LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED FEBRUARY 03 2024

FOR A DRUG-FREE GOA!

SALCETTE STUDENTS UNITE AND PLEDGE FOR A DRUGS-FREE GOA:

About 240 students and teachers from Prahari Clubs (anti-drugs clubs) in schools in Salcette taluka gathered at the South Goa District Hospital Auditorium on February 2, 2024 to take an oath to free  Goa from drug addiction. It was a solemn moment and organized by the Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Directorate of Education and the District Mental Health Programme (South Goa) and supported by the National Institute of Social Defence (New Delhi) along with many other spirited and committed  individuals. There was Dr Shilpa Pandya,  Dr Kashyap and Dr Akshata, who held the gathering spellbound with their insightful  presentation on the perils of becoming addicts of drugs, tobacco, e-cigarettes, etc. Peter F Borges energized everybody, inspiring them to grow a movement in all schools towards a sustained rejection of substance use and abuse, the Goa SCPCR has been engaging in a student-led program to reduce drug dependency through the Prahari Clubs.

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT!

THE law enacted for 33% reservation for women in Assembly and Parliamentary elections has been a step in the right direction to encourage women to play their role in the political arena to serve society. Let us hope this law will be a reality soon. But mockery should not be made of the good intentions of the lawmakers who framed the policy to encourage women to contribute towards public life and public good.

At the Panchayat and Municipal level we have sadly witnessed in many cases that women  elected are only on paper fixations, while  factually and illegally their political power is wielded by their spouse, brother or at times some other relative. Women candidates like all others must be selected and elected on their own merit and aptitude, not as decorative front pieces while their relatives run the government. They must not be puppets on a string manipulated and pushed along the way with no real opinions or power. This defeats the very purpose of reserving seats for women to ensure fair play in governance and improving the quality of life of common people.

To shine brightest light one must be what one truly wishes to be. If you cannot be uniquely you, then please do the honourable thing and let somebody else capable of standing on her own two feet take your place! 

— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar 

WILL MODI INTERACT WITH AAM AADMI IN GOA?

CHIEF Minister Pramod Sawant while speaking to reporters on Tuesday, February 30  said about 50,000 people are expected to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally scheduled on Feb 6 at the KTC bus stand grounds in Margao at 1.30 pm!

It looks like the BJP leaders are getting all set to bring in thousands of people even from the neighbouring states in jam-packed buses,  distributing free lunch/snacks packets, generous hand-outs…to make the Modi  happy! Reap maximum political mileage out of this particular public rally at Margao, keeping an eye on the fast approaching polls for the two Lok Sabha seats in Goa.

As usual Modi will say a few lines in Konkani and later start his speech after hailing  “Bharat Mata Ki Jai!” It will send his die-hard sympathizers into a frenzy. There will be much self-glorification about the new Ram Mandir in Ayodhya  and what an achievement it is, amongst other things like completed projects of bridges, flyovers, four-lane roads, etcetera. It will be BJP shining all the way for the last 10 years in Goa but not a single word about casinos, drugs/rapes/murders/killings and other related criminal activities in full swing in BJP’s Goa!

My wish is that Prime Minister interact with ordinary Goans at ground level in interior villages and then only regale us with his success stories of his double-engine sarkar. At least I don’t think in 10 years of BJP rule Goans are experiencing any ache din or Ram Rajya – aam Goans are suffering from unemployment, inflation in prices and facing a  major threat of being marginalized and becoming strangers in their home state!

–Jerry Fernandes, Saligao

VALENTINE’S DAY IS HERE!

MOST of us know that February 14 is  celebrated as Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to expressing love specifically or generally. Alas, for many it is just another day any, a day of sadness! There are many separated lovers who feel lonely on Valentine’s Day, hoping that they will meet their separated loved one anew, from whom they have parted due to some misunderstanding or parental pressure. They fall in depression and take to alcohol or drug addiction, some develop suicidal tendencies.

The state needs to help these people in the name of Valentine’s Day! Unite them maybe.  The day is also observed as World Marriage day by the Catholic Church, where the couples profess love for their life partners; it’s a day to help couples to make up, forgive one another and begin anew with love and affection again.

I think Valentine’s Day should also be for people to make up, get together, give love real meaning.  Let’s celebrate this day for expressing love, making up, reuniting with our partners in life!
— Cajetan Peter D’Souza, Mumbai

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