UNIVERSITY TEACHERS: There is a severe shortage of teaching staff at the Goa University, as many as 145 vacancies for teachers, assistant professors and professors have to be filled up.

By Rajan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when it was revealed that 145 teaching posts were lying vacant in the Goa University. For a Saturday following the week when to compete with bhaile who are setting up businesses in Goa, Goans have formed into groups called Festikars. For a Saturday following the week when the North Goa IPS Nidhin Valsan heading the special investigation team into land grabbing discovered that 70% of land transactions in Assagao are illegal. For a Saturday following the week when Chief Minister Pramod Sawant presented his first budget.
AND a few stray thoughts on when it was revealed that 145 teaching posts were lying vacant in Goa University. Colleges and Goa University have been set up to teach students. They can do so only if there is enough faculty. But shockingly it has come to light that there are 145 vacancies waiting to be filled up for in the various affiliated colleges and Goa University itself. The highest number of vacancies pending are for assistant professors which stand at 74, followed by 45 posts of associate professors and 25 posts of professors.
This means that there are 25 departments in the university which do not have a head of department. Goa University has as usual taken to shortcuts by giving service extensions to 18 retired professors. We fail to understand why there should be such a severe shortage of teachers. All Goans want government jobs and jobs in university and aided colleges are totally secured. Moreover, the salaries laid down by the University Grants Commission are very generous. Even an assistant professor is paid an average of Rs60,000 to Rs80,000 per month and a full-fledged professor gets over a lakh.
The problem is that not many Goans are interested in teaching as a career. Worst still many of them fail to qualify for the jobs which require a minimum of 50% marks at post-graduate level.
As a matter of fact there is no shortage of qualified teachers. The problem is that Goa University and the majority of the private college to save costs hire lecturers and even assistant professors only on a temporary basis. The most shocking is that a number of colleges pay lecturers by the hour. So salary payment depend on the number of hours they put in lectures. The state government must make it compulsory for all colleges to absorb part-time lecturers and day lecturers on a permanent basis.

AND a few stray thoughts on when to compete with bhaile who are setting up businesses in Goa, Goans have formed into groups called festikars. The arrival of a new brand of Goan entrepreneurs call themselves festikars. The festikars organise a feast in every village and Urban Centre in Goa. Recently, for example, the village of Pilerne had a week-long heritage festival organised by festikars. It is a winning combination as normally the fest organised is linked with some event in the local church. With the church’s support, a large number of visitors attend the feast even though it may not be in their own village.
The feast deliberations and celebrations provide a wide range of opportunities to earn a living. There are live bands and folk dancing which is being revived in the tradition of old in Goa. Every feast has a number of food stalls boasting of authentic local Goan food. Stalls and pop outlets are rented for the sale of garments and fabrics, home ware, and of course the attraction would also be the kadiocho badio (bamboo stick vessels). The festikars are becoming increasingly popular and enjoy the patronage and support of local MLA sarpanch and even the chief minister. The festikars are in close competition with the bhaile setting up dozens of restaurants and fancy shops in the state.

AND a few stray thoughts on when the North Goa Superintendent of Police police Nidhin Valsan heading The special investigation team into land grabbing discovered that 70% of the land transactions in Assagao are illegal. Nidhin Valsan has the reputation of being a tough police officer and he succeeded in busting the Assagao land grabs. On a softer note police officer has survived a battle with blood cancer. After his recovery to prove his fitness to his own self he participated in the Ironman’s marathon. SPI Nidhin discovered that 70% of the properties in Assagao, including those in Badem, have been illegally bought. Several instances of land grab have come to light through fabrication of documents.
The irony is that not only Goans but many outsiders are also involved. Up to two decades ago Assagao was a peaceful village full of greenery and old Portuguese type villas. Suddenly some builder discovered the country paradise of Assagao with its paddy fields and very peaceful, serene atmosphere.
I have been to Assagao in the past several times and it reminds me of what Taleigao used to be before 2000 onwards. There were paddy fields everywhere and the villagers took great pride in the honour of harvesting their first crop of the season. Historically this first crop of so called corn sheaves was bestowed on them as the villagers had long ago offered protection to the Portuguese, who were being chased by Adil Shah and they were marooned on the Mandovi river without food. The Taleigao villagers saw to it that the Portuguese did not starve and the rest is history.
Taleigao is a symbol of Goa’s communal harmony, so much so that the first crop of the season is now offered to the governor of Goa and an old tradition continues. Similarly, in Assagao and Badem, they became ghost villages at one point since the majority of the residents took to living abroad or travelling abroad for months and came home for the joys of Christmas-New Year season annually. Many lived abroad leaving only their senior parents and other family members taking care of the family property.
We understand that in one case one greedy landlord, attracted by the prices prevailing, decided to sell his property for more than Rs3 crore. This led to a stampede with hundreds of people from Delhi and Mumbai buying up Old Portuguese villas or razing old homes and constructing new villas on them. In disputes entire families are involved but differences are resolved for there is enough money for everyone when a piece of price property is sold.

AND a last stray thought on Rahul Gandhi continuing to be harassed. Following his instance disqualification from Parliament he has been asked to vacate his official bungalow at Tukhlak main road before April 22, 2023. The various allowances that MPs are entitled to like free electricity, free water, free staff, etc, all stand cancelled. The curious part of all this is there is still a month to go for Rahul Gandhi convicted in the Surat defamation case to be cancelled, it would appear that the most feared politician in the country for the BJP is Rahul Gandhi.
The BJP was rattled by the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The BJP was very agitated when at a Cambridge talk in the UK, Rahul launched a fierce attack on Narendra Modi and the BJP government. Rahul went to the extent of claiming that there was no democracy in India. Rahul seems to be also adamant about not apologizing. All he has to do is to say that the references he made about the Modi’s did not refer to all Modi’s but only a few specific ones…alas, it has all come about in the manner projected that he dubbed all Modi’s as criminals or that every person with the surname of Modi is a criminal.
Despite the controversy Rahul’s popularity remains intact. It is recognised that he may not be very bright politically, but he has charm and the legacy of his father Rajiv Gandhi and grandmother Indira Gandhi who are perceived as martyrs and the family enjoys widespread sympathy and support for not just Sonia Gandhi but Rahul Gandhi who are being ill-treated by the BJP dispensation ruthlessly.

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