RAIN DISRUPTS 37th NATIONAL GAMES!

By RaJan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when Goa won the gold medal in the ongoing games. For a Saturday following the week when super-specialty block of the Goa Medical College has started functioning. For a Saturday following the week when the delegation of methies have come to Goa and had a press conference which was sponsored by media. For a Saturday following the week when the price of onions increased again. For a Saturday following the week when Israel expanded its ground assault on Gaza as fears rise over airstrikes near crowded hospitals.
AND a few stray thoughts on Goa winning gold in the ongoing 37th National Games in Goa. I am presently surprised to see that Goa has won 20 medals. Most satisfying is that a Panaji girl won a gold medal.
But the organizers of the National Games continue to have problems. Imagine the power going out at the ongoing games at the Dr Shyama Mukherjee Indoor stadium at Bambolim. Similarly, there have been problems with providing accommodation for the Goan football team. The organizers have squeezed the players three to a room at the Grand Hyatt. The footballers left in disgust and made their own arrangements.
The big names in the sports organization had a great time but not so the 10,000-odd players. For them, it was very tough road to the glory of winning a gold medal. Some of the heavyweights of the national athletic team did not participate in the National Games. Sportsmen are never afraid of injuries and see themselves in bigger events like the Olympics and National Games.
The National Games do enjoy the status of a large following amongst national medal winners. They also feel discouraged by the fact that the audience is very poor, particularly for the field events. Athletics do not seem to impress Goans, they are only mad about football and cricket.

GMC CARDIAC CARE
AND a few stray thoughts on the super-specialty block of the Goa Medical College which has started functioning. The Cardiac department has already started moving to the super specialty block. The new GMC we hear is like a 5-start hotel with broad corridors and good furniture.
Except that some complaints are reported about leaking toilets and poor water availability. Water shortages are an old story. The Cardiac unit has been named after the late cardiologist Dr Manjunath Dessai who passed away of blood cancer some years ago. The ward has seven cardiologists and the department has now even started post-graduate courses. In the super specialty ward you will find the Endocrinologist department headed by Dr Ankush Desai, and the Nephrology department headed by Dr Tiwari. Both departments don’t have adequate staff and are admitting interns, students or postgraduate trainees. An endocrinologist deals primarily with the thyroid gland and plays a major role in the treatment of diabetes patients. Goa has a large number of diabetic patients.
Diabetics leads to the infection of the legs due to bad circulatory problems. Unfortunately, the Goa government with Vishwajit Rane as the Health Minister has been promoting the use of insulin in collaboration with a multinational firm. Insulin addiction is the worst possible way of treating diabetes we now hear. Diabetes can be solved by dietary changes and the avoidance of high refined carbohydrate food. Vegetarian Indians need to up their intake of proteins and avoid refined sugar in their food if they want to avoid diabetic afflictions which take a toll on the overworked pancreas.
AND a few stray thoughts on a delegation of Meitei from Manipur coming to Goa to have a press conference sponsored by media people. The delegation consisted only of Christian Meitei although the Meitia community is primarily the old Hindu community living in Manipur. Less than 5% Meitei are Christian or Catholic.
The delegation was here courtesy the Street Providence organization in Goa which has been doing a lot of charity in Manipur. Street Providence with the help of the Church has been sending provisions and other help to the Kukis of Manipur who at the heart of the conflict in Manipur.
A spokesperson for the Christian Meitei community claimed that there were no differences between the Christian communities in Manipur. However, they reinstated that most of the Kuki people were mostly illegal immigrants coming across the Indo-Burmese border and setting up their homes on the Manipur hills in the north-east. They are running away from the brutal regime in Burma. They are refugees seeking political asylum perhaps.
As for the poppy cultivation which most Kuki farmers do and which is thriving and in fact the backbone of Manipur’s economy, it is laying a crucial role in the in-fighting between the valley and the hill people. Poppy cultivation and drugs like opium and cocaine make up a million dollar business in which the ruling politicians are engaged. Many of the Manipur politicians have huge poppy plantations.
The Kuki people who are caught in this conflict need help. They are the underdogs The Meitei group of speakers at the press conference compare the Manipur situation akin to the Israel-Palestine war. There is a similar engineered war in Manipur in which the more militarily endowed people are gunning for the weaker working people. But what is happening in Israel is a rational conflict.
In the case of Manipur it is a caste conflict between Hindu and Catholic people. As in Kashmir, it may be recalled that the Kashmiri Pandit were the Hindu people driven out of Kashmir valley by Muslim forces aided by the Sheikh Abdullah government. In a parallel situation which arose in Manipur the Kuki Christian people are facing attacks and they are being supported and sponsored by vested political interests.

ONION TEARS
AND a few stray thoughts on the increase in the price of onions. The rising price of onions is once again bringing tears and grief to consumers and especially the working class which depends on onion for their humble meals. Prices have doubled within a week taking the retail price of the essential commodity to Rs80 per kg. The government-run Goa State Horticulture Corporation which provides vegetables and fruits to consumers at subsidy rate is presently selling onions at Rs67 kg.
While the wholesale price of onions is at Rs65 per kg, the retail prices vary from Rs70-Rs80 per kg, depending on the quality. Consumers have reduced their purchase of onions by almost half.
Last week the price of onion was Rs35 kg and now it is hovering at Rs80 per kg. People who otherwise used to buy a minimum quantity of 1-2kg are asking only for half kg. A local vendor is quoted saying that last week he hardly managed to sale 40kg of onions. Another vendor says their vegetables are from Belgavi and Kolhapur where presently the wholesale rate of onions is Rs65 per kg compared to Rs25-30 per kg last week.
Onion prices remained high in national capital Delhi from October 30, 2023 and ruling at an average price of Rs78 kg in retail market, according to Delhi government data. However, the all-India average price of onion is around Rs50.35 kg while the maximum rate is Rs83 kg, it is more or less Rs60 per kg (as per data compiled by the Department of Consumer Affairs).

GAZA EVICTION
AND a few stray thoughts on Israel expanding ground assault into Gaza as fears rise over airstrikes near crowded hospitals. Israeli troops and heavy armoured defences pushed deeper into northern and central Gaza on Monday, even as UN and medical staff warned that airstrikes are hitting closer to hospitals where tens of thousands of Palestinians have sought shelter alongside the thousands of wounded.
A video making the rounds courtesy Associated Press shows an Israeli tank bulldozing its way in central Gaza, blocking the territory’s main north-south highway, which the Israeli military earlier told Palestinians to use to escape the expanding ground offensive.
When asked whether forces were positioned on the road, Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said “We expanded our operations” but would not comment on specific deployments.
The journalist filming the scene from another car races away in terror, screaming, “Go back! Go back!” This to an approaching ambulance and other vehicles. The Gaza Health Ministry later said three people were killed in the trapped car. The Israeli advances put their forces on both sides of Gaza City and the surrounding areas of northern Gaza, in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a “second stage” of the war ignited by Hamas’ brutal in the October 7 incursion.
Casualties on both sides are expected to rise sharply as Israeli forces and Palestinian militants battle in dense residential areas. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians remain in the north and would no longer be able to escape if the north-south highway is blocked.
Around 117,000 displaced people are staying in hospitals in northern Gaza, alongside thousands of patients and staff, hoping they will be safe from strikes, according to UN figures.
Most residents heeded Israel’s orders to flee to the southern part of the besieged territory, but many stayed in part because Israel has also bombarded targets in so-called safe zones.

BEACH RESCUE
AND a last stray thought on two Russian and two Indian children being among 19 rescued from Goa’s beaches over the weekend. The two Russian children aged 11 and 7 years were rescued off Arambol beach, after they lost their footing and fell in the sea and were rescued by lifesavers. At Baga Beach, an 8-year-old boy from Hyderabad, caught in a rip current, was rescued by lifesaver. A 12-year-old boy from Bengaluru was also saved off Calangute beach after he was caught in a rip tide. In addition 15 other rescue operations were carried out by lifesavers on beaches across Goa. Which reinforces the view that the Goan beach waters are not really safe for tourists.

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