QUALITY: There are many fake medicine on the market. Just as food items have to have FDA approval so also medicines are required to carry a QR code. If the QR code gives you detail of the manufacturer and expiry date and the composition of the concerned medicine. You can scan the QR code with your mobile phone.

By Rajan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when there has been a sharp increase in fatal accidents due to the non-stop rains of July. For a Saturday following the week when Forests Minister Vishwajit Rane withdrew his comment in the assembly that Goa Foundation was a fraud. For a Saturday following the week when you can check the quality of medicines you buy by scanning the QR code with your smartphone. For a Saturday following the week when ironically seven opposition MLAs were thrown out of the assembly for demanding a discussion on Manipur. For a Saturday following the week when the new fishing season was delayed as migrant labor has not returned from their home states.
AND a few stray thoughts on the sharp increase in fatal accidents due to the non-stop raining. Earlier this week a hired tourist car driven by a young couple hit a speed breaker and turned turtle three times, killing both driver and his companion. On Monday, July 31, 2023 a car fell off the Sanguem bridge killing mother and child. The father is still missing.
Wet weather and potholed roads are the major factors in traffic accidents in the state. Not just in Panaji but all around the state, the state of bridges and roads are in never before terrible shape. Minister for Public Works Nilesh Cabral has no excuse to offer. The primary reason why roads develop potholes is because of the poor quality of the material used. All road contractors pay heavy bribes to PWD engineers. This forces them to compromise with the quality of the material they use for doing road works. Even the so-called concrete roads built by the municipal corporation and PWD develop cracks. It may be recalled that the notorious Venkaiah Rao was entrusted with concretizing the Miramar-Dona Paula stretch. The project had to be abandoned as the road developed cracks and the water pipelines were damaged.
The government has not been ready to appoint a chief engineer for the PWD for several years. The present chief engineer Angelica Da Silva is on deputation and keeps getting extensions. The government claims that there is a serious shortage of junior and assistant engineers. We do not know why these vacancies are being filled or not, but there are something like five engineering colleges producing more than 100 civil engineers every year. PWD Minister Nilesh Cabral is assuring Goans that roads will be repaired before Ganesh Chaturthi. We don’t know how many will meet with fatal accidents before Lord Ganesh come to Goan homes.

AND a few stray thoughts on Forests Minister Vishwajit Rane withdrawing his comment in the assembly that the Goa Foundation is a fraud. Following the order of the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court mandating a tiger reserve in Mhadei wildlife sanctuary, Vishwajit was furious. Vishwajit had been working hard to oppose a tiger reserve at Mhadei. The tiger reserve would cover the villages of Collem, Pali, Mollem, etc.
According to MLA of Poriem Divya Rane there are over 15,000 people living in villages who will be displaced if the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary is declared a tiger reserve. We have visited some of these remote villages inhabited entirely by tribals. The government which talks about protecting and promoting their welfare has completed neglected these areas. Many of the villages which are covered by the proposed tiger reserve are isolated. They have no access to healthcare or education facilities. Many have no approach roads. They are 20km apart from the Pale Panchayat and the Primary Health Centre.
If Mhadei is made a tiger reserve it will encourage more tigers to come to Goa. The Tourism Department is keen to promote Goa with a tiger reserve as a new tourist attraction. The people living in villages covered by the Mhadei tiger reserve have to be relocated as they do not have even minimum infrastructure.
Indeed, the setting up of a tiger reserve will help these villages. The only ones who are affected will be the outsiders encroaching on forest lands of the Mhadei river valley in Goa.

AND a few stray thoughts on how you may now check the quality of your medicines by scanning their QR code with your smartphone. Central and State governments have come together to ensure quality medicines because there are many fake medicines sold in the pharmacies. The Central government have made it compulsory for all medicines to carry a QR code. Consumers can scan the QR code to find out the name and date of manufacture of medicines and composition of drugs too.
We recall that when I was in hospital in GMC for suspected TB of the spine, I was given a sedative by the Psychiatry department. This so-called sedative was actually a hallucinatory drug which completely destroyed my mind. I who have never cried in all my life was crying continuously for almost 24 hours. I had suicidal urges and tried to jump out of my room bed and attendants had to constantly restrain me.
My Tara went to check out my prescriptions with friend Nandita Haksar and it was Nandita who put her finger on the drug causing all my serious side effects. The drug was finally removed the next morning when Tara insisted it be removed. Earlier I also experienced a cardiac problem due to substandard drugs. There have been complaints from countries like Nigeria and other African states about a cough syrup supplied by the Patanjali group owned by Baba Ramdev.
The largest number of drug malpractices are in the case of the expensive branded drugs for cancer and other serious diseases. A wrong drug can be fatal and you have to be very cautious about which pharmacy you purchase your drugs from. Patients too may be blamed because there is widespread abuse of prescription drugs and antibiotics. A dose of antibiotics is prescribed for a specific period of time for a particular viral infection. Unfortunately, people who experience symptoms decide to self-medicate themselves and buy the antibiotics by themselves. The fact is antibiotics have lost their effectiveness because of their misuse and abuse.

AND a few stray thoughts on when ironically seven opposition MLAs were thrown out of the Goa assembly for demanding a discussion on Manipur. I can understand if opposition MLAs are thrown out of the Manipur assembly. Many members of parliament have been suspended for insisting on a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the lynching, rape and killings and burning down of properties which has taken place in Manipur.
Now the Supreme Court has taken very serious note of the Manipur horrors and redressing them. But it is absurd that the Goa State Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar should suspend seven opposition MLAs included Yuri Alemao, Viresh Borkar, Venzy Veigas, Cruz Silva, Vijai Sardesai, Carlos Ferreira and Altone D’Costa. They were suspended for demanding a discussion on Manipur.
Clearly all BJP governments have been directed to support the official Modi policy on the Manipur crises. The Opposition MLAs have been suspended for 24 hours when they could not participate in assembly proceedings. This is a never before unique case of a speaker suspending MLAs for merely asking for a discussion on a matter taking place outside of Goa. When their request was rejected the MLAs rushed to the well of the house and raised a protest. They were escorted out by the marshals or guards in the assembly house.
Modi state governments have zero tolerance for any negative remarks about the situation in Manipur. Chief Minister N Biren Singh of Manipur who is responsible for the horrible incidents in his state has not yet been sacked despite his complicity in what happened. The Opposition has been asking for imposition of governor’s or president’s rule in Manipur for peace to be restored.

AND a last stray thoughts on the new fishing season which is being delayed because migrant labor has not returned. It is not widely known that Goans who love their fish curry do not work on their own fishing trawlers. The majority of trawlers are owned by Goan patrao but 80% of employees who operate the fishing operations are from Orissa and Kerala. Working fishing trawlers is hard work which most Goans are not interested in doing.
Every year the fishing season which starts on July 1 is delayed because the labor does not return from their native states. May be the best thing to do is to breed your own fish and many parties are doing just this. We know of a sardarji couple residing at Dona Paula who breed and harvest their own fish through aqua culture techniques and they can supply fresh mackeral and other favorite fish Goans love. The future of food is in growing your own food be it vegetables or fish or poultry.

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