LETTER TO EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED AUG 20 2022

75th INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION:

Indian army Col Amit Parab (Sena Medal) speaking as chief guest and hoisting the national flag,  on the occasion of the country’s 75th Independence Day at the Dnyanprassarak Mandal’s College & Research Centre in Assagao, said,  “Individuals working with devotion and creating excellence in their sphere display patriotism and serve the country too like the Army and the Navy.” After hoisting the flag he inspected the March Past of  NCC Army and NCC Navy wing along with Prof DB Arolkar. The colonel is an alumni of the college and was visiting it after 23 years, he said it was a very nostalgic trip for him. Winner of Mrs India 2022 Jacqueline Shinde was the guest of honour. Both personalities had stories of achievement to recount and were felicitated. Chairperson of the Mandal Shrikrishnas Pokle, added, “India is the land of Buddha, Gandhi and Krishna, and we must never forget that. We believe in peace and non-violence and our way of life allows us to achieve whatever we want through these.” Prof DB Arolkar gave the welcome address and vote of thanks came from Vice-Principal Rashmi R Redkar, Asst Prof Danica Menezes compered and in charge of  festivities was Dr M Shanthi (head, English department). Best Attire competitions and a book exhibition were highlights of the function.

CJI RAMANA REMARKABLE!

 AS our Chief Justice of India NV Ramana retires on Aug 26 this month, the nation remains forever indebted to him for all his arduous efforts in the attempt to regain and restore the much needed independence of the Judiciary.

His three immediate predecessors having taken the Judiciary to a point of incredible compromise with its very sanctity and sovereignty. However, Justice Ramana during his 16 months in office, has tried his best to realign the wheels of Justice which had gone awfully off track.

As the custodian of this pillar of hope, Justice Ramana has had an uphill task battling a government that seeks to erode judicial values as we know them. Justice Ramana performed a noble mission protecting and safeguarding as much as he could our temples of justice.

It is imperative that our judges across the nation dispense justice without fear. The bedrock of democracy is rule of law and a judiciary which is truly independent. Judiciary is accountable only to the Constitution and  Rule of Law in letter and spirit.

Unscrupulous politicians who with their hidden agendas seek to undermine the Judiciary should reflect and act on the wise words of former President of Israel Reuven Rivlin, who said “There cannot be any situation in which we don’t respect the law and the judiciary. It is unacceptable to attack the courts; criticism is allowed, but attacks are not. It shakes the basis of our democracy.’’

–Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

TOURISM EXPERTS

Experts on the Tourism Board are no cheerful news for locals! The government has appointed four experts on the Tourism Board. The purpose seems to be solely counter objections from the public. They are playing to the ego of the experts.

Recall the mini-India project in Cavelossim. The promoters cleverly appealed to the ego of an activist, a priest, who then issued a press statement that the project was beneficial to the locals. He did not check whose land would be handed over at a pittance, whether locals’ access would be blocked — he must be aware how 5-star hotels constantly and regularly seek to block off local access to public beaches or make it very difficult for them to reach the beaches.

Now Cortalim MLA is trying to get communidade land for the project. The promoter will build a bungalow at the site to be used as a holiday rental project most of the year around. The project will provide income for whom at whose cost? Is it an offer of literally free prime land?

The experts must first collect data on the industry to date including where the earnings go and how many locals are employed at what average salary. The work allotted to them will otherwise be used solely to increase the earnings of ruthless businessmen with no benefit to locals.

See how the BJP 2012 losing candidate of BJP in Gujarat was made administrator for Lakshadweep and Nagar Haveli. A non-IAS administrator for the first time, he introduced alcohol sale into the Lakshadweep islands for the first time and that too against the wishes of the locals. He sought to hire out islands to 5- star hotels to make be like the Maldives. For this land had to be taken from the fishing community. The experts will end up as agents for the BJP who want Goa to become the old version of Bangkok!

–R Fernandes, Margao

NARI SHAKTI!

TOP BJP leaders are themselves not serious about supporting what they call “Nari Shakti”  in our country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi whilst  addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of 75th Independence Day recently was heard advising our countrymen to respect women. He appealed for a complete change in the Indian mentality towards women. He was also heard advising everyone to take a pledge not to do anything to insult the dignity of women and to change attitudes women in their day-to-day life, to seriously support “Nari Shakti.” In the country.

Unfortunately, 11 convicted criminals who were serving life imprisonment for Bilkis Bano’s gang rape and murder of seven of her family members, during the infamous 2002 Gujarat riots, were shockingly released by the ruling BJP government in Gujarat on the same day of this year’s Independence Day!

The Centre’s own guidelines on prisoner release clearly stipulates that those convicted for rape (among other heinous crimes) are not eligible for special remission. How did the Modi government allow its own BJP government in Gujarat to flout these important guidelines in releasing the 11 convicted criminals serving life imprisonment in a Godhra jail for being involved in Bilkis Bano’s gang rape and killing of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots? 

Clearly the prime minister is not at all serious about upholding the rights of women in our country and merely fooling the people on Independence Day by simply talking about Nari Shakti/women empowerment just to seek some cheap self-publicity for himself and his party.

The BJP leaders and their supporters were recently seen taking out huge tiranga rallies, shouting slogans and making a big exhibition of themselves to say how loyal they are to the nation! Why no similar rally for rally for Nari Shakti in our country regarding the aforesaid issue? 

Tiranga rallies are not to show love for this country but only to display their loyalty to to supreme leader Narendra Modi  — and drum up fake popularity for the outside world through godi-media! I really feel ashamed of all the BJP leaders for sending innocent activists, writers, poets, journalists, etc, to rot in jail and enthusiastically releasing convicted murderers, rapists, hate-mongers on a top priority basis. Perhaps to appoint them as  future MLAs/MPs in our State assemblies/parliament and to permanently turn them into superheroes of the country.  

–Jerry Fernandes, Saligao

POLITICIANS FIX PROBLEMS!

IF any scheme has missed a segment of the intended beneficiaries, a comprehensive list of those missed can be drawn up and submitted to the concerned ministry, authority and department to follow up.

Follow up action can be highlighted by the media so that the public has confidence that there is a working government and working Opposition. Only meaningful, constructive action and exercised due process will benefit the poor and disenfranchised.

Ministers can collaborate with civil society to (1) conduct a joint audit of all schemes, (2) list the beneficiaries who have been missed out in the scheme, (3) submit the list for follow up, and (4) ensure that no poor are left wanting.

The positive outcome can then be publicised to demonstrate that the government, opposition, media and civil society are working together as important checks and balances of constitutional governance.

The extreme economic distress of the poor must not become political fodder, deliberate or otherwise. The media must encourage politicians to fix the problems and provide expert service to the State by publishing quarterly reports on each ministry, panchayat, department and corporation!

–Mallan Kurien, Panaji   

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