LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED MAY 01 2021

A BOOK FOR THE TIMES!

“Criminal Administration: Law and Practice”: Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant took time out to released Dr Nagesh Colvalkars book at CMs official residence at Altinho, Panaji on April 26, 2021. Also present were Director of Higher Education Prasad Lolyenkar, Principal of V.M. Salgaonkar College of Law – Miramar Dr Shaber Ali, Trade Union Leader and Social Worker Adv Ajitsingh Rane and Adv Aarti Nagesh Colvalkar.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

I HAD the misfortune of visiting the crematorium earlier today to pay my last respects to a very dear elderly uncle mine, a covid case. As I moved from hospital to crematorium I observed how it is the common man who is making a difference, a real difference, everywhere in each and every stage.

The nurse who cleans, maintains and takes care of hundreds of patients, she puts her life to risk every time she steps into a covid zone. She does it for a living, she gives life. She is making a difference.

The ward boy who cleans the body, packs it, seals it and moves it up and down the corridors. That Std Xth failed, that good-for- nothing boy has stepped up to give humankind  some dignity. He is making a difference.

The ambulance driver who waits patiently for hours at hospital and crematorium or burial ground, that college drop-out, has not gone home for over a week. Day and night he eats, sleeps in the ambulance he drives taking patients to hospital and dead bodies to wherever required alike. He is making a difference.

That security guard at the hospital who manages the arrival of all vehicles and guides them to their spot fearlessly, he is a retired military jawan, gives priority to patients and their worried families. He is making a difference.

The manager of the crematorium looked totally exhausted, over a cup of coffee he shares that he came yesterday at 7am and now 36 hours later he is still at work. He been seeing hundreds of dead bodies and their families weeping and crying over the loss of a dear one. Quietly, he does his job as best as he can for a living. He is making a difference.

The body handler at the crematorium treats everybody in the same way. He is exhausted, over-worked and underpaid. Often we see him as a good-for-nothing drunkard. This time he is helping, bury and burning of dead bodies 30/50/70 day and night. He is making a difference.

The constable on the road guiding the traffic for a smoother traffic, who is now also ensuring that we all wear masks — to help the pandemic from spreading and killing more of us. He is risking his life for us every day. He can barely speak English or use a computer like you and me. He is making a difference.

The delivery boys. Youngsters who didn’t do well in the corporate world, they ferry around town in the hot sun or rain from one place to another, delivering 20+ packages of medicines or food, sparing you and me from stepping out. We don’t smile or acknowledge his presence or even say thank-you, drink a glass of water…when collecting our parcels! A shame. He is making a difference.

My local vegetable vendor, he buys fresh vegetables and fruits every day and brings them to my doorstep. All of us want the freshest, sweetest and nicest stuff from him. We bargain to no real gain with this village bum who wakes up every and helps my family stay healthy on his bounty of veggies. He is making a difference.

It is the common men and women more or less at the bottom of the ladder of life who make a difference to the quality of life we enjoy in good times and bad times. And, not least of all, during our current scary covid times! A real difference. Of course they have always be around, but when did we notice them if ever?

Let’s be part of the solution and not the problem. Complaining or finding fault in others is very easy. To find correct solutions to problems in such pandemic times is really a great thing to do!

— Shared by Nigel Costa da Faria, Miramar (Facebook post)

NO TO PROJECTS

THE Supreme Court mandated the Central Empowered Committee to investigate and advise on the three linear infra projects in Mollem and its decision has to be hailed. But it  could have been more in line with the wishes and  aspirations of the people of Goa!

The CEC has opposed the double tracking and this is in line with the wishes of the people. The CEC has ruled that the 400KV power line be laid in the same area as the 220KV existing facility; however, the decision falls short of the expectations of the people who wanted it  shelved at all cost.

The CEC ruled that environment clearance has not been done for the highway project and thus cast aspersions upon this project. By and large the people of Goa are against all the three linear infra projects and they laud Goa Foundation contribution along with that of Goyant Kollso Naka NGOs, who have been relentlessly pursuing the projects since their inception and been instrumental in saving Goa’s environment.

What Goans need to be vigilant about is that coal transportation under any circumstances is not allowed to go on and towards this end the Goyant Kollso Naka contention that they will keep on agitating until all the three linear infra projects are shelved in the best option for green Goa. Not only coal transportation but also coal handling at MPT should be opposed resolutely by all Goans!

–Elvidio Miranda, Panaji

AMAZING GOA INC!

SO GOA Inc has coerced Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to avoid total lockdown with amazing reasoning! Truly, they must consider taking up consultancy in Singapore/New Zealand on economic revival. They put the blame squarely on the public, but fail to answer how the spread of covid will arrested!

Goa hotels and restaurants say what, ban weddings and parties!? GSIA says no one told people to attend weddings! Come now: Tourists can come in thousands to patronise hotels without masks or physical distanceing, etc. Goans may attend weddings with 50 guests and they are not responsible? GCCI added its two-bit: Follow all Sops and it’s fine.

What we have here is an attitude problem: The birth right of Goa Inc. Their problem is total lockdown will force migrants to return home because employers will not pay them for 17 idle days! Why? Because employers do not have a fixed number of workers: They enjoy the luxury of hiring on a daily basis, 30 today, none tomorrow. Check MMC buildings and industrial estate unit gates every morning.

Has Goa Inc started a vaccination drive at the industrial estates? No, that’s not their responsibility. We need to audit Goa Inc: Do they have ISO, use Six Sigma, CRP, Risk assessment? Not required when there is the luxury of poor migrant labor by several lakh!

The horses have bolted. Goa Inc solution: Shut the stable doors! Sorry, this solution should have come up in December 2020. Co-relate it to the current partial lockdown. How does only stopping weddings stop the spread of the contagion? The virus today is a double mutant one that is fast spreading, affecting all ages.

 Resources including simple oxygen, beds and medical staff is 110% utilised. What is the efficacy of all SOPs together: 100%? It is not even 70% and hence cannot arrest the spread of this fast spreading double mutant. It was discovered in India late last year. It has spread to 10 other countries and the whole world lives in fear because it is so deadly. Don’t blame local weddings!

A lockdown for 17 days must start now when neighbouring states have already locked down.  No use: No use enforcing the same after these states open up. You will defeat their lockdown results. The lockdown will isolate all the infected, afford time for peoples’ immunity to build up, and allow the vaccination drive to increase numbers of vaccinated.

 In a war one must attack from all fronts. We are fortunate Goa Inc has no influence on the armed forces!

–R  Fernandes, Margao

DEAR CHIEF MINISTER

Dear Pramod Sawant, the people of Goa are aghast over your failure to step in decisively to try and contain the further spread of the COVID-19 virus now raging across state. How many more positive cases and deaths are you willing to stomach before you take the bull or virus by its horns?

Our friends and their family members are just dying while we watch and mourn grim scenarios unfolding around which are just getting worse by the day.  One death is too many. Worse still the question on everybody’s mind is, Will I be next?

In the current scenario a total lockdown, well policed and adhered at least for 15 days is inevitable and mandatory to ensure the current devastating situation is brought under some  control. Your own Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane has recommended a month.

Our medical care services are overwhelmed. The brave overburdened. Doctors, nurses and other front line heroes in our hospitals and health centers are fighting a rear guard action often in vain. They are doing an extremely commendable job against all odds, tirelessly working to save lives, but they are over stretched and reaching a breaking point. Their work is becoming increasingly impossible by your inaction, doing anything significant enough to mitigate and contain the spread of the virus.

Mr Chief Minister learn from the experience of other countries that have successfully and relentlessly fought the virus and contained it, almost eradicating it. In every instance by competently using a total lockdown as a circuit breaker to stop this virus increasing as it is spread through human transmission.

Your government’s first duty is to protect your citizens. Your failure to stop a human carnage of unimaginable proportions will be remembered by posterity and never forgotten r forgiven! With folded hands even at this very late stage I seek your immediate action to prevent further loss of precious lives. A complete and total lockdown is a must, nothing less will work. Prevention is always better than cure! Taking a chance at the casinos on the  Mandovi river is one thing, but gambling with the people’s lives is unacceptable, abhorrent and tragic. May wisdom and better sense prevail.

–Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

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