Thursday, February 19, 2009

Goa's flip-flop governance

Crisis seems to be the new buzzword for Goa. If there is any common word underlining the various problems faced by the state, "crisis" is the word. And it is not imposed on us through external forces. It is as very evidently seen, "man made". In fact made by men from Goa.

Dim witted foresight coupled with greed and the lust for riches for a select few, seems to be the most lethal combination for Goa's downturn. If the political leadership of Goa had shown some honest application and mere foresight, Goa would have been the state to set an example for the rest of the country. Ironically, we are exactly the opposite.

While the quick change of political parties and chairs has been the country's favourite Goan joke, our leaders who remain in their chairs for some time seem to be least concerned to solve the problems of the state.

Garbage has continued to be a stumbling block for far too long and it has taken the High court to remind our bureaucracy of their duties. Does this bode well for a tourist state like Goa?

The garbage problem is something which has been willfully ignored since liberation, thereby showcasing the complete lethargy in governance of successive governments in the state of Goa. Opposition to acquiring  land for garbage disposal in any part of the state is therefore justified, given the record of the government in managing garbage.

However there seems to be no serious garbage committee in place to sort out this most important issue for Goa. Village panchayats should have been made to sort out their own garbage issues within the village instead of burdening other sites of other villages. It should be a constituency driven action which would force individual villages to manage their own garbage or face the consequences themselves.

However many garbage contracts and many cheque payments later, we are still at square one and the concerned Ministers and bureaucrats who employed half-hearted measures are answerable to no one.

The regional plan 2021 is another plaguing problem affecting Goans with almost no clarity in sight. The plan has been put forth at various gram sabhas in the state and there has not been a single gram sabha who has accepted the plan in its present form and complained of gross irregularities and non-conformance to existing realities on the ground vis-a-vis the proposed regional plan. There have been allegations of rivers, springs, fields and even churches and other monuments  having been erased from the face of the plan. What will be the outcome of such a shoddy exercise? Will it meet the aspirations of the people to ensure that no haphazard and unqualified development takes place? Or will the people of Goa be taken for a ride with manipulations and back-door treachery?

The highway alignment in Goa is another pointer to the meaningless development through thickly populated Goan residential belts thereby avoiding the dwellings of the high and mighty and drawing plans for the destruction of poor or middle class Goans.Has  anybody heard of a politician or a top businessman losing land in Goa for a road?

Besides the compensation offered to such land losers like the aggrieved people of Nuvem, is another pittance. It is believed that they will alternatively be alloted land in far away places such as Canacona and the hinterlands or be paid a very very small fraction of the market price. Is this justified? Should Goans be happy with this kind of destructive development which makes them homeless and poor?

The governments chickening out on implementing the latest techniques of recording attendance in government establishments is another indication of the fragility in decision making which has emboldened such elements to oppose any move in bringing about efficiency in the government systems. It is the prerogative of the government to employ whatever means are deemed fit for smooth and responsible governance and the opposition to all kinds of arm-twisting tactics should have been clamped with an iron hand. Instead we saw a meek unwinding of hope.

Currently there seems to be a toothless response to every opposition much of which is to protect individual interests. There is no clarity on development projects or what is expected  to balance developmental projects. No infrastructural guidelines. Instead, whoever is lucky is the winner. There is no policy statement, no innovation and no direction whatsoever. Only half-baked policies with ample loopholes are ruling the complete breakdown of the administration.

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