LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED 30 JANUARY 2021

EMPOWER VOTERS

Governor of Goa Bhagat Singh Koshyari was chief guest at the 11th National Voters Day celebrations held at Menezes Braganza Hall, Panaji, on January 27, 2021. The function, organized by the Chief Electoral Office in Goa in association with the District Electoral Officer (North Goa), had students, officials and media people attending the function. The national anthem was played and Goa College of Music participated – along with a Voters Pledge administered by Gervasio Mendes. The NVD 2021 theme is “Making our voters empowered, vigilant, safe and informed.” A message from Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora was screened. Dignataries in picture include State Election Commissioner Chokha Ram Garg (IAS); Chief Secretary Parimal Rai (IAS); Chief Electoral Officer in Goa Kunal (IAS); North Collector Ms Meneka (IAS) and Additional Chief Electoral Officer Narayan Sawant.

ALL THE KING’S HORSES

THE government is proceeding to dilute the powers of the Lokayukta in Goa. MLAs are verbally attacking and slamming the government over this as seen in the local dailies. Others are writing in detail why the government must not do this, etc. That’s it? It appears that all the king’s horses and men cannot put poor Lokayukta back together again. They have done their job and are as pleased as punch!
Instead of slamming, attacking, etc, can the poor public, already broken like the Lokayukta, know their plan of achieving the goal? Or, are we to remain satisfied with their stellar performance alone?
Lokayukta is the only means for many ordinary citizens whose rights are nonchalantly cast aside as seen in one of the cases. They have precedents of Karnataka and Kerala Lokayukta Acts. They have the rulings of outgoing Lokayukta specifically targeting the inappropriate acts of elected people. Note carefully how all the mature politicians and all the new parties with a difference, take great pains in not mentioning the same. They only speak in the air on generalities. Their goal is to exhibit knowledge but not act.
Why? Because first the Opposition is also responsible. Their MLAs defected and they’re doing nothing to ensure that the same does not happen again. They want to continue with mature “winnability” politicians who only need to verbally slam, attack or corner the government. And to leave this window wide open for their own good!
Goa lost 760 people to Covid-19: more than 50% of whom could have still been alive had we had a government like the one in Singapore or New Zealand. Day one of lockdown it was ordinary citizens and not the government, not the traders, who came to the aid of the migrants and the homeless. The New Year eve celebrations were against all rational thinking! But we had to hear the Governor of Goa Bhagat Singh Koshyari congratulating Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for excellent handling of the pandemic! Sadly, there is no Mahua Moitra (MLA, West Bengal) among so many mature politicians. Goa needs TMC not AAP, BJP or Congress!
— R Fernandes, Margao

FPIS RULE SHARE MARKET!
FOREIGN portfolio investors are calling the shots in the Indian share market merely by buying into valuable Indian stocks and jacking up the Sensex and the Nifty on their own terms by volume buying alone. Since their lows due to the pandemic, the Sensex has gained 24,000 points and had reached the 50,000 mark, merely because FPIs have bought into Indian markets. While FPIs always buy into the peak performing companies in India, their investments inflate the price to earnings ratio (P/Es) so much, that they themselves determine the valuations and when FPIs net sell, the market falls heavily. In order to stabilize the markets, the trading should not reflect merely volumes of shares bought into even if they are the best companies of India. With the budget uncertainty just a week away, markets are bound to be volatile, in expectation of a period of unpredictability.
Is it prudent that the Indian share market should have a bull run only when the FPIs buy in large quantities, and then exit and the Sensex and the Nifty plummet? With the new president of America having announced a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package, foreign investors could exit their money from Indian markets and invest in America for better profitability and thus drag the inflated Sensex and Nifty down, which does not reflect the strength or weakness of the Indian market. Market regulators should not respond to FPIs’ investments in Indian equities so abruptly, leaving genuine Indian investors at the mercy of the FPIs.
— Elvidio Miranda, Panaji

DOG, CATTLE MENACE
GIVEN the fact that the Goa government has been unable to address and redress the grievances of humans, it should at least try to ensure that our State is freed of the alarming menace of stray dogs and cattle.
The stray dog/cattle population has reached frightening levels plaguing every nook and corner of the State, it is very worrisome. Even our beaches are not spared. The government needs to tackle this issue with a sense of urgency so that people may walk and travel safely on streets and roads without dogs or cattle hindrance in the dark of evening and night time especially. The stray dog population is multiplying and is as a serious menace. The anguish and distress faced by a dog bite victim has to be experienced! Many years ago a toddler at Ribandar lost both eyes after being attacked and mauled by a stray dog. He is growing up now without his eyesight. People get terrified of dog barks and being chased and pounced upon by dogs on their two-wheelers. Anxiety, fear and injury rules our public places.
The authorities must take this matter of stray dog and cattle menace seriously. The welfare or non-welfare of these animals cannot supersede the wellbeing of humans. Over the years many crore have been spent on tackling the stray dog menace but the situation is getting worse. The so called sterilization programme is not working and sterilization alone cannot be the solution to an alarming crisis.
There is also urgent need to educate people on being responsible for their pets and vis-a-vis garbage management so that dogs, cows, crows, etc, are not tempted to congregate garbage dumps or plastic bags dumped on roadsides by passing traffic. Every neighbourhood must be made responsible and accountable.
Animal welfare organizations make tall claims about successful campaigns to control the stray dog population but the general public remains unimpressed. Abandoned animals need to be better protected against hunger and pain but we must act dispassionately and without making it an emotional issue.
Or are we waiting for the kith and kin of politicians and celebrities to be mauled by a dog, or get into an accident with cattle squatting in the middle of a dimly lit road, before any progressive decision is taken on the issue of stray dogs and cattle?
— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

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