Saturday, January 31, 2009

And now Goa BJP opposes ban on land sale to foreigners

The Goa BJP dropped a bombshell when their leader Mr Manohar Parrikar suggested on Friday that the party does not support a blanket ban on the sale of agricultural land to foreigners but would support a ceiling or some regulation on such transactions. He further stated that unregulated sale of land in Goa should be curbed.

Mr Parrikar stressed on the need to define the term agricultural land in the proposed bill including the status of the Khazan lands, pastures and orchards. He further stated that legal opinion should be taken to understand the position about such land lest the agricultural land be sold through their conversions

The Opposition leader said that the BJP in the meanwhile will demand special status for Goa to prevent the demographic changes in Goa due to population migration besides maintaining identity of the state.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Goa garbage burning in Margao threatens epidemic

It has been over six days of garbage burning at Sonsoddo in Margao, after some alleged miscreants set fire to the garbage at different places exposing the nearby residents of the area to toxic pollutants emanating in the air by the open turning of the garbage in a bid of trying to play spoilsport in the governments efforts to employ the services of Goa foundation an NGO, in solving the garbage problem in Margao.

This kind of brute and savage acts of some disgruntled elements have therefore become a threatening factor for the residents of Margao, Fatorda, Borda, Gogol, Housing Board and the nearby villages of Raia and Curtorim.

The incident has hopelessly exposed the lack of emergency response of the governemnt in such expedient situations and utterly demonstrated their lack of planning and co-ordination to reduce the impact of the alleged sabotage at the site.

This incident will also help fuel the demands and fears of the anti-garbage site activists who have time and again criticized the governments handling of garbage and opposed its locations all over Goa.

If the government shows such a lackadaisical response to such a grave problem affecting citizens directly, no one will trust or allow the dumping of garbage around their areas and the anti garbage stir in Bainguinim in North Goa is certain to gain momentum besides alerting all Goans about the naivety of trusting government machinery to control our lives.

Residents around Sonsoddo have already started complaining of skin and eye irritation, dry cough and throat infection, while medical experts have opined that graver long term effects such as asthma, bronchitis and lung complications especially among children and senior citizens could be detected at a later date. The central nervous system as well as the problems related to the upper respiratory tract are dangers that the residents are currently exposed to for no fault of theirs.

The area is in the closest proximity to a very popular school which thankfully is currently going through a short holiday duration being a CBSE school following a different schedule of school terms.

The government should therefore ensure that there is no stone unturned to rid the area of this dangerous menace and most importantly quell the flames and arrest the smoke affecting the residents immediately.

Health is much more important than useless festivals like IFFI which are needlessly draining the state of its resources and funds. But sadly for the government they seem to be more in demand than Goan health.

Goan sailor finally makes it to his home in Goa

It was a most longed for homecoming for Clive Fernandes, when he reached his native place Agonda in Goa on thursday Morning 29th January 2009.  The Goan lad  was one of the crew members of the hijacked ship MV delight, which was released by Somali Pirates on January 9th 2009.

The Iranian ship MV delight, which was carrying thousands of tonnes of wheat was hijacked by Somali pirates off the gulf of Aden, the ordeal which ended after the successful negotiation with the hijackers for its release and reaching the port of Iran on the night of January 9th 2009.

The hijackers hijacked only for the lure of money, was the main response that Clive gave when asked about the motive of the hijackers in hijacking the vessel. He also informed about the way the hijackers behaved with them, exerting their might over them and forcefully relieving them of their belongings like mobile phones, clothes, shoes etc. They however provided them with adequate food and all basic amenities.

Everyone obeyed the orders of the hijackers silently and patiently informed Clive while his parents thanked God for saving their only son. The incident had cast a spell of gloom over the entire family who did not celebrate Christmas nor the New year and were continuously in prayers to get back their son.

After a lapse of over 53 days, they were thankful that their prayers were answered. In the Meanwhile the supreme Court of India has slammed the central government for being ineffective in curbing Somali piracy and guarding Indians

Goa Girl Paloma Fernandes stabbed to death in Mumbai

It was a tragic case for Goa girl Paloma Fernandes, a call centre employee, in the city of Mumbai who was stabbed to death on wednesday 28th January 2009, by her alleged boyfriend Aquino Martis when she was returning back from work to her apartment in Mira Road at Mumbai.

While it seems that it may be a love affair gone wrong, it was also reported that the unemployed Martis had allegedly stolen the credit card belonging to Paloma, after realising that she had a decent amount in the bank which made Paloma alert her father to block the credit card, which neighbours suspect had been the source of anger for Martis.

Martis, a known trouble maker had allegedly threatened the building watchman on january 26th and damaged society property for which the neighbours were planning to lodge a complaint against him.

On this ill fated wednesday, Martis was stealthily hiding on the first floor staircase of the building and rushed down when Paloma tried to enter her apartment, pushing her inside the room. The watchmen, who had been accompanying Paloma to her apartment due to her anticipated fears of an attack from Martis, also suffered a bite on his index finger from Martis.

A bleeding Paloma who rushed out of the flat and collapsed in the building compound, was taken to the nearby hospital by the building residents and was declared dead. Martis who subsequently stabbed himself was shifted to hospital and survived.

Paloma's body was brought to Goa and the funeral was held yesterday 29th January from their Chandor residence in Goa amidst inconsolable weeping by siblings, parents and close family members as the shocked family went into a state of deep mourning over the sudden killing of their loved one with her parents utterly disbelieving the fact of their daughters death.

This incident should awaken Goans about the increasing danger of allowing their daughters , sisters or spouses to work alone in Mumbai and worse to reside alone in the city. Mumbai no doubt is a good place for growth in various areas and is a place for good employment sources. However one cannot take chances with women in an alien place as loneliness is normally the cause of faulty relationships and the effects of such alliances have never been good.

Also the call centre industry is a field beset with monotony and boredom which normally enthuses its employees to look for other alternative avenues to release their energies and thereby invite unwarranted troubles. We have observed how call center employees in India have been regularly attacked by differecnt people from cabbies to watchmen, to restaurateurs to waiters and even their own colleagues at different times.

One hopes that Goans take extra care with their wards who may be far away from home. May the soul of Paloma Fernandesrest in peace and may God give the family the courage to bear such a tragic loss.

Goa govt to ban sale of agricultural land

The government of Goa seems to have woken up belatedly. On Thursday the Chief Minister Mr Digambar Kamat said that his government would introduce a bill soon to ban the sale of agricultural land to foreigners reportedly on the same lines as those existing in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

While this will be a welcome step to save the prime resource of Goa from being depleted in the hands of land sharks from abroad, it does nothing to prevent land sharks from our own country in rampaging on the scarce land in Goa.

If the government of Goa is indeed sincere in its efforts to stop real estate marauders from destroying Goa and its ecological balance, then it should ensure that all land sales are stopped for people who do not have a domicile in Goa.

This would ensure two things. One, the culture of Goa would be maintained and would not get polluted over a period of time from migrants who obviously do not identify with Goan culture and are unable to imbibe proper civic sense and two, it will enable Goans to afford to buy land in Goa for their own sustenance. Currently with prices soaring, Goans themselves are unable to buy land in their own state and this could result in civil problems sooner than later.

One hopes that the Government of Goa is sincere in its efforts and not merely fooling the people with an eyewash.

Goa tourism and Goa hotels

Goa is on the world map of tourism. It is one of those places where the world tourist is having a keen eye for. Since the hippies made it famous in the sixties, Goa has found a continuous stream of people discovering it as a new haven. From the UK to Sweden to Finland and recently Russia and Israel tourism is the hallmark of this great place which basks in the glory of sun sea and sand.

For the Indian touristGoa with its rich beauty, affable people and clean surroundings is just the right kind of place you would want to chill out at after weeks and months of a monotonous lifestyle. Just bask in the sun or soak in the waters of the beach, wade through rivers and lakes, steal a look at the rich cultural heritage and the culture, sip some local brew called "Feni" sink your teeth into some delicious Goan food with fish or simply laze in the sand.Goa offers it to you all!

Accomodation in Goa is plentiful. Every kind of accomodation is available in Goa for all budgets. From the swanky seven star hotels to the poor mans' guest houses, Goa has a place for everyone. In Goa, apartments on rent are also available in abundance. But one has to be careful in choosing the right place and the right location. For good vast options in hotels in goa, the better option clearly seems to be HOTELS COMBINED who have various categories to choose from. To enquire with hotelscombined for various options CLICK HERE

For apartments in Goa a good source is "Goa Living styles" who can be contacted HERE.

Wishing everyone a pleasant stay in the paradise called Goa.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Goa Beach - a strip of paradise

The beaches in Goa were the main draw for people all over the world to recognise Goa and Goan ambience was always identified with the Goan beach. Goa beach sunsetAll kinds of references to Goa in terms of pictures and postcards or all television news had a unmistakable glimpse of the goan beach setting.

Goan beaches viewed at different times have a different appeal altogether for the avid fan of photography. For some sunset on the Goan beach is a view which one can live with forever. For others the rising sun or early dawn on the Goan beach draws more meaning.

Dawn or dusk, the Goan beach has been representing Goa, proudly showcasing its beauty for the world to see. Whoevergoa beach sunrise has been to Goa has rarely missed a trip to the beach in Goa because a trip to Goa without a visit to the beach is absolutely incomplete and therefore tourists flock to the Goa beach everytime they are in Goa, be it on study, hotel management tours, business or simply pleasure. The Goan beach has been widely regarded as a big draw for holidaying in Goa and on Goa vacations.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Moral Police raise ugly head in Goa

Of late we have been cowed down by terror in different parts of the country. terrorists from across the border have used our land to export their brand of fundamentalism without any consideration to humanity.

However in India we have our own brand of terrorists in the garb of moral police. And it is now alarming that they have begun to show their ugly face in Goa. Last week we all saw on television, some marauders beating up women outside a pub in Mangalore in broad daylight just to demonstrate to them their cultural wisdom of rights and wrongs. Who gave these rowdy class the right to brazenly attack innocent people is a question the state government of Karnataka must answer. The citizens of Mangalore must force the government to answer.

Meanwhile in Goa, we had another outfit in the alleged name of the "Shiv Sena" who thankfully does not have any presence worth the name in Goa, attacking a multiplex in Goa with their fundamentalist wisdom to stop the screening of the movie "Slumdog Millionaire". While the movie has been acclaimed by one and all in India and abroad, besides being nominated in 10 categories for the prestigious Oscar awards, these moral police seem to be unemployed and disgruntled elements who only want to shower their might against the people to blow their own conch .

How can these tyrannical brigades be allowed to take law into their own hands and terrorise citizens just because they have a different point of view? Is there no law in the land to handle censorship and other such issues? Who are these hooligans to hold people to ransom with their terror acts? Such talibanisation is the root cause of all evil and terror spreading in our country.

It is also alarming that these elements were allowed to cause disturbance in peaceful Goa. Our name can only get tarnished if we allow such goondaism to prevail in our state of Goa and allow such senselessness to go unpunished.

It is therefore the duty of the Government of Goa to identify the culprits and clamp its authority over them in the most stringent manner. We cannot allow such thuggery to hold Goans to ransom for petty political colouring, thus hurting our tourist state of Goa.

These goons should be punished without restraint. But does the government have the will to do it?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Goa real estate regulator not in sight

Agitations in Goa are currently at a new high. The construction lobby is in recoil mode and is currently squatting in an uneasy suspense. Megaprojects has become a weird word. After obtaining all licences with all methods possible, there is  another recent roadblock and its proving to be more than a handful. Opposition from the locals of Goa.

People in Goa have begun agitations against almost everything concerning real estate and post the regional plan scrapping, agitations have taken a new turn and unless the government brings in a credible regulator to regulate the real estate industry, this kind of lawlessness is likely to prevail in Goa for a long time. One wonders why the government of Goa is so reluctant to introduce a regulator for this industry.

In fact the entire country seems to be at a loss to understand why there is no regulator for such a industry in which the builder and real estate lobby is having a field day. Anything and everything that a builder does is law on its own and there is no one to ask him/her after obtaining the necessary permissions either diligently or fraudulently. It therefore seems that the power exerted by this lobby is so profound that the government is deliberately restraining itself from introducing the regulator.

Rules are flouted every day in Goa by the builder lobby and the consumer is left to either accept whatever a builder does or take recourse to courts which involves litigations which run for years or decades due to which the litigants are often discouraged to approach the courts and often abandon the case leaving the builder at an extreme advantage.

Something which should have been taken care of by the regulator by stamping its authority over the discrepancies of the builder is currently made to be borne by the common man in Goa and this is the real anti-people policy which the every government in Goa has silently but consciously been nursing. Some of the most common problems faced by consumers who buy or book real estate premises are as under

(1) In case of brokers there is no regulation. Any person without any exposure to the industry and with no knowledge of property matters or documentation is currently a flourishing broker in Goa - this has made the buyer a sacrificial lamb in many cases and could be duped with the broker washing off his hands in the matter. Main Cause: Lack of knowledge or even if knowledge is available concealing knowledge is not a directly punishable offence as of now as the broker is only a facilitator and not a party to the transaction.

(2) Failure of builders in completing projects on time as per agreement made with buyers and therefore no compensation allowed to buyers even after payment of installments on schedule.

(3) Measurement of area has been a yardstick that builders have flouted to their own advantage. Built-up, super-built up, super super built up, extra super built up and whatever they build up in their agreement seems to be the law and  while the customer pays for 100 sq m of area he/she has to stay happy with an actual 80 sq m of carpet area and there are no answers to the mathematics involved. The builder is the King and the final authority on all matters.

(4) FAR and its interpretation is something that only builders know.There are certain provisions for parking, childrens' play area, social house etc for certain number of residents but due to ignorance of the customer these are never granted in accordance with the provisions. Who is going to bell the cat?

(5) There is currently nil accountability for the work undertaken by a builder and after taking possession of the premises, if there are leakages, cracks etc the consumer is at a loss and the builder uses his own prerogative to repair the faults rendering the consumer completely frustrated and clueless about his rights.

(6) The cost per unit of real estate is something that the builder lobby decides as per market demand rather than as per regulations. These rates are in complete disparity with government rates and the resulting comparisons are a big joke. Compensations for land losers are a pittance and the same land losers cannot afford to buy a similar residence given the disparity. Who is to blame for this if not the government?

(7) For every project there ought to be a clear cut provision for garbage disposal especially in areas under panchayat jurisdiction since such areas do not have garbage management at all. Also provision for adequate additional water resources and electricity needs to be the duty of the builder. Burdening the existing infrastructure with an additional burden of residents as a fallout of megaprojects is the main cause of agitations in Goa. And no one has the will to introduce regulation.

These are a few prominent areas where builders continuously default in their duties towards the clients and unless a regulator is introduced Goa and Goans will be continuously abused. Will the government act or continue to sleep blissfully?

Xittuk Goencar

Monday, January 26, 2009

Goan kudds in Mumbai under severe threat

Goan kudds or Goan clubs as they are fondly known among Goans in Mumbai are under a severe threat of being wiped out.

Goan kudds or clubs have been existent in Mumbai since over 150 years and have been like transit homes or even temporary rest houses for lakhs of Goans over the years and hold a special place in a Goan's heart in Mumbai.

With a history of over 150 years these clubs have represented cities, villages and even wards of Goa in Mumbai, Calcutta, Pune, Ahmedabad, Karachi and even East Africa.

These kudds are currently under threat mainly due to managerial mismanagement and real estate peculiarities which have thrust these nostagic temporary residences of Goans into a fight for survival.

This has thankfully led to the birth of the "Federation of Goan Clubs in Mumbai" whose core member MR Thomas Sequeira landed in Goa to meet villagers in North and South Goa at Navelim and Mapusa respectively to hammer out a solution to the vexed issue.

Several kudds being in Old buildings have been taken over by the Maharashtra housing and Repair Board Administration (MHADA) for repairs and the kudd inhabitants have no powers over their properties due to the fact that the ownership of kudds is unclear on account of missing documentation which endangers the heritage of Goan kudds in the metro.

Kudds being unregistered and premises being rented in the names of individuals who failed to change tenancy records leading to refusal from landlords to transfer tenancy rights have put the kudds in a tight spot. Some kudd managers also played treachery by conniving with landlords to give up the rights for a paltry sum.

The members of the kudds have already had meetings in Mumbai at Jer mahal in Dhobitalao to find a solution and are now planning to codify the rules and register the clubs as charitable trusts under the Societies registration Act 1860 with the Office of the Charity Commissioner Bombay.

It is documented that Portuguese missionaries and later Goan priests are said to have started the migration in the 16th and 17th centuries to places outside Goa to form Kudds. It was also the British presence in the 18th century and their preference for Goans( owing to Goans western dress, food,  social customs etc) which is believed to have spurred the migration of Goans out of Goa.

This seems to be a wake up call for all Goans and villagers within Goa to register their clubs and protect their valuable;e property in Mumbai.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Goa Movement For Special Status

There is indeed a movement called the "Goa movement for Special staus" (GMFSS) within Goa which claims that there shall be no rest untill Goa is granted the special status without delay.

While some eminent citizens are part of this movement, it is also heartening to note that a former MLA of the last term, Mr Mathany Saldanha is spearheading the movement seeking to grant special status for the state just like that enjoyed by some north Indian states.

However one wonders that despite being in office with the BJP for over 5 years in the ruling government ,why Mr Mathany Saldanha did not come up with the brilliant idea during his tenure as a Minister is a mystery. Is it that when one is out of power or in the opposition, it is much easier to assail and put the government of the day on the mat? and thereby become a hero? for another election?

This is therefore a test of the Congress government to deliver. Why are they dragging on the issue? Why is there no comment? What is stopping them? Is there a rat in somewhere?

Special status is extremely urgent. Everything else can wait.

Xittuk Goencar

Friday, January 23, 2009

Goa and Goan Identity. Where is it headed?

We have had enough. Goa, a tiny dot on the Indian map on the western border of the country is a paradise and there is no doubt about that. We Goans are fun loving, kind and affable people and that is the reason why tourism has taken off in Goa so wonderfully well. After all its not only natural beauty of a region that defines its paradise value. The people are equally responsible ambassadors. And we have done our bit.

But we have had enough. Our own people amongst us are out to destroy Goa and with little care or caution. The lure of money has gotten into their blood streams by now and that is a bit too far to rewind them to their old selves, if there was one. They have absolutely no regret or remorse for their actions which are denigrating Goa by the day. Even popular civil movements and agitations of the people are not driving the message into their thick skulls. They need to be dumped and dusted out from every nook and corner of the Goan establishment.

Our champion citizens

While our citizens are fighting the establishment for issues against SEZ, megaprojects, language scripts, regional plans etc, we have a much more dangerous issue facing Goans today. Our Identity. A small state with minimum resources and scarce land, we have been trampled upon by all and sundry. Our lands have been bought by people from all over the world with no rhyme or reason of contributing fruitfully to the state and we stand to lose our very identity which made this beautiful place into what it is.

And the land sharks

Haphazard and gawky development for economic greed being the reason, land sharks are pumping money in large tracts of land in Goa just like a pervert man does not know how to react when he sees a virgin and pounces upon her. These land sharks have no attachment for Goa and for our values. All they see is the sense of money and in their bid to achieve their goal they find some traitors within our own community who sell this priceless treasure for a few crores and thrust Goa into the hands of treacherous plotters plotting the next big residential or industrial tsunami on us.

For whom is it?

And what use will be our hard fought agitations if Goa is not left for Goans?. What is the use of the official language konkani and all its scripts if we and our children cannot live here to use them ? What is the use of crying hoarse for our civil rights when we are bound to be outnumbered soon?

Special status now!

What Goa is therefore crying for now is a special status for Goans whereby our land is protected for our own use. Such a law is prevalent in Arunachal pradesh and Himachal pradesh in the country and it is therefore a mystery as to why the Goa government is dragging its feet to adopt a similar legislation to protect the scarce resource of Goa for Goans.

Our Goan identity is on its last verge. And we need special status before any other. Everything else can wait. Without special status we will soon see Goa bruised and battered and left without any energy to stand up. The time is now and Goans need to stand up. But will we?


Xittuk Goencar

High Court slams Parl.Sec appointments in Goa

This is a lesson and a reminder which the government of Goa must take seriously and learn from.

The division bench of the Bombay High Court, in response to a public Interest litigation, has quashed the appointments of Mr. Nilkanth Harlankar and Mr Francis Silveira as parliamentary secretaries in the state of Goa, and termed the decision as a "colourable exercise of power" done in undue haste to accomplish a political wish that does not fit into the norms of administrative function.

While retaining the cabinet status to three other respondents, the  judgement running into 108 pages by the High Court held that the action of the state in frustrating the Constitutional mandate and attempts to overreach the Constitutional restrictions is arbitrary and untenable in law.The Court while quashing the appointment of the parliamentary secretaries noted that equivalence of status and rank is clubbed with the functions, duties, responsibilites and privileges of that post.Therefore in spirit and substance they have been appointed as cabinet Ministers under the expression of parliamentary secretaries.

The decision is hardly reliable or founded on matters of policy relating to public utility but is the result of a 'wish' expressed at a given point of time to create political stability by accommodating elected members of the assembly in violation of Constitutional command contained in Article 164(1-A) such a decision can hardly stand the scrutiny of law. The court however allowed the stay on the order for four weeks for the respondents to appeal the judgement before the Supreme Court.

It may be recalled that the duo had been appointed on July 6 2007 as parliamentary secretaries in a bid to assuage their political aspirations since only a maximum of 12 members of the ruling party are allowed to be sworn in as Ministers as per the law leaving the others disgruntled and potential baits of poaching by opposition parties to destabilize the government.

The trend was reportedly in use by successive governments over the years and it needed the intervention of the High court to remind our political class of their embarrassing actions.

This should give a stern reminder to our establishment not to use and waste public money to appease themselves under different titles and loot the public exchequer for their own benefits. But can these 40 really read into that judgement, and will they ever learn? One hopes the people of Goa are watching, listening and awatiting their turn with no memory losses at the time of elections.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Goa garbage issues rotting by the day

It is a stench that the government of Goa can ill afford to ignore. From Sonsoddo to Curca, and Bainguinim, the Goa garbage issue has added to the misery of Goan streets and cities and has put citizens into extreme "stenchress".

Many will however quickly add that  Goan citizens are the real reason behind the garbage puzzle. With opposition to any and every site chosen for the garbage disposal, the government seems to be currently clueless to handle this very delicate issue affecting the state.

Politicians are also heavily responsible for the current impasse as none of them want to entertain a garbage disposal site in their constituency lest they lose their next election.One site after another meets the same fate of agitations to drive off garbage.Nobody is willing to trust the government that they will manage the garbage effectively. Old wounds die hard. Sonsoddo is grappling with stench for decades and the situation is not changing. Curca residents trusted the government who let them down with complete neglect of the garbage site rendering the villages and spring wells contaminated. The opposition from Goans is therefore justified and what the government needs to do right now is win their confidence which is shattered thanks to neglect of the state added with corrupt and greedy politics.

Amidst the hue and cry, a team of legislators, bureaucrats, and sweepers( to balance the politically enriching team) will once again go on a tour of some developing European countries or the Australian continent at our expense, in a bid to scout for some solutions and take an on-hand experience of how they handle their garbage. Never mind that they will all enjoy a clueless jamboree and ransack the entire touring funds for their much delayed appetite of abusing government money on food , drinks, music and song and when they unwind their picnic, their clueless trip will give not an inch of information about how to deal with the issue and no one will be willing to ask the wisdom of the study tour leave alone investigate their yearly expensive sojourn.

No doubt Goans dont trust garbage in their backyard with such irresponsible leaders around. Why should they? Let the legislators search for solutions. Thats what they were elected for, weren't they?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Goa and development

There have been plenty of champions in Goa in recent times taking the extra burden of saving Goa and educating the masses about what is best for Goa. For the record, most of them as per my viewpoint are doing a fair job.

After all mega projects were always a corrupt bureaucrats' mega booty. Carelessness in drawing an infrastructure parallel with rising concrete gardens has never been their consideration. For them it always meant a pleasant trip to the bank. Environmental damage and balancing the ecosystem are terms they scoffed at. They still do. They will claim that they are riding piggyback on numerous other anonymous beneficiaries.But who cares. Overall we were pushed to our own fate while the the muddy pool of deceit, loot and lawlessness was steadily growing.

SEZ's were another joke on Goa. Our 40 strange bedfellows in the assembly are more concerned about their next plot, next government , next 5-star huddle ( to save from poaching) and the next ransom accompanied with the next lame excuse for the switchover . Goans have been for far too long taken for granted to digest any excuse to change parties. After all they know that all that we are capable of is the little suffering of standing in long queues to give them their gleeful vote without protest.

The regional plan 2011 thankfully saw its death before it could rise and terrorise the citizens of Goa with its anti-Goan agenda. The new plan is currently being introspected throughout Goa and is already finding faults galore.

Now the bureaucrats and the aggrieved legislators seem to be crying foul. They use every senseless forum in preaching that Goans are against development. They may be right. Some Goans have reached to such a chronic level of opposition to development that they have started painting banners the moment they see some government officials at any village field or hill or riverside or even public playing grounds.

But who is to blame for this blind opposition? Isnt it is the legislators themselves? Are they not the ones who have helped to ransack our greenery and our sense of Goanness by their brand of development? Despite being from Goa, our legislators seem to have no care for the land . Their excuse is probably that if they start thinking about Goa like honest lambs and not pay heed to their pockets, then what guarantee is there that the next party in power will do the same and not tear down Goa to make money. Why lose a golden opportunity?

Blaming Goans in the name of haphazard development is the latest weapon that our leaders have unleashed to show their own compatriots in bad light. Instead they should reflect on their own deeds and tear their conscience to solve the imbroglio. That is if they ever had it in them.

Goans have learnt to fight back. And unless politicians in Goa become smart and understand what is the current pulse of Goa and Goans they are planning their own doom.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Goa Politics - Rare test of Manohar Parrikar

Its politiManohar Parrikarcs of a different kind in Goa. This time it is within a party not known to air its internal differences out in the open. The BJP has always maintained a silence on internal bickerings especially in Goa and therefore the revolt within, seems to have been simmering for far too long to be silenced anymore.

For the first time probably in his political career, the former Chief Minister and the current leader of the opposition is facing a piquant situation from which he is finding it unusually discomforting to wriggle out . He probably finds it difficult to understand whether his own partymen in Goa are inspiration behind the show or if it is the generous but uncalled for largesse extended to him by his Central party office which has asked him to stand up for elections in South Goa parliamentary constituency.

In his bid to drive his displeasure home, Mr Parrikar has resorted to calling the very idea "foolish" and senseless and openly expressed his unwillingness to contest elections from South Goa parliamentary seat. However strangely, his party seems to be in no mood to listen to his whims and are keen to push him to contest the election despite his high sense of reluctance.

Mr Parrikar while denying any rift from within his party, was absolutely annoyed over the persistence of shortlisting his name for the candidature even after refusing the proposal.

His reluctance was sought to be countered by Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy , the national spokesperson of the BJP and the party's in-charge for Goa, who maintained that shifting to New Delhi  would not mean end of the road in Goa politics for Mr Parrikar. Citing his "winnability" acumen, Mr Rudy opined that his promotion in the  party's political hierarchy in New Delhi does not mean a forced departure from Goa politics.

In the meanwhile Mr.Shripad Naik the party President ofshripad naik the BJP in Goa maintained that the party is more important than the individual and the traces of one-upmanship were clearly visible in the BJP with a leadership tussle awaiting to come out in the open anytime.

Will Mr Manohar Parrikar buckle to the desires of his party bosses or will he play hide and seek and deflate the grandiose plans of his detractors within the local Goa BJP? The party seems to be  in guess mode in itself.

Goa SEZ - Centre dragging feet?

The Chief Minister of Goa Mr Digambar Kamat was promised by the Union commerce Minister, of urgent action regarding the denotification of the three Special Economic Zones(SEZ) in Goa within 10 days. However although the period has lapsed nothing seems to be in sight of moving in that direction.

It may be recalled that Goa and Goans had vociferously opposed the SEZ's in a small state like Goa and after understanding the genuine grievances of the citizens, The Chief Minister promised last year that there would be no SEZ's in Goa and that he would work hard towards revocation of the draconian plans of foisting a dozen SEZ's on Goans.

However by the time the Chief Minister took the delayed decision, 3 SEZ's had already been given licences to set up SEZ's despite the protests and were engaged in the activity of construction at the three notified sites.

Scarcity of land and enraged feeling of locals at usurpal of prime land had led to the blossoming of an anti SEZ organisation christened as the "SEZ Virodhi Manch" which has been fighting tirelessly to impress upon everyone concerned about the ill effects and the social as well as the environmental fallout of the SEZ's on Goans.

Question really is are we heading towards rampant ill-planned industrialisation or are we going to focus on our milking cow which is tourism?.One hopes that Goans are not taken for a ride by the government with empty promises and hopefully we will see the back of the SEZ's sooner than later.

Xittuk Goencar

Monday, January 19, 2009

Goa opinion poll hero, still unsung.

The 42nd anniversary of Goa's opinion poll was silently observed on Friday,Jack de Sequeira, the great Goan the 16th January 2009. Barring the fervent desire of a few Goans from Calangute to observe it more gracefully by organising a function, the rest of Goa continues to lap up all the goodness that is available for Goans today by simply ignoring the day and more impo rtantly failing to give due respect and credibility to the die hard resolve of one man who had given Goa its second freedom. The charismatic Jack de Sequeira.

While freedom fighters in Goa are well aroused from their slumber at the very mention of Portugal and come out with their knives to search for probable singers of that song, they have joined mainstream Goa to conveniently forget Goa's greatest hero ever. Jack de Sequeira. But for him, Goa would have been lost in the din and clatter of a gigantic state like Maharashtra and be emptied of its identity and colour by the self styled pride of the Marathi Manoos.

It took ordinary citizens from the state of Goa, to pool their own resources to build a statue of the "Father of the opinion poll" in the village of Calangute where he belonged, simply because his fellow villagers couldn't bear to see the sense of disregard that the Goa government was heaping on their repeated requests to honour the late leader.

The Goa opinion poll was the only such poll from the public held in India due to the initiative taken by Sequeira though many other Goans also worked towards achieving the objective. The present government of Goa exists only because we had an opinion poll anjacksequeira2d kept us united as Goans. All our 40 MLA's who love their political chaos and who are able to mint their self glory can do so only because of that historic opinion poll. If not there might have been one or two MLAs from Goa representing two districts of north and south Goa in the Maharashtra assembly and their voices would have been stifled with the might of  a huge legislative assembly. None would ever see the Minister's chair either and Goa and its beauty would have been lost in the myriad ambitions of a greater Maharashtra.

The callousness of the Goa government over according due respect to Jack de Sequeira is therefore shameful and condemnable. Despite plenty of demands from various people in Goa to erect statues of the great leader in places such as Panjim and Cortalim, the government turned a blind eye to all such requests. There is no official function to honour the great leader and his great deeds either.

Instead we have statues of all and sundry in Goa, some of whom have never visited Goa. Pleasing various lobbies and appeasing strangers seems to be the political wisdom of our current lot of politicians in Goa. Festivals such as IFFI seem to be the gleeful attraction of the Goa government but honouring its own citizens for their immortal actions seems to the last thing on their mind.

Will Goa ever see the due honour and respect befitting a leader of the stature of the great Goan, Jack de Sequeira? Will January 16th ever be the most cherished day for Goa? Will the curtain of blindness drawn on the eyes of the Goa government for 42 years, ever be swept aside? Will Goans stand up and claim their lost pride?


Xittuk Goencar

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Goa Holidays

Holidays in Goa have been a wanton desire of tourists all over the Goa beach world. Goa with its natural beauty, silvery beaches, green landscapes, thickly forested hinterlands, gurgling springs, gothic architectural marvels of churches and vintage temples along with warm hearted people has long been seen as the perfect abode to get away from the maddening world.

In the sixGoa touriststies and the famed 70's the hippies dominated the Goan holiday scene with their exuberance. Beach visits were often shunned by parents for their children within Goa as the beaches had turned into a nudist paradise. I remember on our farewell picnics in my last year at school when we had chosen the Baga beach as our picnic destination, our teachers were finding it hard t o blind us(over 40 students) from the temptation of glancing at brazen nudism much to their helplessness.

Over the years, tourists have been more responsible and nudism in Goa has thankfully faded away. Replaced by it have beGoa honeymoonen tourists from allover the world who have discovered Goa to be their favourite destination. Post the hippies, the first to mingle in the holidaying in Goa were the British, who are till date among the highest to turn our at Goa. However they seem to be discouraged to come to Goa nowadays mostly due to the advent of the Russians who they claim are too loud. The Russians in the meanwhile have almost taken a great and crazy fancy for Goa. Not only do their nationals want to holiday in Goa but are also willing to buy land and settle here.Settling in Goa and buying land for foreigners is however disallowed as per the Indian government FEMA regulations.

Apart from the Russians and the Englishmen, tourists from Israel are a big draw ingoa church Goa nowadays and bring with them their cultural richness and mingle among the Goan holiday crowd. Besides these three strong tourist groups, there are pockets of tourists from Finland, Sweden, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Tourists from Asia are rare and few. Part of the reason could be that Asia as a whole is so beautiful that tourists may prefer to holiday in their own country or find the choice too wide and large to choose from.

Add to the list the domestic Indian tourist and Goa has honeymoon in Goaa handful on its plate. From the months of September to April and Middle of May Goan tourism is in full flow. However the months of November to Middle of February seem to command the highest tourist flow in Goa and therefore the rates at all tourist related places and tourist items in Goa is the highest.

Despite various setbacks this year, tourism in Goa has not been adversely hit as it was expected to and therefore one wishes that Goa tourism blooms continuously despite all the odds that the world may be facing. After all Goa is the place to unwind and remains the unstoppable destination.

Xittuk Goencar

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Goan “ nustekann”

Goa is a place of sun sea and sand. Goans are funloving and Goa can help you unwind. All facts wellknown. There is another. Goans cannot survive without their favourite staple food which is fish.

When I was a kid I always found plenty of trade being undertaken by goans on a door to door basis. One of those familiar ladies was the fisherwoman referred in goan Konkani as the nustekann.

A big panttlo on the head over a cloth roll known as the muddanso, fish of various sizes, the nustekann starts her day early. She is at the wholesale fish market as early as 4 or 5 in the morning to get the best bargain so that she can sell her stock for a healthy profit.

After making the purchase she then strolls down the village of her belonging, chanting calls of “ nustem zaiiieeeeeem ghueeeeee” which shakes up the housewives despite the sound of the kitchen mixer in full flow. The nustekann is then invited from the road by goan households with queries of what fish she carries for the day and depending upon the type of fish she gets the due invitation to sell her fish to various households.

This door to door marketing is probably the oldest of its type in Goa and people of Goa have relied faithfully on the nustekann for their daily pound of fish. In fact some Goans do not buy fish from the market even if they visit the city and instead wait specially for their nustekann to lend them their most desired delicacy.


Xittuk Goencar

Goa dairy in spotlight of Consumer council

Goa dairy's decades old milk retailing system made through a state wide network of over 600 milk booths came under critical review from consumers and activists with allegations of anomalies in pricing etc.

Members of the district consumer protection council felt that Goa dairy officials and registrar of co-operative societies should interact in order to prevent customers from being fleeced by the retailers.

Claiming that milk booths shut on an individual consumer after 15 minutes of opening, the council members complained that some retailers are allowed to buy in bulk everyday resulting in the situation.

The controller of legal metrology in Goa agreed with the council for the need to critically analyze Goa dairy's marketing plan and feared that the consumer, may be cheated due to dual pricing due to overcharging by certain retailers.

The demand was to strengthen the network of marketing and price the product appropriately

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Goa Politician

The various traits and habits of the Goa politician are endless but may be summarised in the following

1. The Goa politician is known to have high liquidity. he can be traded very easily.Many in his tribe are alleged to be able to buy and sell themselves at will.

2. The Goa politician is Chief minister material. He can occupy the chair anytime. Dont underestimate him. If he is in the opposition today, he could be whizzing in the Chief Minister's car tomorrow. Changes are that quick.

3. The Goa politician can rarely vouch that he/she belongs to any party. All parties are their bastions to rule. He can enter and exit any party at will. Whoever offers the ticket is the party and whoever denies is the opposition. This cocktail is subject to an inverse change at the last minute.

4. The Goa politician club has members who think that Goans are foolish. They change parties as if they change schools and do not need a leaving certificate. Worse, the Goan follows to vote for them for whichever party they choose as if their latest blot was their latest qualification.

5.The Goa politician flouts many a rule in the book. Laws are for the rest of the Goans. When he moves in the official vehicle on the busy Goan roads - " make way".

6. The Goa politician does not need a qualification to be one. Very often, his uncouth disposition, firebrand image and blind following of many among the masses make up for his poor grades.

7. The Goa politician has tried many tricks in the book to garner votes. Religion, language and wooing migrant voters are some of his favourite tools.

8. The Goa politician is alleged to be owning much more booty than his affidavit published in the papers before the elections, does suggest. His alleged unaccounted wealth has few taxmen running after him with sincerity. The law finds it tough to catch up with him as if he was well oiled.

9. The Goa politician hardly trusts anyone and cannot be trusted without proving it. When a government falls, he being on either side, is alleged to be open to booty talks and is normally huddled under a "panttlo" in some 5 star luxury, to neutralise his unending desires.

10. The Goa politician has discovered that Goa assembly can be his personal fiefdom. Many of his ilk have brought in brothers and sons to be part of the 40 member circus and some have tried to rope in wives but with no success so far.

11. The Goa politician has birthdays, allegedly at the cost of everyone else. His birthdays are a loud splash of birthday wish advertisements in the newspapers, supported by a full-page well pampered description about his life, his exploits and his wishful future for his subjects, along with a "happy family" photo. The actual birth day is full of personal glorification with inaugurations and laying foundation stones of bridges, footpaths, roads, kiosks, hotels, substations, zebra crossings,etc and often ends up in a carnival rally of which he is the King Momo. In his decree, his next birthday promises to be worse.

12. The Goa politician loves greenery. But its not the greenery of Goa. Not the hills and the riversides. When he says green, some opine he refers to the dollar.

13. The Goa politician has forgotten that he is a Goan. He has sold his soul to all and sundry. He hardly cares for Goa and Goans. All that he cares for is his part of the booty. He is ready to sacrifice anything that comes in its way.

14. The Goa politician has a love hate relationship with the media. He normally wants the media to report all his exploits and wants them for all his press conferences . He cries foul when they report some harsh truths.

15. The Goa politician has foes turning friends turning foes turning freinds turning foes turning friends. He seems to be continuously turning.

Of course, having mentioned all of the above there continue to be good politicians in Goa who may not fit the above list at all. We need to identify those people and try our level best to help them cleanse the rot in the system which is affecting Goa.

Xittuk Goencar

Goa megaprojects stir picks up in Nuvem

On Thursday, the town and country planning department in Margao Goa megaprojectshad a familiar voice echoing the sentiments that most Goans are screaming about. Megaprojects. The citizens Welfare committee (CWC) held a demonstration outside their office, demanding the dismissal of town country planner S M Byakod for alleged fraudulent practices and for granting permission to a Fateapur-Nuvem megaproject.

Demanding a stop work order immediately, the CWC also sought demolition of the constructed bungalows as part of the mega project. The delegation also demanded  that all cases filed by the builder against the activists be also dropped forthwith, and  called for initiation of criminal proceedings against the town planner and the builder.

Referring to the provisions of the Regional plan 2001 the CWC members questioned the permission granted to the builder to construct 41 bungalows when the law suggests constructing around 8-10 bungalows in the specified area.

Holding the town planner responsible to connive with the builder, the committee accused the  builder of cheating the district magistrate by filing a false report of conversion of land.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Goa and Casinos. A sensible combination?

Goa has been the pride of India when it comes to beach paradise.Naturally endowed with a cultural fusion of eaGoa beachst blending with the west, Goa is host to architectural marvels ranging fromGoa basilica temples and churches to Portuguese houses, verdant greenery, flora and fauna and adorable beaches. Goan people are affable and have been known to be very friendly.The tourist therefore finds Goa to be the perfect destination to unwind and leave the troubles of the world behind him.

Over the last few years Goa has suddenly earned another reason for tourists to flock to this beautiful place. Casinos. The only state in the  country to permit gambling dens legally, Goa is being currently vcaravela casino in Goa iewed as the gambling capital of the country since quite a few casinos have been operating in Goa. Initially the introduction of the Casinos were made offshore with the debut of the Caravela casino off the river Mandovi, but later these casinos have found their way onshore as well.

The systematic spread of these casinos have found few supporters within Goa. Just like the rest of the country, Goa has its shcasino roulette tableare of the tradition to frown on such organised gambling sources. Goans have always viewed casinos as an unnecessary evil  and are subjecting themselves to the impression that Goans could get corrupted by the lure of gambling thereby enticing themselves into vices leading to bankruptcy and domestic troubles within homes.

However the above fears seem to be a clear case of unfounded belief. For long, Goa, as is the rest of the country, steeped in gambling of different and players Matka, the biggest domestic troublemaker has been the fond delight of a certain large class of Goans till today. Card game betting has been another forte of all classes. Lotteries have attracted o ne and all since time immemorial and everybody has lapped them at some time or the other. More recently the modern version LOTTO has found plenty of admirers. Given the passion for soccer in Goa, betting on football matches has always been the passionate delight of different individuals and groups. The stock market shares and mutual funds, as many have found painfully in recent times have also been added to the category of gambling although many may differ on the subject. So in conclusion, it is not as if we Goans are new to gambling. We have it written rather too loud all over us.

However to mention the above different ways into which Goans have been lured into gambling does not support the need for Goans to adopt another method to relieve themselves of their hard earned money. Casinos are therefore not for us. And that is exactly what it is.

The entry fee into a casino is over Rs 200 which is an amount a Goan could ill afford merely to enter a gambling den(He would rather think to himself to be better off eating his favourite fish with that amount.) The actual money involved in playing the Casino games could therefore be out of the budget of the average Goan. This therefore dissolves the myth that Goans can be lured by these casinos. Its very unlikely.

Casinos are meant for the affluent and the rich who have that extra money to burn. They somehow enjoy the spirit of the casino. For them it is pure adrenalin driving them to these gambling Goa temple destinations for the pure pleasure of gambling and mingling in that so called high society. For Goa, it means much needed revenue. It also means employment opportunities for Goans creating jobs for various classes of individuals and the tax money earned helps the state to offset various cost heads such as education, government schemes to unemployed, doles to the elderly etc.

While we are aware that we need to promote Goa as the destination for the world tourist to be continuously interested in visiting frequently, we should ask ourselves whether we are impairing the cause by meaningless opposition when the issue is only a win-win situation Goa casino for the state. We need to cater to varied tastes of tourists an d casinos are an addition to that variety. It exhibits a tourist area's freedom of entertainment and fun. It can only do good for the revenue of Goa. Besides if some Goans do visit the casinos they are the ones who have the excessive cash such as politicians, businessmen etc., to spend on the luxuries of life and at best we should wish them good luck.

Our major enemies disrupting social life in Goa, continue to be matka, alcohol and drugs for which Goa is gaining unnecessary notoriety. These are the issues which Goans need to vociferously fight against, to ensure their abolition in Goa as it is bound to decay our society without doubt.

Xittuk Goencar

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Goans being fleeced regularly

It has j0287591become a painful story every second day in the newspapers. Conmen and tricksters have mingled in the Goan populace quite d readfully for comfort. The newspapers report everyday about helpless Goans being fleeced by various fraudsters in the open streets in broad daylight and there seems to be no end to the menace despite its alarming regularity.

The latest victim in the regular plot of conmen was an eighty year old businessman M Z ABIDEEN, a resident of Margao who was robbed of cash amounting to Rs 3.37 lakh after a conman tricked him into parting with his bag containing the entire amount. The incident occurred near the Central bank in Margao on Tuesday 13th January 2009, in the morning according to police.

The trickster apparently tricked Mr Abideen by distracting his attention towards something on the back of his shirt and therebj0287504y fled with his  bag. The incident occurred metres away from the Margao police station where the victim lodged a complaint.

Such incidents are happening in Goa on a very regular basis and there are various modus operandi's that these tricksters use to reach their goal. Goans should therefore be aware of the following methods and the possible ways to avert losing their belongings.

(1) Plot No 1: The 10 rupee gang - a person approaches you as you alight out of your car or while walking on the road and tells you that your 10 rupee notes have fallen all over the ground. There are actually some 10 rupee notes fallen. But they belong to the  fraudster who has sprayed them there to distract you. The moment you are busy collecting the fallen notes, somebody else enters your car and relieves you of something much valuable. By the time you have realised it, you are left with 20 notes of 10 rupees and relieved of thousands of notes worth probably lakhs.

Remedy: Do not show any greediness for those 10 rupee notes. THINK HARD. You never had so many notes in your pocket. They are not yours. So if somebody asks you to pick up notes which are fallen just raise an alarm and help the fraudster in a thrashing.

(2) Plot No 2: Conmen as Cops -  You will suddenly find one or two men j0290865masquerading as cops accosting you and making all sorts of enquiries about you suddenly in the middle of the street , road, highway or village. They frighten you after quoting some false restrictions apparently imposed by the government. Further, they implore you to remove all your jewellery and cash and put it in a hand kerchief and hand it over to them so that you are safe from thieves. By the time you have blinked, they are gone. Cops? No buddy they are rogue fraudsters.

Remedy: Anybody approaches you, seek their identity. If they scare you with the police uniform call the police station number( 100) from your mobile or from a coin box nearby. Dont fall for any of their worthless talk. Remember you are innocent and are being framed just to fleece you. Raise an alarm and draw the attention of passersby and hand these men over to the real cops.

(3) Plot No 3: Helpers in a bank - You have just withdrawn cash and somebody offers to help you or ask your pen or strike a juicy conversation which eventually ends up in you handing over your bag full of cash to him under some pretext of the other and left busy in helping him write his pay slip by which time he has already boarded a bus to get his next victim

Remedy: Remember anytime you have cash in your hand you need to be extra careful. talk to no one except people whom you know and trust. Decline your pen or cut conversations with anyone. Your politeness and overflowing love can wait for another day. Today with a bag of cash in your hand you are a lamb in the eyes of some greedy vulture. Keep away from strangers and their needless advice. Shut up, hold your bag tight and if attacked raise an alarm instantly.

(4) Plot No 4 : Shop Gang - Four or five people enter a shop. part of the team is a woman which makes them look like a legible family shopping team. One member strikes a conversation with the sales guy and the other keeps another sales guy busy. the third one is busy handling the products and the fourth is looking out for any predators who may be watching. The third leaves with the booty and the fourth follows . the fourth and the fifth make the discussion juicy and then are the last to leave, promising to be back soon. All four are heading for a party.

remedy: Do not keep demonstration items in full public control. Sales staff ought to be vigilant when more than two people enter a shop. Raise an alarm as soon as there is suspicion. It wont cost you anything

(5) Plot No 5: Jewellery hunters : Conmen enter a jewellery store and after checking out various items relieve the owner of some items by distracting his attention. Second mode is they often come to the shop masquerading as influential businessmen or naval officers and buy many jewellery items paying cash. When they come next time they hatch a plan. They select a variety of items and seek the shopkeepers help in escorting his person with them to collect the cash from their home. They carry the items and then leave the escort in the car and flee away. The car is later found to be a stolen one.

Remedy : DO not trust anyone just becasue he made a genuine purchase before. Crooks are lurking to find stupid greedy shopkeepers who want to make business at a high risk.

Despite over 50 odd cases of above fraudulent means the government of Goa has done very little to nab the culprits or appropriately secure citizens from this menace. There have been no directives to citizens to follow, nor guidelines to adhere on this issue and Goans have to hope for good luck to save themselves. Goa is therefore turning out to be a delightful venue for all treacherous frauds.


Xittuk Goencar

Monday, January 12, 2009

Goa Government lethargy may cost lives.

It is indeed a shame that the government of Goa has yet again exposed its callousness in fulfilling its obligations made to a service provider after entering into an agreement.

It has now nearly become a habit for the Government of Goa and its departments to take things rather carelessly and in turn invoke the ire of the service provider.Failure to make payments on time seems to be a shameless habit of the Goa governemnts' character which is bound to keep away all service providers from executing their works.

The latest victim of the government apathy has been the Drishti Special Response Services( DSRS) a service provider who has been providing services to save lives on Goa's beaches with a novel concept called "The Surf Life Saving Goa"( SLSG). SLSG is a concept of beach management with a special emphasis on saving people from drowning introduced by DSRS on the eleven beaches of Goa which is a 20 kilometer coastline.

DSRS has now decided to withdraw their services on account of the governments inability to pay their dues amounting to over 5 crore as reported in a section of the media. With the failure of payment being the reason for DSRS to wind up their highly skillfull and successful bay watching  operations, due to the lackadaisical attitude of the Goa government, this incident will add to the reluctance of entrepreneurs to risk undertaking any projects which could benefit the people when the government is a payee.

In Goa we are well aware that deaths due to drowning are a regular feature on almost all the beahes of the state and the tragedy is most often averted with the help of life-guards. Unmanned shorelines without professionally trained lifeguards could therefore be new wanton death traps for beach revelers and would therefore affect tourism hugely, the effects of which will one day invite wrath of the locals. However it could be too late by then.The bird(tourist) will already have flown into another nest.

The avenues of employment with such endeavours for the local Goans are also aplenty and the same will be snatched away form Goans and thereby deny them their livelihood which seemed quite secure some time ago.

The government uses a lot of fanfare to launch such projects with huge advertisements  and a host of political jugglers swallowing a lot of adulation at the time of introducing such projects. However they fatefully meet their watery grave and the cost of such an exercise is never known to the common man. The suffering however is there for all to see.

These situations therefore throw up a few questions. Is there a corrupt rat involved in the whole issue? Someone who could not be accomodated and is failing to release the payment? The government of Goa needs to show its credibility in this case, else no one is going to believe any of its assurances in future.

Meanwhile the governemnt better take up the beach management on itself immediately rather than dilly dally on its part thus thrusting precious lives in risk.

Xittuk Goencar

Friday, January 9, 2009

Goa reels under fuel shortage

Panic seems to have gripped Goa and Goans as the strike of the employees of Indian Petroleum companies seemed to have its effect on Goa as  much as it has all over the country.

Long serpentine queues of two wheelers and four wheelers were seen at various petrol pumps throughout Goa, most of them spilling over busy roads, jeopardising vehicular movement and causing trafiic jams at various places.

With the exception of the pumps of Hindustan petroleum, other gas stations ran out of stock as they were supplied their last stocks of petrol and diesel on Wednesday 7th January 2009.

The general perception among the people of Goa is that if the strike continues for a couple days more,the entire transport system, both public and private would inevitably come to a standstill and affect households as well.

Such a crippling strike by the employees of the oil companies to hold the general public to ransom is absolutely uncalled for and strict action needs to be taken against such errant employees as fuel as a commodity is in the "Essential" category and its continuous shortage could be even life threatening in some cases of emergencies.

Meanwhile the state government of Goa has invoked ESMA ( Essential Services Maintenance Act) late last night on thursday, in a bid to thwart a complete paralysis of the movement of the people and goods, with fuel stocks continuously depleting with the oil companies.

Meanwhile the prices of vegetables and other essential commodities have suddenly risen owing to the crisis imposed due to the truckers strike.

The government needs to take some stringent action against such unlawful acts on the part of some employees of the oil companies as well as the chronic truck-strikers lobby to ensure that the common man does not have to face hardships in daily life.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Manmohan Singh assures Goan delegation over Mhadei

The meeting of the Goan delegation with the Prime Minister wasManmohan Singh met with an assurance from Mr Manmohan Singh that the Central government will look into the matter of setting up a tribunal in order to adjudicate the dispute on the Mhadei river water diversion between Goa and Karnataka.

The Chief Minister of Goa Mr Digambar Kamat, who led the all party delegation to the Prime Minister brought to his notice, the various violations by Karnataka, despite orders to stop work on the project by central authorities as well as the Supreme Court.

The gravity of the issue was highlighted by the fact that it was a rare occasion when an all party delegation from Goa consisting members of all political parties from Goa called in unison on the Prime Minister over the vexed issue.

The Chief Secretary Mr JP Singh, water resources Secretary , Chief Engineers and Superintending Engineers of the Water resources dept were also present on the occasion. The Chief Minister also met the Union Commerce Minister Mr Kamal Nath to apparently urge him to de-notify the Economic zones in the state.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

All party delegation from Goa to meet Manmohan Singh today over Mhadei

A 10 member all party delegation from Goa is expected to meet the Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh on Wednesday 7th January 2009 to seek the urgent intervention of the centre in the dispute between Goa and Karnataka over the Mhadei water diversion issue and seek his help in setting up a River Dispute tribunal to adjudicate the dispute between the two states as the Mhadei is an inter state river.

While officials from the water resources department are also part of the team, the all party members which includes MLA’s and Ministers are excpected to reach before Wednesday to join the Chief Minister Mr Digambar Kamat who is already camping in New Delhi.The meeting is scheduled to be at 5.15 pm on Wednesday evening.

The delegation from Goa has prepared a report with documentary evidence to present before the Prime Minister about the illegal work undertaken by the Karnataka Government despite restrictions imposed by the court and other central agencies.

The delegation comprises of the Home Minister, Me Ravi Naik, the water resources Minister Mr Felipe Neri Rodrigues, Mr Manohar Azgaonkar ( all from the Congress), The Revenue Minister Mr Jose Phillip D’Souza(NCP) the Health Minister Mr Vishwajit Rane (independent), the Transport Minister, Mr Ramakrishna Dhavlikar(MGP) , Mr Atanasio Monserrate ( unattached member) Mr Francisco D’Souza and Mr Milind Naik ( BJP). The Rajya Sabha member Mr Shantaram Naik is also expected to be a part of the delegation.

One hopes that our elected representatives present their case very strongly to rightfully influence the Prime Minister to use his good offices to ensure that Karnataka falls in line and adheres to directives of the Court in ensuring that Goa and Goans do not have to suffer and the beautiful Mandovi continues to flow like always before.
Xittuk Goencar

Monday, January 5, 2009

Curtorim Gram Sabha feels the heat of mega projects

Curtorim segoa opposes mega projectsems to be the latest entrant in the series of cities and villages opposing mega projects in the state of Goa. The special Gram sabha convened at Curtorim on Sunday January 5 2009, witnessed heated discussions over proposed mega projects in the village of Curtorim.

The project of a Delhi based real estate developer took centre stage as villagers of Curtorim took strong objection to his project whicGoa mega projectsh planned for over 150 flats on an area of 26,000 square kilometers. The villagers were also upset over the order passed by the additional director of Panchayats directing the Panchayat of Curtorim to process the file of the mega project within a stipulated time.

While pointing out vehemently that the project is being planned in an “orchard zone” marked in the draft plan 2021, the villagers smelt a fraud in the grant of approvals for the project.

Apprehensions of water scarcity, surmounting garbage and spurt in vector borne diseases were expressed by the locals of Curtorim regarding the project and the gran sabha therefore resolved to confront the higher authorities on the matter.

The draft regional plan RP 2021 also came in for discussion at the gram sabha with criticism from the villagers for failure of the panchayat to convene a meeting for its discussion.

Friday, January 2, 2009

3 Goans dead. Is Goa chronic to New Year tragedies?

New yeaaccident in Goar revelry in Goa comes for a high price. It has already snuffed out the lives of 3 Goans on New years evewhile on a celebration spree. Every year the New years eve and New years day sems to be a death knell for many in Goa which leaves families in utter mourning instead of happily celebrating the New year.

Fast cars, heady speeds and a mix of dance, music, song added to the spirits of wine seems to be a combination that Goans are finding too hard to handle at New years time and are willing to take chances with their lives.
Three Goans dead
Three Goans were killed in two separate incidents on New years day. 26 year old Melbert Pinto from Karaswada and Shreeharsh Diukar 27, from Porvorim were killed in an accident at Mapusa when they left the dance venue midway and lost control of the maruti Swift which Diukar was driving, ramming it into a tree and meeting with death on the spot.

The other mishap occurred when Mr Christopher Pires from Bhatulem, while returning from a New year party dashed on an oncoming pick-up truck on the slope at Nio Dona Paula sustaining serious injuries and was declared brought dead in GMC hospital.

Such incidents can be so painful for the entire family on such a joyous day such as New year and also with the Christmas season still on, it is a moment that the family will be haunted with, every year at Christmas time.

This phenomenon of deaths due to accidents on New years day is a foregone conclusion in Goa and in fact Januaries of every year account for the maximum deaths with the New years day the major day of death in Goa.

Goans need to be responsible
With such information of death statistics available with us, Goans should behave mGoa accidentore responsibly on New years day and traffic police should infact ensure that drunken driving does not escape their attention on New years eve as drinking and driving seems to be the main culprit of such incidents on this boisterous night.

Even while people in Goa have become more responsible( or rather forced by traffic cops) wearing helmets on Goan roads, according to the traffic education cell, there is a major accident on Goan roads every 2 hours and accidents claim one life every 26 hours.

These are alarming statistics. The government ought to find the root cause and ensure better road sense in Goa

Xittuk Goencar

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goa says Goodbye to 2008! Hello 2009!

Goa gets the busiest on New years eve every year. Jam packed roads, serpentine traGoa rings in New Yearffic queues, al kinds of performers headed for different destinations within Goa, Churches bracing for mid-night masses, dance venues agog with the hustle and bustle of a great party and homes with relatives and friends pooling together to ensure that new years time is celebrated with the Goan spirit which never fades.

Whatever reason that people from all walks of life in Goa stayed up for, the spirit was upbeat although celebrations were mandatorily toned down in comparison to previous years of uninhibited indulgence.

Last night, it wa again that amorous time of the year in Goa on New years eve. A time when Goa played host to various kinds of people from all over the country and from different parts of the globe to soak in the revelling Goan spirit. Despite the numbers not swelling over the previous years, they did not dwindle this year and in fact the revelry was there for all to see.

For the Indian tourist, the boat cruises in Goa hold a swaying appeal and many prefer to ring in the New Year on the boat cruises. They build up the crescendo for that greatest midnight moment by drink, smoke , music and dance in absolute gay abandon and when the clock does strike twelve at midnight there is a boisterous burst of greeting and hugging each other as they continue their loud cheer.

There are also the great photographic moments to capture at midnight, when the sky is literally swamped with fireworks and the dazzling display leaves everyone gasping for a long time.

The starred hotels in Goa are probably at their busiest best during New years time with guests packed in and willing to indulge in the very late hours of the night. The alcohol flows there abundantly and tourists compete in drinking competitions. That propels Indian tourists especially to shake their oversized frames like never before and they would like to keep pace with everyone including the lissome Russian belly dancers, sometimes their imitations bordering dangerously close thereby warranting intervention.

Then there are those who have a quiet outing at a restaurant or at a coffee shop. For those who prefer to stay away from the din and the clamour this is the perfect moment to share sweet somethings and cuddle with each other at the precious strike of midnight. Friends and relatives also sometimes prefer to spend a quiet evening with close ones ina small pub or restaurant for a change. Sing-songs and rapturous spontaneity of one-liners accompany such great gatherings which may also be restricted to homes especially the Old goan houses which play host to the entire generation of the family to take part in the New Year revelry with Auld Lang Syne playing down for a long time.

For the boisterous party goers of Goa, the regular dance haunts had indeed increased this year over last year in sharp contrast to the terror factor. People rocked the night in celebrations from North to South Goa letting their hair down much longer than usual. With the best of Goan bands doing the service at all the dance venues, the party magic had indeed caught everyone mystically just like it does every year.

The only missing part of the whole entertainment jigsaw of Goa was the quiet on the beaches which always spring to life at New Years time . But the beach sides were nevertheless lit up with the fireworks emanating from the hotels on a regular basis after midnight.

All in all it was a wonderful way for Goa to usher in the New year 2009.

Xittuk Goencar

Goa’s date with the “Old Man“ every December

The “Old Man” has been burnt down.And gone down with him are the memories that were a large part of 2008. Goa has just ushered in a new year as much as the rest of the world did.

So if you send out the old you need to ring in the new. Memories of 2008 were therefore written off on 31st December 2008 and a new voyage of 2009 has begun its script.
old man in margao goa
All over Goa, Goans faithfully kept their favourite year-end date with the “Old Man“, with thousands of effigies of the “Old Man” who apparently saw the whole of 2008 and grew old with it, were made in almost every nook and corner of Goa. Each village had almost 4-5 effigies in different places with youngsters narrating the writhing laments of the “Old Man” , his anguish, his pain, his sufferings, his joys, his sorrows, all of which were encountered by him in the year 2008.

The “Old Man” is a character , which is a favourite among Goan youth at the end of every December when one sees a typical life-sized dummy whose carcass is constructed out of sticks and hay or any soft material, sandwiched with plenty of fireworks, dressed aptly with old clothes, a cap on his head( sometimes left bald with hair shoots on the periphery of his pate) seated in Goan succegaad style on a free wheeling cranky chair , a bottle of Goan feni in hand and a thick cigar clenched between his few teeth.
old man in panjim goa
In some countries the Old man is also a depiction of some despised character or a very unpopular political figure, an enemy of the state or any character which projects a despicable outlook to vices.

In Goa the “Old Man” carries as much nostalgia among the young and old as does any other thing culturally specific to Goa. People look forward to the sight of this amusingly cocky “Old Man” who is accompanied by youngsters from the neighbourhood, mainly children who would pass around a hat for contributions which would then make their New Year day’s party.

old man in Vasco goa
However nowadays in Goa, modern methods are employed and sometimes the “Old Man” is kept by the roadside in villages or on highways as youngsters stay at a distance exchanging some banter on a mike with a well connected sound system, imploring the crowds with the sentiments of the “Old Man“ and subtly seeking their contributions in a very amusing manner.

The “Old Man” then keeps his date with his doom, when the youngsters gather after the midnight mass in Goa and set the effigy afire with the firecrackers bursting out in the din of music and song and great camaraderie with the young and the old mingling wonderfully
Old man in Mapusa Goa
So this year 2008, just before Auld Lang Syne could rent in the air, the “Old Man” and all his musings went down in ashes with him. For it was time to burn out the old and bring in a brand new year to the fore. 2009 greeted Goa with the same gusto as yesteryears and despite the terror threats, Goa ushered in the New Year with the fervour and gaiety that only Goa is so well known for.

Via Goa! Viva 2009!

Xittuk Goencar

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