Fri, 28 Feb, 2020

Ushering in the real Goa of our dream

We must believe clean, green Goa is our birthright and it is time to wake up from our lackadaisical lifestyle, regroup ourselves for a better future

Story: Dr | Joe | 06th November 2019, 02:37 Hrs

Dr Joe D’Souza

The health of a society is knitted around the economic strength of its people. The economically weak and poor society is incapable of standing upto the challenges of sanitation, pollution and the

need for balanced nutrition and clean environment. The poor quality of air, water and soil allows for the dissemination of pestilence and diseases.

An unhealthy mind leads to the development of a diseased society, where illiteracy leads to degradation and degeneration of cultural,social, political and economic growths of our society. In the midst of deprivation and poverty, discrimination and exploitation grow, with the rich and the stronger marginalizing and suppressing the marginalized poor majority. 

History teaches us that when the mute marginalised majority allow themselves to be governed and ruled by a minuscule few by allowing themselves to remain subdued and tortured, injustices seem to be accepted as part of our fate and destiny.

It is a matter of shame that we are made to pay huge taxes on each and every facility by those in governance. We are made to pay taxes, fees and fines from birth to our death. We pay on what we earn and also pay on our saving. We pay for all we eat, drink and serve. Road tax, house tax, garbage and sanitation tax, all of these. Paradoxically even our savings in banks are unsafe, usurped often as non-performing assets by corrupt wilful lending policies, under the evil eyes of the banking officials, politicians, bureaucrats and a naive businessman taking the loan which he never returns.

In a democracy, we consider the people as supreme masters, but sadly in our country, we have abrogated the powers on to our elected representatives, who promise us service and security.

Instead of using the money collected in taxes and other revenue generating scheme, on welfare and prosperity measures of our society, we see our money siphoned off and squandered by the corrupt and greedy political and the bureaucratic class in connivance with the obliging business class.

The public at large suffers and dies due to the man-made disasters of misgovernance and malfunctioning of our economy. We have destroyed the primary and secondary sectors of our economy. Our tertiary service and hospitality sectors are in shambles, our infrastructure is crumbling precariously. We as people find it enduring and acceptable to drive over potholed roads, consume dirty water laden with enteric bacteria from sewage percolating into our water pipelines. We accept meekly that adulterants in food have permissible limits. Even the drugs like Ranitidine which are banned and stock frozen in the international markets, due to cancer-causing nitrosamines being detected in the raw materials are available freely in “free India”.

Our country of 1.2 billion people has 65 per cent who are below the age of 30 years. Sadly our youth are facing severe unemployment as manufacturing units are closing down due to subdued purchasing power of people. We fail to realize that if the people are jobless, there would be no money to buy food let alone cars, refrigerators and other luxury and non-essential items.

With onion and tomato prices shooting and skyrocketing, the existence of the common man has become challenging. The press, especially the print and the electronic media, are warned to remain silent on issues hurting the common man but sing praises of schemes dished out by the government.

In Goa, we have proudly declared ourselves as open-defecation free. On Gandhi Jayanti, I personally visited and conducted a visual field study and found open defecation rampant on almost all the beaches of North Goa. Open urination in central Panaji, where I reside, is a daily routine.

The Prime Minister of India may be honest about keeping India as clean, green and serene but in Goa, particularly, the political imports and changing faces of ministers in the ruling front have the planning and governance of our state.

We have no coastal zone regulations in place, our shack policy is in

shambles and our agriculture is at an all-time low. Our garbage management is in shambles across Goa. The electricity department has failed to collect the power-bills running in hundreds of crores from both the public and the private sectors for years.

Although we had 150 inches of rainfall, the water woes of the citizens mount due to interrupted and unregulated water supply through the PWD network due to choked filters, broken water pipelines, power failures and manipulation of release valves by the corrupt water staff who divert water to powerful business houses, VIP and the tanker lobby. The groundwater bill exists only on paper and the water tanker lobby makes a killing by selling water to the hotels and the commercial lobby.

The most common reason for the degradation and deterioration of the service supply chain is the fact that Goans, by and large, have become lethargic. Our general attitude is, “Mhaka kideak poddlem”. We think it’s a favour and privilege if an MLA or a minister provides us with water or ensures steady power supply.

Interestingly, citizens fear to protest because they think those in power have enough power to curb and quell dissent through arbitrary arrests, cutting down on essential services or even harassment by withdrawing licences and permissions which are under the powers of the government.

We are exposed to the calling of all those who challenge and resist the diktats of the government as anti-national, inviting upon themselves the charges of sedition and inciting sentiments of the general public.

We must believe that clean and green Goa is our birthright and we have to wake up from our lackadaisical lifestyle and regroup ourselves to evolve and involve into a revolution directed towards acquiring the powers unto 

ourselves leading to peace, justice and prosperity for all.

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