AFFECTED: The worst affected because of ban on flights from the UK are the charter tourists from Britain who usually come to Goa during the peak season of the balmy winter months of Goa in comparison to their own bitterly cold winter


AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when my good friend Dattaraj Salgaocar was behaving like a fugitive rather than the victim of the conman Nirav Modi. For a Saturday following the week when if I had deep pockets I would have mobilized Goans and got rid of the anti-people BJP government. For a Saturday following the week when there was panic in the country in all tourism destinations following the fresh strain of the coronavirus going out of control in the UK and parts of Europe. For a Saturday following the week when in his anxiety to please the minority community, the Pramod Sawant government arranged for import of beef from other states.


AND a few stray thoughts on Dattaraj Salgaocar, the son-in-law of Dirubai Ambani, acting like a fugitive rather than the victim. Admittedly all the Modi brothers must have been part of the Rs 14,000 crore scam when Nirav Modi is alleged to have cheated the Punjab National Bank. Unfortunately for us the Oriental Bank of Commerce has been merged with the most corrupt public sector bank in the country.
There is a fresh report from United States that Nehal Modi another of the brothers of Nirav Modi has stolen one million worth of diamonds. Ever since the scam became public, both father and daughter have virtually gone into hiding. I try to speak to Raj Salgaocar, whom I have known for more than 50 years, even before he got married to Deepti daughter of Dhirubai Ambani. It was not an instant marriage but they dated for eight years before getting married as Raj himself told me. V.M Salgaocar, the father of Raj and Deepti happen to stay in the same high rise building Usha Kiran in Mumbai for several years.
That is how the friendship between the two families bloomed and blossomed. Dattaraj and his daughter are the victims of a bad judgement. Even when it comes to a small business deal Dattaraj who is very cautious by nature makes extensive enquiries. In this case, perhaps influenced by the Ambanis clearly due diligence was not done. Apparently the Modis had planned it all because the scam broke just after the very high profile wedding at which we were present. I cannot understand why Raj doesn’t fight back. Raj knows that Iinformation is the most important weapon. If the Republic and Arnab Goswami can make, the whole country dance to their tunes, there is no reason why Dattaraj cannot start his own media organisation.
Or take over the DNA newspaper and the Mumbai Mirror which have just closed down. Ishita Salgaocar has the necessary qualifications which includes a degree from the Columbia School of Journalism. Dattaraj himself was looking after the Observer started by the late Vinod Mehta and other publications of the Ambani group for quite some time. Dattaraj is familiar with journalism and the power of print because he has seen the battle for making Konkani the official language. His father V.M. Salgaocar was willing to sacrifice his entire business empire to prevent the merger of Goa with Maharashtra and owned the Rashtramath the only Goan Marathi paper which was against merger. Indeed it was V.M. Salgaocar who financed the campaign of the anti-merger group during the opinion poll. Dattaraj should follow the example of his father V. M. Salgaocar and fight the Modis and all those who supported them in their super scams.
Dattaraj has to fight the Modis because they might even have implicated his daughter Ishita and transferred some of the stolen diamond in her name. Which would make him the target of the Enforcement Directorate and other government agencies. There are many media groups fully staffed available for sale. Dattaraj can take over the DNA which was started by the Dainik Bhaskar group and launch war against not only Modis but all those who are trying to destroy Goa’s environment. Surely Dattaraj is as concerned as his father would have been over the conversion of Green Goa into a coal black Goa. Ishita can become Editor and Raj can avail of the services of some of the best journalist of the country who have been the victims of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Journalists, like Rajdeep Sardesai the son of the famous Goan cricketer, Dilip Sardesai. Raj can hire the services of Faye D’Souza to set up his own TV channel. Offense is the best form of Defence.
I have no vested interest in asking, requesting, pleading with Dattaraj to start his own media organisation with the best journalists in the country, most of whom are now unemployed. Dattaraj can become the new Goenka, who took on the imperious and dictatorial Indira Gandhi who declared an emergency and tried to close down the Indian Express group. Dattaraj has the resources. Dattaraj has the experience of running two of his own publication Sunapranta, the first Konkani daily and Goa Today.
He has the experience of running the Observer which was taken over by the Ambanis and has now become the Observer foundation. Raj must fight for the honour of his daughter. He must fight the rogues and rascals and criminals who spoiled his impeccable reputation as a honest businessman. As dramatized by the fact that when his swimming pool at the Marriott was declared illegal, as it reportedly violated CRZ guidelines, Raj unlike Audhoot Timbloo did not use political pressure to overturn the decision.


AND a few stray thoughts on no newspaper in Goa having the guts to take on the BJP government. The Pramod Sawant government which is determined to destroy Goa. The BJP government which wants to convert green Goa into coal black Goa. Make no mistake about it. The double tracking of the South Western Railway is meant not for the benefit of Goans or the Karnataka migrants but solely for the benefit of the Adanis. The Adanis have taken a lease on a huge coal field in Carmichael in Australia. A coal mine which has huge reserves. Between Nitin Gadkari and Narendra Modi they have decided that the MPT will be converted into a dirty cargo port. Historically there were always problems with the export of ore from the MPT.
Now when mining resumes the MPT will be exporting ore and importing huge quantities of coal for the Jindal steel plant and the Adani thermal power stations in Karnataka. Already the capacity of the coal berth at the MPT has been increased long before Adani got his Australian coal mining. The double tracking of the South Western railway again is for benefit of Adani. The quantity of Coal which will be imported the MPT is so huge that the existing single track will not be able to handle it.
Which is why the South Western Railway is double tracking the route from Goa to Hospet and Bellary where the Adani and Jindals units are located. It is regrettable that even my old paper O-Heraldo has not taken up the fight against those who want to blacken the face of Goa. Not only the double tracking but the widening of the highways is also for the benefit of the Adanis. So is the Sagarmala project which will allow the Adanis to transport the coal through the rivers of Goa and pollute them like the mine owners have been doing all these years.
The Navhind Times has always backed the Government of Goa. The Times of India will never get on the wrong side of the government. Unfortunately the present owners of Herald is more interested in gambling than maintaining the identity of a fighting paper that I had built up with my blood, sweat, toil and tears.


AND a few stray thoughts on the panic in the country in the wake of the coronavirus mutating into a more deadly strain. The new form of coronavirus spreads much faster than the existing Covid-19. The new strain of coronavirus is literally deadly as it hits the lungs much faster. Unlike the present Covid-19 which takes a week to ten days to turn dangerously fatal.
The UK government had just been planning to relax the existing restrictions for Christmas and New Year. But because of the new strain which has attacked London and large parts of England they have instead imposed even more serious lockdown. Nobody will be allowed to come out of their house even for Christmas and New Year. The even greater worry is whether the new vaccines which are already being administered will be effective against the new avatar of the virus.
The panic has spread across the world including India. India has banned all flights from the UK with immediate affect till the 1st of January. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has enforced a lockdown between 9pm to 6am which means no partying for Christmas and New Year. Only the Goa government seems to be bindas about the new virus strain. Already the hotels in Goa are full of tourists who do not want to stay locked up in their house for Christmas and new year.
The tourist money, much of which comes from the casinos, is more important than the health of the paper to Pramod Sawant. Even the rules on masks and social distancing are not being enforced in the state. But why should local politicians care when even the President K Kovind has been moving around the state without a mask. The President even pose with a newly married couple at the Mahalsa temple and performed an aarti without wearing a mask as dramatized by the photograph carried in the TOI. Just when the new strain of Covid-19 has scared the world, mumbaikars are coming down to Goa. Goa is inviting the rest of the country to come to Goa to spread the virus again. There is no night curfew or lockdown in Goa yet. But the biggest blow to Goa is the ban on flights from the UK. Which means there will be no charter flights which was the main source of income of the shacks and the smaller hotels in Goa.
Covid-19 ironically is very similar to gambling. We know of a distinguished Mumbai doctor who has a second home in Goa. He did not leave his house for 8 months. He stayed locked up in his own home though he had taken the precaution of bringing his own cook and dogs and domestic staff from Mumbai. Not only him but his entire family consisting of his sons and daughters-in –law had shifted to Goa. The young son got impatient and went out for one of the rave parties along with four of his friends. Courtesy his son and his friends the good doctor who had stayed locked up in his house for eight months got Covid-19. Fortunately for him because the health minister, Vishwajit Rane, had been his patient he managed to get a VIP room in the GMC when all the rooms in the private hospitals were full.
He must be one of the few patients who went to the GMC and survived despite developing patches in the lung and high blood pressure. This is like the story of an astrology telling an rich industrialist that Lord Yama would come for him in Mumbai. The Industrialist decided to shift to Goa believing that he would be safe as Yama had predicted that he would die in Mumbai. When he landed at the airport Yama was waiting for him. Yama told him that he should not have not listened to his astrologer as he was always destined to die in Goa. He would have remained alive if he had stayed in Mumbai.


AND a last stray thought on the shortage of beef. Fortunately for the minority community the government has arranged for the import of beef from states other than Karnataka. It may be recalled that historically Goa has depended on Belgavi for its requirements of beef which is the staple in the diet of the minority communities. Beef is now being imported all the way from Delhi and closer home from Kerala. The Konkan express now transports beef from Kerala as there is a huge profit to be made. The cost of beef has doubled from an average of Rs 300 to Rs 700. Over 30% of the minority population in Goa are beef eaters. The President of the All Goa Cold Storage Owners Association, Vernan Lobo, has revealed that there has been 75% drop in the quantity of beef coming from Belgavi. The demand for beef in Goa is around 30 to 40 kgs a day.

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