Charkha bandh: From the Gandhian Charkha which made Indians independent of dependence on the imported cloth from the Lancashire mills in the UK, under Narendra Modi we are returning to dependence on hi-tech fabrics from multinational companies like Reliance and Amazon. It will be “Only Vimal” from now onwards.


SIX years ago on Gandhi Jayanti amidst much fanfare on Oct 2, 2014, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched by Narendra Modi across the country. High expectations were raised but the cleanliness drive has remained on mere paper for fancy ulterior motives. The campaign falters miserably across the nation while tax-payers money is recklessly wasted.
Even in a tiny state like Goa the ghost of Swacch Bharat has been a total failure as garbage continues to escalate and accumulate all over. The situation is only worsening by the day and has in fact now reached a point of crisis. Our markets across the State are stinking while bus terminals are no better. Government offices all over including those in the Secretariat at Porvorim are infested with filth galore. The mission was meant to be a people’s movement and not a political one those in power to enrich their pockets. Under the guise of Swachh Bhaat what has been swept away in the last six years is only the public coffers while garbage continues to proliferate by the day taking a toll on people’s health.
May the one and only father of our great nation Mahatma Gandhi intercede from his heavenly abode! Can we at least start cleaning our conscience to be the true inheritors of our great Bapuji’s legacy.
— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

IT is more than two weeks since Vasudev Krishna Bicholkar, a prominent educator and social worker passed away on September 16, 2020. Some facts and some incorrect news reports that have gone viral since his passing need to be clarified.
Vasudev bab was bitten by a rat on Wednesday (Sept 16) at around 6.30 pm and visited the JMJ hospital in Porvorim at about 7.15 pm for getting a tetanus injection. At the JMJ hospital, all his vital signs like blood pressure, SPO2 level and blood sugar level were normal before his treatment was started. Thereafter he was given a tetanus injection and an anti-rabies injection, without a test dose for the same beforehand.
He started feeling sick 10 minutes later after the injections. But hospital staff and doctor on duty were not competent enough to give him medication to counter the reaction he was getting due to the injections given. This was despite family members present telling the doctor on duty that Vasudev was feeling unwell due to the injections he was given. The facilities at the hospital were totally below par and left a lot to be desired.
In fact, there was no proper facility to administer oxygen to him nor was there any stretcher or wheel chair facility; Vasudev had to be physically carried by family members from one room to the next in order to be given oxygen. I write about this here only to bring to light the gross incompetence and negligence of the on-duty doctor and hospital staff at JMJ Hospital, Porvorim, Goa.
—Ramesh Shirodkar, Mapusa

A 19-year-old Dalit girl was brutally gang-raped by four upper caste men in Uttar Pradesh and she battled for life on a ventilator in Delhi AIIMS with a paralyzed body, broken spinal cord, chopped tongue, she died earlier this week. Instead of handing over the body to her family the UP police hurriedly cremated it in the middle of the night to destroy any evidence and the family were not even allowed to pay their last respects or take part in the cremation ceremony of the said victim.
Something so heinous happened and our mainstream media (which keeps wasting time debating on celebrities who take drugs in Bollywood — Kangana Ranaut, Deepika Padukone, Karan Johar, etc) did not even bother to cover this dastardly crime, there was no debate on any news channel, nor hash tag campaigns for the poor Dalit girl. Why? Because she was not a big time celebrity and the rape took place in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh?
The Central BJP leaders are forever fooling everyone with their “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign! No one has bothered to issue a single statement to do with the vile crime perpetuated by upper caste men. There have been no rallies as in the Nirbhaya case which happened just before the 2014 elections? Why our PM (who otherwise is always seen making a big blah-blah or show for self-publicity and was even heard questioning the UN recently) have not bothered to utter a single word through his recent “Maan Ki Baat” monthly talk, surely the PM knew the victim was battling for life for many days in the prestigious AIIMS hospital of Delhi?
Fooling voters and winning only elections by hook or crook is more important for our leaders of the BJP than giving justice to women in the country. The upcoming Bihar Assembly elections are more important than seeing that justice is done to women. Our so called Great Leaders are actually shielding rapists and promoting a rape culture in India. Jai Hind!
— Jerry Fernandes, Saligao

The IMA-Goa unit’s request that priority treatment be given to medical professionals from government and private sectors – whether for Covid-19 treatment or all other spheres – is unheard of. In life threatening situations always children and women come first. If a critical accident victim is brought to the hospital: Should the doctors be given first preference irrespective of case urgency? Is this ethical?
When Asia-Pacific countries which have more three times the population of Goa have restricted Covid-19 deaths to just 26, the IMA is strangely silent. It is only after 400 deaths, when one of their professionals lost the battle to the infection due to medical care lapses, as per the local IMA, the latter woke up! They now find many lacunae in present treatment protocols and see a severe lack of beds.
When the Covid Centres were shut down, bed scarcity was bound to happen. Then they were silent. Why? People are now forced to go to private hospitals where the rates for treating the infection are so atrocious, when rates were actually uncapped…if anything they were silent. Why do doctors first prefer GMC and not private hospitals. The GMC doctors now have six months experience in Covid, actually if they accessed WHO and updated themselves they would have been six months ahead. They relied on their education which is not Covid compliant.
The private hospital’s advantage is: Better HSE and comparatively better nursing. Their negatives are: High rates, haggling patients for advance payments at admission (while the local IMA advised the government to advertise bed availability to avoid patients running from pillar to post). Doctor-patient ratio, experience in use of oxygen at high flow-flow rate to be specified, as also at what temperature and humidity…restriction to 26 deaths in a 55 lakh population does not come about just by IMA advice!
It is overdue: GMC and private hospitals must share the positives of both establishments and work together to reduce death toll. Right now indecent profits must be put on the backburner: Cost, plus 15% must be the criteria. Government may be advised that Goa today is NOT in the position of other countries: To be able to open up all fronts. Silence is not golden. It is a death sentence for patients with comorbidities who also contribute to the State exchequer! Let us not forget this.
— R Fernandes, Margao

EVERY year we indulge in the same routine on Mahatma Gandhi’s Jayanti – garland his framed photographs and statues, have meetings full of eloquent bhashan and debates, have protests silent or noisy. Distribute a few gifts to orphanages or senior citizens homes…if you’re asking me it’s high time we stopped all this easy token activities. Instead concentrate on all-round programs offering a helping hand to ease the hardships of people who are economically impoverishment courtesy Covid-19 pandemic…there must be centres open around the clock to help people be it of a social, or economic or any other nature. to make them feel that life is worth living with a helping hand? Are there places anyone may go to ask for help of any king which they may urgently need day or night and the needs redressed courtesy public or private assistance? Bapu’s way was always to reach out and help whoever came to him with a problem however humble! He was available at his ashram to one and all and there was no hordes of security to shoo anyone away.
— Pankajbala R Patel, Panaji

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