LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED MAY 8 2021

NEW LOKAYUKTA

Goa Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari virtually administered the oath of office to new to Lokayukta, Justice (Retd) Ambadas Joshi at Raj Bhavan, Dona Paula on May 7, 2021. A retired judge of the Bombay High Court, Justice Ambadas Haribhau Joshi took the oath in the presence of the CM Pramod Sawant via video conferencing. Maharastra and Governor of Goa Bhagat Singh Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office fom the Raj Bhavan, Mumbai. Justice Joshi has served as the chairperson of Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (Mumbai) from July 2014 to July 2019.

LIKE IT OR NOT!

THIS is BJP government?
Ram Mandir budget: Rs25 crore
Kumbh Mela budget: Rs4,200 crore
Sardar Patel statue budget: Rs300 crore
Modi touring budget: 700 crore
Trump’s visit to India budget: 125 crore
Central Vista in New Delhi: 13, 450 crore (4,000 heritage trees cut down for Raja Babu’s new house located between India Gate and Central Secretariat)
Corona virus budget: Zero, all corporate CSR donations and gifts from abroad?!
—John Sequeira as shared on Facebook

PM’S ADVISORS?
Even young doctors from Kochi’s Amritha Hospital were telling me that pandemics come in waves. That was after I wrote here about the decreasing covid figures for India around January. And anyone who has read about the 1918 pandemic, which killed an estimated 20 million Indians, would know that it was the second wave that was the worst. The PM needs better scientific advisors. As it is, pseudoscience has gained importance, and in recent years there’s been “India’s war on science” as Shashi Tharoor describes it. This seems the culmination of that war.
—Mohan Sivanand from Mumbai as shared on FB

OXYGEN NITTY-GRITTY
IT is very tough to maintain oxygen levels with cylinders. Central supply pool is better.
On 4 litres/minute flow a small cylinder will get over in 3 hours, medium size cylinder in around 12 and jumbo in 24. In hospitals 2 or 3 patients are constrained to share a cylinder when Central Supply for NIV (non-invasive ventilator) does not have enough pressure to reach patients.
There are logistics of taking the cylinder to be exchanged, plus shortage of flow meters which break easily. Chicalim Cottage hospital will have 100 cylinders instead of present 30 cylinders, which are not enough. GMC hospital will get 36 cylinders each from 10 suppliers i.e. 360 cylinders each day, instead of the current supply from just one supplier. Perhaps his bills re not paid and he prefers to sell to private persons for cash (Rs400 per cylinder) plus a deposit of Rs5,000 for the empty cylinder. For every 20 cylinders taken by individuals, the company gets Rs1,00,000 in cash, which keeps rolling. Also, all cylinders may not be empty when the patients die and the cylinder is returned to collect the deposit.
Business is often like prostitution: there is no emotion involved. It is unreasonable to expect an undertaker to share your grief: burial or cremation is his profession and source of income.
—Miguel Braganza courtesy FB

SPARKLE OF HOPE!
YESTERDAY (May5) night I was at Scoop Oxygen Plant trying to arrange oxygen refills on behalf of Shaheed
Bismarque Oxygen Helpline. A person arrived in a car with two cylinders. Standing at a distance from me he said he was covid positive and had arrived from his bed to the factory seeking oxygen refill, at any cost for himself and his friend. I asked him how much was his oxygen blood concentration. He replied that he doesn’t know the current figure, but while getting out of home quarantine for oxygen it was 82.
I was deeply shocked to see a covid positive patient travelling with a healthy person in a car with two empty cylinders to the factory gate in search of oxygen. He was lowering his mask repeatedly for which I tried to stop him, upon which he replied that he does so only when he starts feeling breathless. I asked him to get inside his car, keep mind free from thoughts and rest, while I and his friend get two filled cylinders for him, as quickly as possible.
He mistook me to be a factory employee and asked how much it will cost per refill? Painfully, I asked him to write his details in my register that was kept on a desk and pick up two Bismarque tokens for free oxygen. The man appreciated our Helpline and said he wanted to contribute something for other poor patients who can’t afford to buy oxygen unlike him. Even after a lot of discouragement, he left two Rs500 bills in my register. I didn’t stop him since had I been in his shoes I’d have done the same if I had money. I accepted his Rs1,000 charity just out of respect for his self-respect and magnanimity. If I see him ever again in my life I will offer my red salute with left hand raised accompanied by a shout of Lal Salaam thrice, one after another!
—Sudeep Dalvi, Goa
(Note: The Shaheed Bismarque Oxygen Helpline is offering oxygen cylinder refills free of charge, Just WhatsApp SOS @9763477602)

FAIR PRICE SHOPS
FAIR price ration shops in Goa are still insisting on biometric finger scan to collect their rations. Despite the coronavirus pandemic scare and alarming spread of the infection! Also, why can’t any family member sign for the rations?
In Goa many fair price shops insist on biometric identity and so elderly women have to go to the shop come what may to pick up rations. Biometric identity is a practice which surely aids the spread of the infection? This is akin to fair price shops and civil supplies department putting Goans at risk for people touch the scanner where others have touched. Then they may touch face, mouth or eyes, running the risk of infection. Scan identification should be banned immediately given our hygiene practices.
One sees so many seniors forced to come to the fair price shops to collect their rations personally. A few may be abusing the system but we should not put everyone on the same scale. People should be allowed to collect rations for others using whatever card identification they have.
With the government planning to distribute onions and grains rams we can expect huge crowds and queues without maintaining social distancing and hygiene at the fair price shops. These shops also tell you to make an application to the mamlatdar to authorise someone as a proxy to collect ration on your behalf. No one should go through this hassle of approaching the mamlatdar knowing the crowds that gather there and the bureaucracy that exists at these offices.
As long as covid-19 is here the fingerprint identification should be kept on hold. Will our honourable Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Civil Supplies Minister Govid Gaude look into this matter and do the needful?
—Jo Diaz, Cavorim, Goa

IMPORT OXYGEN NOW!
IT’S 6 pm and 71 died from Covid-19 on May 5! And we are still not acting, we are so stupefied! Whose responsibility is it to provide oxygen, oxygen concentrators, oxygen generating plants — without floating tenders? In India there are manufacturers who are overbooked but we don’t know. We cannot just ‘hope’ the Centre will provide us with what is needed! Everywhere everyone is working 24 hours to source oxygen. Delhi gets 21 plants from France! What about Goa?
One plant at a district hospital is waiting for a compressor. Is all the aid from abroad being routed only to some favored states? Will Goa get anything before too many deaths? Surely it’s better to source what we need from industry bases in Goa itself? Please act!
—R Fernandes, Margao

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