LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED APRIL 01 2023

GOVERNOR GIFTS KUNBI SHAWL TO PM!

Governor of Goa PS Sreedharan Pillai called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at New Delhi on March 29, 2023 and after greeting him presented with him with a Goan Kunbi shawl and a coffee table book published by the Raj Bhavan. Governor Pillai discussed various issues pertaining to Goa matters during the meeting.

MIRAMAR CIRCLE THE WORST!

JUST two days back I saw excavations going on near Miramar Circle in capital city Panaji. A drain is almost prepared for the water from the circle to run into and it is connected to an existing drain near the Chowgule side. This drain looks shabby as it crosses the main road where the tiles are closed with useless tiling covers. These covers having openings and the debris, etc, will enter easily and this will fill up the drain very soon — CCP will have to keep lifting these enclosures to keep the drains clear.
I am quite convinced with my Ponjekar colleagues that the trench made should be closed immediately before the road asphalt is cut across. Our suggestion is the area near the pergola section road must be raised and levelled throughout this side of the Miramar Circle starting from St Anthony’s cross till the entrance of Gaspar Dias, and the existing drain modified and the level maintained so that no water is accumulates near the pergola.
Everyone jokes that the existing garden around the central monument is never attended to by any of the authorities — say Forest or CCP — and the cows always choose this place to sit and destroy the beautiful circle. Maybe the garden should be replaced by seating arrangement or something unattractive for cows and attractive for human beings?
Another objection is that the St Anthony statue was lifted without having any prayer or litany at this venue before it was shifted by few elements. The workers who are on the job under instructions of CCP/ PWD/Collector are trying to modify this area without incorporating any suggestions from concerned residents or the Cross Committee.
From the looks of every Tom, Dick and Harry is interfering with this cross enclosure. It was suggested that this cross to be shifted to the Campal lighthouse area or near the bridge, but parishioners have objected to this move. Also, there was a cross covering proposed for the benefit of the prayer group for protection from sunlight, but this was also objected to by an influential politician due to political pressure.
—Stephen Dias, Dona Paula

A RS2.61 CRORE JOB FAIR SCAM!
THE Goa government has been into event management rather than providing good governance to citizens. The latest revelation is that a whopping Rs 2,61,46,004 (two crore sixty-one lakh forty-six thousand and four rupees) was drained away on the Mega Job Fair held on November 8 last year at Taleigao. Of this Rs2,51,42,260 was paid to Sunlight Media, the event management company, while Rs9,27,990 was spent on media advertisements, besides expenditure of Rs75,754 on vehicles hired for the event.
The Labour Commissioner on September 18 proposed that the Job Fair be organised at Taleigao, Margao and Ponda but Labour Minister Babush Monserrate on Sept 22 directed that it be held only in Taleigao on November 8. The Labour Commissioner on Oct 18 (just 20 days before the event) wrote to the Director of Information & Publicity to submit the name of an agency to conduct the event for 6000 participants. Director of Information on 28th October (just ten days before the event) informed Labour Commissioner that Porvorim based Sunlight Media was lowest bidder having quoted Rs 2,51,42,260 while Vinayak Decorators from Taleigao was second lowest having quoted Rs 2,59,60,000. Interestingly, the item wise bill was submitted by Sunlight Media only on 13th January this year, two months after the event. The event was held without the financial approval and when the file was sent for expenditure sanction only after the event was held, the Finance department made five observations. That the cost appears to be very high, that the estimate was lump sum which cannot be accepted as the department has to make detailed estimates, that expenditure of Rs 3600 on each participant was unreasonably high, items like water proof pandals was not required in that season, that department shall rationalise the cost and restrict it to 1500 per head by eliminating non-essential items. All these observations came only after the event was held.
The Finance department returned the file to the Labour Commissioner citing that the explanation to the queries raised was not satisfactory. Despite all those objections raised, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Finance Minister on 14th February this year accorded government’s expenditure sanction.
That Job fair was a planned mega scam. We need a white paper on how this astronomical spending benefited the Jobless in the state. Those involved in this scam should be brought to book. Action must be taken against officers for having held the event without the financial approval of the government.
—Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

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