LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR THE ISSUE DATED 19 DECEMBER 2020

PANAJI MORNING PAVEMENT MARKET JOYS!

If it’s December a wonderland of veggie greens are here at the early morning Panaji market pavements…radish greens in plenty with skimpy radish or fatso radish attached; there’s palak (spinach) of course, lots of methi (fenugreek), shepu (dill), poi bhaji, maskachyo bhaji, these days lots of mustard greens to make a meal of the famous Punjabi special of sarson da saag and makki di roti! Pure sarson da saag can be a heavy bhaji though if you put lots of white butter in it, traditionally housewives combine sarson with khatti palak greens, but khatti palak we still haven’t seen. If you see ambadeche greens buy them quick for they have a wonderful sour flavor and terribly hard to find. The vendors may sit here from 5am to 9am and a CCP guy comes along to collect Rs10 from them by way of daily rental pavement space — much to the irritation of the small gauti veggi vendors! It’s a case of if you come, you pay, you don’t come, you don’t pay. Question: Where does all this money go?

POST-PANDEMIC

ACCORDING to data provided by Johns Hopkins University the number of people in the world who have been infected by Covid-19 is over 74 million, which is just a shade below 77 million, which means one in every 100 people in the world has to be infected.
Also the number of Covid-19 fatalities is 1.64 million at present, which is a huge tally of deaths to have occurred since the pandemic surfaced in Wuhan just about a year back in the wet markets through bats, snakes or pangolins, or through the Virology Institute experiment which reportedly went wrong. Business and markets tumbled to a record low at the peak of the pandemic and though vaccinations have started in US, UK, China and Russia, the pandemic is still not well under control.
Infections and fatalities remain high enough to be worried and take seriously. However, the world has recovered substantially economically with the aggregate market capitalization of all the listed companies in the world having reached $ 100.5 trillion recently, an all-time high. America has fared the best with American listed companies Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Google and Microsoft doing record business, despite the pandemic’s adverse impact.
Nevertheless it is still to be seen if with the development of several vaccines, the number of infections will be curbed and fatalities reined in, as roll-out of vaccination start the world over.
— Elvidio Miranda, Panaji

WISDOM OR GRIEF?
SOLOMON said: In much wisdom comes grief. But the Book of Proverbs says: Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. If the government keeps human rights as its key objective in all dealings: Governance would be a cake walk. Not rocket science.
In a study of MRI data across the world, it was found that 40% of recovered Covid-19 patients showed inflammation of heart vessels. A doctor from AIIMS, who was part of the study, said that it is known that any inflammation caused due to an infection is known to increase the risk of stroke.
To date, Goa reports 47,000 recovered cases: that means we need to conduct MRIs on all and isolate the roughly 19,000 suspect cases. And then formulate a plan to ensure their good health. The knowledge is out there we cannot ignore the heartache: We must act now and screen all these 47K people.
At the start of the pandemic it was mandatory to keep a track of all patients. Though WHO had offered a free tracking software, Goa was requisitioning the GEL for the same. Now is the time to make use of it.
Countries like Vietnam and Indonesia fared well in the pandemic because they had around 30 and 25 beds per 10K people but just 8.3/8.1 doctors. India has just 5 beds and 8.6 doctors per 10K. The ‘results’ showed. Goa, with a 15L population must have at least 1,500 doctors and 4,500 beds. Considering there are 80L tourists visiting Goa we need another 4,500 beds. Again, the results are red.
What must be done? Budget for the same. The money must come from the tourism sector. The people are looking to elected representatives to act. Time to know how senior politicians, with all their maturity will act not just in the Goa LA but in the Lok Sabha.
— R Fernandes, Margao

NOW BEEF WOES
WITH the Goa government already grappling with so many issues facing the State it now has another serious matter pertaining to the non-availability of beef on its platter of woes.
The Goa Meat Complex plant despite having been renovated and refurbished at a whopping cost of Rs9 crore has not been functioning for the last many years. This is inexplicable and the authorities should come out clean on the exact reason why the factory is non-functional. There can be no room for beef politics. The Goa Meat Complex factory at Ponda and its head office in Panaji together have over a 50-strong staff who have been idling with no work to do. What a criminal waste of public funds!
The government must take immediate and swift measures to ensure that the Goa Meat Complex becomes fully operational so that the public get good quality and hygienic beef at reasonable prices. There should also be a probe to investigate why the Goa Meat Complex has remained shut for so long and the forces responsible for it.
Governance at all times must ensure fairness and inclusiveness and there can never be room to favour or target any particular section of the community. I have friends from all creeds and communities who relish beef and pork. Rightly it should be left to an individual’s personal discretion what he can afford or likes to eat.
It is an irony that after 73 years of independence and as the world’s largest democracy the government wants to dictate and control who should drink and eat what as also what to wear, read and speak. This is in rank contradiction to the very preamble of the Constitution of India which speaks of securing to all citizens social, economic and political justice besides liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship along with equality of status and opportunity.
The government must intervene and take immediate action to ensure the supply of beef within the State is restored urgently, as the shortage of beef especially during this festive season will adversely impact domestic consumers and tourists, restaurants and hotels, at a time when the demand is sky high. The economic consequences on meat traders and other businesses dependent on the meat trade will be forced to close their businesses and this will add to the already catastrophic economic scenario.
The government cannot ignore the plight of a significant number of its people. May those in power govern our country with leadership and integrity, with a common purpose to unify the country with a broad vision rather than promoting any skewed and divisive agenda that fragments society to its long term detriment. The need to satisfy the needs of all people must always be paramount. Unity in diversity must continue to be our hallmark. Mahatma Gandhi had rightly observed that “our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.”
— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

BJP GOVERNANCE
THOUGH The BJP may claim to have won the Zilla Panchayat election, it certainly cannot be a thumbs-up for its disastrous performance in governing Goa. It has mishandled every major issue, the Covid-19 crisis, environmental protection issues, double tracking, etcetera.
Its candidates have won mostly by default due to the poor turnout and the last minute announcement of the poll date; which itself appears to have been a calculated move. Nevertheless, the result proves that the main opposition, that is the Congress, is on life support with no credible leadership in the State and nationally, and no plans whatsoever for its revival.
This is the sad part: We have no credible opposition party to challenge the ruling dispensation.
— Nigel de Costa Frias, Panaji

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