EVEN ROADS VANISH IN GOA!

WASHED AWAY: In the monsoon our roads not only develop potholes but sections of the road collapse and get washed away, as it happened in Guirim recently.

BY RAJAN NARAYAN

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the hypocrisy of the BJP was exposed with reference to the teenage daughter of Smriti Irani running an illegal bar-cum-restaurant in Assagoa in Goa. For a Saturday following the week when not just potholes but entire roads are being washed away this monsoon. For a Saturday following the week when the BJP government is looting the aam aadmi by continuously increasing the price of essential commodities by imposing GST. For a Saturday following the week when the Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly Ramesh Tawadkar continued the policy of silencing the Opposition. For a Saturday following the week when the national policy of the BJP seems to be to finish all Opposition by suspending them from the assembly and parliament.

BJP HYPOCRISY
AND a few stray thoughts on the hypocrisy of the BJP which was exposed in the case of the teenage daughter of Smriti Irani running a controversial and illegal bar attached to her restaurant called Silly Soul in Assagao in Goa. It has been claimed that the excise license under which Silly Souls, Zoish Irani’s restaurant is operating, has been issued in the name of a dead person.
Advocate Aires Rodrigues has revealed that the restaurant attached to the bar does not have a construction license either as per information obtained under the Right to Information Act. The restaurant which is located in the new upmarket Assagao area serves beef and pork – something objected to by BJP in all states ruled and controlled by them.
Never mind that the husband of Smriti Irani is the Parsi Zubin Irani who traditionally eats all meat dishes including beef and pork. What is shocking is that Smriti Irani is so proud of her teenage daughter running a bar and restaurant in Goa. Excepting for traditional bar owners, no respectable family will permit their foreign educated teenage daughter to run a bar in Goa. Koi bhi saas bahu ko daru ka dhanda nai karne dege. Here is a case of a real life mother permitting jer daughter to run a bar-cum-restaurant.
No doubt Silly Soul may also become a nightclub like Titos where drugs are available. The BJP cannot have one set of rules for rest of the population, particularly minorities, and a different set for the children of its political leaders. Smriti Irani claim to fame is that she defeated Rajiv Gandhi in the Lok Sabha election from Amethi parliamentary seat.
Here it is not just Smriti Irani who is going against the Hindutva values of the BJP. The vice-president of the Meghalaya unit of the BJP has been arrested for running a prostitution racket in a farm house. It has been reported that many minors were rescued from the farm house.
Again, the Kannadigas from Karnataka which is now BJP-ruled come in huge numbers to the Goan beaches with crates of beer bottles and invariably misbehave with local Goans. Karyakarta of the same party carried out a raid on a pub in Bengaluru (Bangalaore) Bangalore on Tuesday, July 26 where a group of 36 students were having a farewell party. This is not the first time that Hindutva fanatics have attacked bars in Bengaluru on the grounds that girls working in call centers are relaxing and drinking in bars.
We are also concerned that with the polarization between Hindu and Muslim communities in Karnataka, an increasing number of Kannadiga Muslims are migrating to Goa. Unlike the original migrants from Karnataka, who are mostly from the Hubli-Dharwad region, the new migrant settlers are very aggressive about their Muslim identity.
The early migrants who settled in Goa for over 30 to 40 years have integrated completely with Goan asmitai and culture. Goa is the only state in the country where there are no hostilities between the Hindu, Catholic and Muslim citizens. Personally, I have not seen traditional Goan Muslim women young and old wear hijab and burqa. Even the maulvi respect the secular traditions of Goa and went to congratulate Archbishop Filipe Neri when upon his appointment as cardinal by Pope Francis. The government should keep a watch on the militant jihadi Muslims entering Goa who may have a mind to cause trouble in a communal harmony state.

ROAD WOES
AND a few stray thoughts on not just potholes but entire roads which are being washed away because of the monsoon. So far Goans have been complaining about potholes on all major roads in Goa, including the prestigious Atal Sethu bridge which was the dream of the late Manohar Parrikar.
For the first time, we are hearing Panaji MLA Babush Monserrate complaining about potholes on Dayanand Bandodkar road and 18 June road. It would appear that even as Panaji MLA he cannot do anything about it because the contract for re-building the Miramar-Dona Paula bypass was given to MVR contractors who are related closely to former vice-president of the country, Venkaiah Naidu.
Under the BJP, the PWD department including the central PWD department which is under the control of Nitin Ghadkari, Union Minister of Transport & Highways, have completely collapsed. The newly constructed road at Guirim caved on June 23, 2022. While the broken road was being repaired the heavy machinery used caused damage to a second water pipeline. When the road collapsed on Saturday, July 23, a huge flow of water swept up in a deluge from under the road. It was discovered that the new water supply pipeline running under the road collapsed and burst and officials say the old pipeline must have been leaking for a long time and this led to the gradual chaos in the road collapse too.
As a consequence the road near Guirim junction has been shut for traffic for a week. This is not the only case of entire stretches of roads collapsing and being washed away. On Tuesday, July 26 a truck fell on a car because the pavement below the truck sank. Several stretches of not only the arms of the Atal Sethu connecting to Ribandar and Goa Velha have also become useless. Dilip Buildercon which is building the Zuari bridge is a contractor from UP who is yet to complete the bridge which is supposed to be inaugurated on August 15.
There has to be a connection between the collapsing roads and potholes and PWD corruption. It may be recalled that under orders of the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court 80 engineers were sacked — because they were recruited without qualifications, in a Rs80 crore bribe scam. If engineers have to pay for their jobs they will naturally try to recover the money from the contractors. The contractor intern will used poor-quality material to save cost. It is a vicious cycle.
All construction work should be entrusted to an independent body which will work under the supervision of the civil engineering department of the Indian Institute of Technology, Goa.

RISING PRICES
AND a few stray thoughts on the BJP government looting aam adami with a steady continuous increase in prices of essential commodities by imposing extra GST. It is bad enough that the price of petrol, diesel and domestic cooking gas has crossed the century mark. But surely there should be no GST on common staple food items like curd and wheat flour and food grains in packages? It is bad enough that there is a 12% GST on reputed brands of atta made by ITC under the brand
Ashirwad.” The GST on cooking oil like rice bran oil, groundnut oil, coconut oil and the Bengali favourite of mustard oil has also been increased. After the covid lockdown of three years most middle class families are desperate to go for holiday breaks.
This is dramatized by the huge rush of domestic tourists to Goa. Most domestic tourists are from the lower middle class and either stay in their buses or SUVs or inexpensive hotels and lodges. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has not spared them. GST has been imposed even on hotels charging a tariff of under Rs 1,000 per day. May be digitalization of financial transaction has made life easier. Particularly because you can make payment of smaller amounts even by Rupay and Google Pay and now even Whatsapp. But even on such payments there is a price to be paid.
The biggest sufferers are seniors who are digitally challenged. I do not know how to use my ATM card. For 75 years I have been issuing checks and receiving checks all my life. Now even to get a check book we have to pay 18% GST! The government is more concerned with building huge projects than meeting the needs of the common man. Does the country need these new bridges and expressways where air force planes can land, or new airports – but no roti, kapda and makan?
The unemployment rate has increased. The growth rate forecast by the World Bank for India has come down to 7.8%. The inflation rate is higher than the growth rate which means that your earnings are not keeping track with expenditure.

SILENCE THE OPPOSITION!
AND a few stray thoughts on Speaker of Goa Assembly Ramesh Tawadkar continuing The policy of silencing the Opposition. The speaker has been suspending opposition MLAs on the slightest excuse. He has yet to take up the disqualification petitions against the 11 Congress MLAs. In fact, he has postponed the hearing on the disqualification petition to after the end of the assembly session. The speaker has a great sense of self-importance. He is not satisfied with the normal security that most speakers get. He has been demanding Z class security which means that there will have one pilot vehicle and another vehicle following his vehicle. We cannot understand who would want to attack the speaker?
Goa’s Speaker Tawadkar is following the example of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha speakers. The Lok Sabha Speaker Birla has suspended all Congress MPs from the Lok Sabha for the rest of the monsoon session. The Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh has expelled 19 Opposition MPs, of which seven belong to the Trinamool Congress, six to the DMK and three to the TRS, and three belong to the Left parties.
The strategy of the BJP is to avoid all discussion on controversial matters in parliament and assembly. The moment there is any criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or his government the speaker suspends the speakers. This is a clear indication of the beginning of the murder of democracy.
AND a last stray thought on the spread of monkeypox. Monkeypox like covid-19 is spreading worldwide. Monkeypox, as we had reported in our last Goanobserver.in edition is similar to smallpox. There have been four cases of monkeypox reportedly in India so far. Travelers to India from any of the countries that have reported cases of monkeypox are being checked for symptoms.
The common symptoms are rashes on the body, body ache or any other skin infection. The infection starts with a rash on the palms, soles of the feet and face but less rash is seen on the body. In many patients the lymph nodes are sore. The incubation period of the monkeypox virus is three to seven days. There are chances of infection even if there is no skin-to-skin contact. The Goa government has decided to isolate cases of monkeypox if detected in the state and have reserved beds in the south and north Goa district hospitals and primary health centers. Most of the cases identified so far are from travelers from the Gulf.

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