WEEKEND UPDATES

MHADEI TIGER RESERVE, PLEASE!

THE fight to restore the Mhadei river to Goa continues. Some Goans will never give up and some of them are e Rajan S Ghate, Marianna Ferrao,  Dr Richard D’Souza who is for notifying a the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary as a Tiger Reserve at Cupa St Esteevan in Tiswadi, a very sentimental place dedicated to Father Bismark. Towards this end a motor cycle rally was flagged off by Aldona MLA Carlos Pereira on March 25, 2023. .

These loyal Goans are approaching all Panchayats and Municipalities of Tiswadi individually and explaining to them how critical the situation can become in Goa if the river Mhadei headwaters are taken away by the Karnataka government.  An appeal has also been presented to Mayor of Panaji Rohit Monserrate, Deputy Mayor of Panaji Sanjay Naik, sarpanch of Merces Assis Fernandes, Taleigao  sarpanch Jonu Rosario, depty sarpanch Rekha Pai, Santa Cruz sarpanch  Jennifer Oliveira,  deputy sarpanch Dominic Pereira, Old Goa sarpanch Sandra Gonsalves, Sao Matias sarpanch Supriya Tari and Gotlim Navelim sarpanch Mario Pinto.

This group has been consistently meeting maximum number of people to spread the message of possible threats to Goa’s lifeline Mhadei river if its waters go to Karnataka. Over 50% of Goan people are dependent for their livelihood on this river waters for it flows mostly through Goa. If its waters are diverted Goans depending on Mhadei’s waters will face miserable scenarios on several counts.  

Memorandums have been handed over to local bodies and appeals have gone out for the facts to be presented to locals and the issue has been discussed in Gram Sabhas in special meetings.  Efforts are also on to make the government of Goa take the issue seriously for the river Mhadei waters rightfully belong to Goa morally and legally. In this respect this group of Goans want the government to notify/convert the existing Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary into a Tiger Reserve too for Karnataka is capable of having many tricks to divert as water as it can from the Mhadei headwaters basin so that only some flows through Goa to eventually dry up the Mandovi river…

All churches, temples, mosques, masjids, schools, associations, clubs, NGOs and other Goan establishments have been approached, the situation explained to them and they have been asked to pass resolutions to the effect that the Goa government should not under any circumstance permit Karnataka to carry out major works to divert the flow of the Mhadei from Goa to Karnataka. Instead efforts should be made to declare a Tiger Reserve so that both states will benefit for forested areas create and conserve water resources.

Finally, copies of resolutions passed should be sent Goa’s Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant and the Chief Secretary of Goa at the Vidhan Sabha Bhavan, Porvorim. The matter is now coming up for hearing in the Supreme Court  in July 2023. WhatsApp copies may also be sent to the various group members fighting to restore the old status quo of Mhadei river waters should be allowed to flow peacefully through Goa where it is the Mandovi river…its waters permitting a host of vital activities.

Thanks to this group of which Rajan Savlo Ghate is a key member the message to turn the Mhadei river-Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary into a Tiger Reserve and corridor, the message is going out loud and clear. A string of events have been highlighting the importance of the river Mhadei-river Mandovi to Goa and at no cost says Rajan Ghate and other group members, the Mhadei river be donated to Karnataka – every Goan who cares should act now fast to reach out to their political representatives and send in their local resolutions towards this end! It may be remembered that Rajan Ghate is a resident of Assagao and a national RTI awardee who is involved in addressing issues of senior citizens; he has fought against illegal land acquisitions by foreign nationals of non-Indian origin.

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ELECTRIC METRO CAR!

Welcome MG Motor India’s new electric car – MG Comet EV – for urban mobility. The new car unwrapped in celebration mode at the MG showroom at Taleigao before media people on April 27, 2023 …the smart, roomy smart electric vehicle is now for booking and sale to all who seek an eco-friendly lifestyle on the roads. Price: Rs7,9800 and operates on an economical charging cost of Rs519 per month. At the unveiling are (L to R) CEO Ashwin Pereira, DGM Melissa Lobo and Managing Director Parind Nachinolcar and Area Service Manager Gracika Rajput.

JINDAL WINS ORE LEASE!

NAVEEN Jindal, who has the largest steel and aluminium units in Hospet in Karnataka, is the first non-Goan company to win a lease in the ongoing auction for mining leases. Jindal already has two major berths at the Mormugoa port for exporting coal to his steel units in Karnataka. It is for his benefit that the double-tracking of the railway line between Vasco and Bengaluru has been undertaken.

Now having won an ore lease, Jindal can send his own ore by rail or trucks to his manufacturing units in Karnataka. There is also the fear that since he is already importing coal and will soon have access to his own ore, he may even set up a steel plant in Goa.

`SHARKS’ INVADING GOA!

Sitting (From left): Hrishikesh Kadam, Anwesha Singbal, Adv Shivaji Desai, Dr Madhu Ghodkirekar, Adv Jatin Naik & Derek Almeida. Standing: Kuldeep Kamat, Subhash Salkar, Dharmanand Vernekar, Waman Prabhu, Pratibha Bapat, Patricia Pinto, Prashant Naik, Vijay D’Souza & Palash Agni.

There is growing concern about how “sharks” are invading Goa increasingly. This was palpably clear at the release of journalist Sandeep Prabhudesai’s revised or updated book titled “Ajeeb Goa’s Gajab Politics: Politics of Land of 7,000 Years” at a function held on April 22, 2023.

 According to the author Goa’s green lands are being taken over by land sharks in collusion with elected members of the Goa Cabinet, in other words powerful politicians in the government only too happy make a killing in land deals which are the most profitable deals. Unfortunately, this kind of destruction of Goa’s green lands will also spell out the destruction of a people’s way of life in harmony with nature, cultural ethos and living simple village lives. A panel of experts has expressed grave concern with this kind of development to destroy the hitherto green landscapes of Goa to be replaced by a concrete jungles. Goans who care need to unite to take up this matter of what kind of development is in the long-term interests of Goans and Goa and not migrant settlers from all over the country, including the neighbouring states who are poaching more and more on Goa’s vanishing resources.

Speakers at the release function of the book included senior  journalist Derek Almeida, trade unionist Adv Jatin Naik, Adivasi ideologue Dr Madhu Ghodkirekar, social activist of Sattari Adv Shivaji Desai and young writer and activist Anwesha Singbal. Also, in a unique manner, the book was released by the panellists alogn with members of the audience comprising friends and family of the author. Also to be counted at the passionate release meeting were Subhash Salkar, Dharmanand Vernekar, Waman Prabhu, Pratibha Bapat, Patricia Pinto, Prashant Naik, Vijay D’Souza, Kuldeep Kamat and Palash Agni.

The panel discussed for almost 90 minutes the various root causes of Goa’s changing polity and landscapes. Issues discussed included tribal loss of ownership of land despite they being the first settlers of Goa, the politics of land behind the myth of Lord Parashuram “creating” Goa, the fading out of Christian domination over Goan polity due to continuing out-migration, impact of in-migration of outsider labour class, trading class and the owners of holiday homes, constitutionality of the POGO bill, concepts of Gaunkari versus Communidades as well as lands of Alvara, Aframento, Mokashe,  etc.

Every Goan should read Sandeep Prabhudesai’s book and discuss the issues raised in it. Various panellist speakers appreciated the vast canvas of history, geography, demography, economy, politics, sociology and culture tackled in the book based on research and statistical data. Participants in the audience  included Revolutionary Goans Party leader Manoj Parab, political activists Prashant Naik, Pradeep Naik and Rajendra Ghate, green activist Patricia Pinto, researcher Yugank Naik, journalists Shailendra Mehta and Kishor Naik Gaonkar, writer Chetan Acharya and  Yogesh Gaitonde.

Young columnist and social activist Adv Hrishikesh Kadam moderated the meeting along with social activist Kuldeep Kamat. Manguirish Patil and activist Prashanti Talpankar presented mementoes to the guests. The book, in hardbound and paperback versions, is available at popular book shops and newspaper stalls in various parts of Goa as well as sold online on amazon.in.

SELFIE PASSIONS END IN TRAGEDY

ON Sunday, April 22, 2023, on Id-ul-Ftr day on a beach in Keri in north Goa, four persons in a group outing got swept away into the sea over a rocky area — while they were busy posing for one another to take selfies. Sudden waves caught them unawares and swept the four away into the sea beyond rescue. They were part of a larger group of 20-22 people and they were walking towards Arambol sweet lake from Keri beach, when the four took to climbing a rocky area to take better selfie photographs of one another – ignoring the “No Selfie Zone” cautionary sign board put up at the site. When the sudden tragedy happened a Drishti lifesaver on duty launched an immediate rescue operation while calling for back-up, he rushed into the sea waters to save the life of those being carried away…even a jet ski was operated to find the missing persons. Two of the four persons, a man and a woman aged 27 years and 17 years, respectively, were brought to the shore where a team of lifesavers administered CPR while the state emergency services were informed. 

While search for the other missing members of the group continued the lifesaver team continued administering CPR to those recovered from the sea and an ambulance rushed them to the nearest health centre. However, it was all in vain and the loss of life plunged the remaining members of the group into mourning and regret for not paying heed to the warning board as also the Drishti’s lifesavers regular announcements to deter people from venturing rocky areas of the dangerous rocky beach stretch. Next time, be careful when you’re in a hurry to catch some great selfies!

MUSEUM OF CHRISTIAN ART

THE Museum of Christian Art located at the Santa Monica Convent in Old Goa is holding an exhibition of “Engraved Treasures” commencing April 28.  The focus is on the Leuven Bible and how it ties to modern experiences of a book by Arathi Abraham who is alumna of NID. Her professional work revolves around developing brand strategy for companies and museums like this one. This talk is based on a course she has been teaching at the National Institute of Design for the last ten years.

On Sunday, 30th April, 2023 Beati Sunt and Mapped Projections  will come alive with the 18th century bible engravings as digital images on the Church walls, accompanied by poetry reading by  Pragya Bhagat and Kalpit Gaonkar in “All It Takes.” Scriptural essence through dance will be interpreted and the performance will artistically interpret the stories of miraculous healing of people by mere touching of the robe won by Jesus. There is also Veronica’s Veil in which a veil was offered with such immense compassion that it returned with an imprint of Jesus true self. Presented by Impana Kulkarni at 6.45 pm at the Church of Santa Monica, Old Goa 

DIRTY WATER TANKERS

WITH the huge increase in construction the demand for supply of water tankers has increased. The entire Gera Complex in the Kadamba Plateau does not have access to Municipal water. Similarly, industrial estates like Verna have no access to piped drinking water. The Food & Drug Administration has volunteered to check the quality of water supplied by tankers but isn’t this part of its duty anyway!  

WEALTH OF POLITICAL PARTIES

THE BJP received an income of Rs1,917.12 crore in financial 2021-2022. In contrast, the expenditure was Rs8,54.467 crore. Relatively the Congress received an income of only Rs541 crore against an expenditure of Rs400 crore. Though the figures are not being mentioned the richest chief minister in the country is reportedly YS Jagan Mohan Reddy of Telangana. He is Rs510 crore rich! Hyderabad split into two states in 2014, when Telangana was born to do very well for itself.  

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