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Floriano's Sunday Ramblings-16 - "Of Development; Footmats & Banyan Trees"

I have found out that the word ‘development’ is so glib that one tends to use it even while one opens one’s fly to relieve oneself. Apparently, I am talking about the ‘development’ in the masculine gender when I make a reference to the ‘fly’. And I expect that feminine gender will absolve my impudence for saying so.

And the other day, the status of Goa as the number one State in India (as boasted by Manohar Parrikar during his tenure) was exposed at Mapusa, at the office of the Deputy Collector, Mr. Corjuemkar. It so happened that last week, I was the early bird, having parked my car at the vast parking area of the complex and gone about my business upstairs, early, so that I was able to do the follow-up work in Panjim. When I came down, my car was blocked by at least 4 two wheelers, with no parking attendant in sight. I had to beg some friendly visitors to help me shift the locked-up vehicles so I could leave the place.

Yesterday, (22 Aug. ’06), I used my scooter to go to the complex so that I didn’t have to worry about the free for all parking where most of the parking is taken up by the fish market shoppers. But to my dismay, when I came down looking at my watch if there was enough time to go back to Moira, get into the car and make a dash to Panjim, I saw that two 4 wheelers (Scorpio & Sumo) were blocking the line of parked two wheelers, including my scooter, locked-up with the drivers missing. My next and immediate move was to say hello to the Dy. Collector on the 1st floor. When he enquired about my well being, I flatly told him that he would have to stand me lunch as I could not go home. And the ball started rolling. He called the Executive Engineer, P.W.D., Mr. Bhonsle in Panjim, who is supposed to put the parking arrangement of the complex in order from last 12 months. And the worst thing, the Dy. Collector told him that he has a scorching problem on his hand, that he better talk to the NGO guy who is eating his brains right now, and passed on the phone to me. As usual Mr. Bhonsle tried to pass the buck. I stopped his diatribe of working woes and told him that he was not doing the job for what he is being paid for, from my tax money. I told him that if the parking arrangement is not put in order within fifteen days, I will see to it that he looses his job. I also told him that since he is in charge of the maintenance of the complex, he better put a sweeper on a regular basis and have the complex’s common places cleaned-up on every day basis, the mess which has not been attended to for at least a month (staircases & stairwells). I also saw it fit to tell him that even a ‘pig’ will feel uncomfortable entering the complex, leave alone a person such as I, the honorable Dy. Collector, the hon. ex –Chairman of the Mapusa Municipal Council (who was present), the Asst. Engineer (P.W.D) whom the Dy. Col. had sent for, etc.

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As I left, many people who witnessed the show-down gave a thumbs-up sign and one person even came down with me to photograph the mess under the stairwells of the complex. By that time, half the complex was already clean and the sweeping frenzy had just dropped from the skies above.

Sunday saw the well attended Gram Sabha of Moira. To start with, two salaried Ward Members were found reading newspapers during the ‘reading of the minutes’ of the previous GS, which was a literal bore, as the Secretary was tolling a cracked-up bell rather than reading the minutes (bad hand-writing of the previous Secretary). The first flak was on the reading of the newspapers by Ward Members during the GS. It was politely suggested to the Chairperson (by me) that proper decorum and etiquettes must be observed. When another GS member raised the topic of inefficient reading of the minutes, where he explained that the exercise was so boring, people resort to read newspapers. At that mention of the reading of the newspapers, one Ward Member ( who happen to be my Ward Member) strongly challenged the GS member to ask him if the member had any problem if he read the newspaper. In the following ruckus, the GS was abandoned through a walk out by all GS members with the instruction to the BDO representative to hold the same next month. A public meeting is being called to discuss two issues. (1) To ask for the suspension of the Ward member for challenging the GS member on newspaper reading. (2) To discuss the surreptitious passing of the tender by the Panchayat for building of a permanent MS fabricated ‘Shamiana’ at the Moira Bridge (costing 1.67 lakhs), for displaying Ganesh idol for the coming Ganesh festivities, all within the road set-back area, and even without the knowledge of the concerned Ward Member.

Development in a Democracy must be such that the same is utilized by one and all, irrespective of religion. This above move by the Moira Panchayat is just one of the minute items that go by as development to further the vote-bank politics, which has infiltrated even the Panchayat system of governance. Should we develop religions with public funds? is the million dollar question. Panchayats, Zillas, and the Secretariat are being used and misused by the fishermen of votes to promote religions. And sadly this goes by as DEVELOPMENT. We are told that Gram Panchayats were operated under banyan trees by our forefathers. But today, Gram Panchayats and Governments themselves are used as foot-mats to further the cause of self-enrichment, left, right and center. ( the above proposed, sanctioned & built Shamiana will not cost even Rs.50,000/- at best thereby the rest going into the linings of the vested pockets)

This will stop, starting from 11th and 12th September, 2006 when GOA will observe two massive public rallies in Margao and Panjim respectively. These rallies are organized by THE PEOPLE OF GOA, NGOs and like-minded political parties with just one objective. ‘ ELECT FRESH FACES IN THE COMING ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS.’, on a written down programme to make them accountable and responsible for the governance they will dish out.

The Goa Su-Raj Party had proudly stated in the year 2000 that “THE REVOLUTION HAS JUST BEGUN – DON’T BE LEFT OUT’ That beginning of the REVOLUTION has come around a full circle and will engulf Goa’s dynastic politics and politicians and suffocate them into a miserable void. VIV’LA REVOLUTION – GOA’S STYLE.

And the headline on GT (Aug. 23, 2006) captioned “Buried under, mangrove rescued” is a resounding victory for the people of Goa. It all started when Patricia Pinto of PMCA (People’s Movement for Civic Action) phone me to say that the Merces Mangroves are being killed by greedy owners by clandestinely encouraging garbage, thrash and rubble to be dumped in the vast expanse of the very vital mangroves, off the NH-17 (Bambolim Bypass) with a request if I could photograph the same as the ones taken by her were not good enough. Not only did I spend two hours to do the trick, but also got the photographs printed in colour on green sheets at Suraj dot com, Panjim, and gave them to her (some twenty odd pictures). Since my Garbage ‘Writ Petition 3/2005 was in the final stages, it would have to be a fresh Writ Petition at best. This was left for Patricia to decide. But Patricia did the most intelligent job. She went to the Chief Secretary with the bundle of woes. He took up the matter and Voila! Through the Revenue Department, the culprits are not only jolted, they have been ordered to clean up the entire mess. If this is not the VICTORY for the ‘people of Goa’, and in particular, victory for the PMCA headed by Patricia Pinto and GEAG (Goa Environmental Action Group) of which I am the General Secretary, I don’t know what else is.

Long Live the Fight to keep the Environment of Goa in general, Clean and Healthy.


Goa Su-Raj Party has been in existence since 31/08/2000.




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