due to lack of coordination and non- application of mind we’re losing precious lives by the day.
The government had all these months to put an infrastructure in place but lost the plot by focusing on wrong priorities. It’s a very worrisome situation with the rank and file in power will not be pardoned or forgiven. The economy is now also in dire straits, but Goa’s sex trade has not slowed down! Look at all the young girls being rescued after the kingpins were raided and busted. There have also been seizures of narcotics and drug parties while gambling dens have shown no respite of slowing down so also the dhirios (bull fights).
A friend who is the manager of a small but reputed resort at Dona Paula while narrating that the restaurant business was in a total slump told me that there was however no dearth of calls from affluent Goans asking if rooms were available for a quick hour or two. My friend says he hangs up on all such naughty calls not to have the messy affairs in his rooms.
The pandemic seems to have not yet instilled fear in our minds and we are learning no lessons of exercising restraint in these current precarious times. It has still not dawned on the people that the virus is highly infectious and passed through personal contact. This virus does not discriminate between rich and poor, young or old, or on one’s political, social or occupational status.
How many more positive cases and lives do we have to lose for both Government and people to take this deadly virus seriously and exercise total restraint and control and strictly follow the health protocols? We cannot continue to live in a worsening situation where government appears to have lost control and its political leaders deliberately ignoring the regulations.
This is a time for everyone to be vigilant, rational and prudent in all aspects of life, medically, economically as well as with our personal hygiene and habits. This is proving to be a marathon not a sprint. Life now as we know it and in the new normal will never be the same again. It is a time to tighten our belts and not waste scarce resources on non-essentials and personal temptations.
In view of all this, we need to know whether our accidental Chief Minister still believes and rants that ‘Bhivpachi goroz na’. The CM and Government need to get a grip and act quickly, based on medical and economic facts and expertise if we and our future generations are to survive this destructive pandemic with some medical and financial hope and not just succumb to fear and confusion.
—Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

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