Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Untouchables of Porvorim

Much like the mafia gangs in Chicago, who were a law unto themselves, our gang of 40 seem to be heading along the same route, following the same behavioural patterns. Arrogance, utter contempt for the law, taking unilateral decisions which affect the lives and futures of all and no one can touch them. The mafia families were known as the Untouchables. The only difference is that our guys are adept at pulling so many red herrings with statements and retractions and counter statements out of their collective hat; one does not know what the actual truth is. Until we take off our blinkers and see the stark reality.

The mafia built its empire on liquor and gambling. Here in Goa, the number of bars, pubs and liquor shops way outnumber the churches, temples, mosques and roadside shrines put together. Robberies take place over and over again, each heist getting larger and more impudent. And the cops shrug it off while our elected reps don’t even bother to discuss it any more.

They give with one hand and take away with the other. Thirteen mines are facing closure because they lie in the vicinity of the wildlife sanctuaries. Yet the Goa government’s Draft Mineral Policy allows mining near the state’s wildlife sanctuaries.

You have current news stories hitting the headlines around the world, that Man’s ravaging of Nature is the sole cause of Nature striking back. When we abuse our mountains, our hills, our forests and our rivers, Nature hits back in greater measure.

More worrying, the Mineral Draft Policy does not permit mining within wildlife sanctuaries and national parks “for the time being”. This is the language of the current 40 representatives of the people of Goa. “For the time being” and “in its present form” are phrases that strike a chill into my very bones. It is their solution to all problems. Like themselves the solutions are temporary. Only the problems remain permanent.

What’s facing Goa’s next few generations is too horrible to put into words. In a few short decades these 40 representatives we have selected to manage our inheritance for ourselves and for our descendants have managed to destroy this State.

The argument is that we get the government we deserve. We elect them from among ourselves. I beg to differ. If they are representative of us, then one has to conclude that we Goans as a people are liars and cheats, shrot-sighted, greedy, avaricious, stupid and demented.

Samir Kelekar who criticized some state representatives in his column in this newspaper has received a notice to appear before them. The Speaker has pronounced that he has the power to imprison citizens like Kelekar. Never mind that he is sitting in his chair thanks to the angootha chaap of citizens like Kelekar. This smacks of the workings of a banana republic. A banana republic is what you get when you elect monkeys.

One wishes there was a consumer redressal forum we could drag these characters to. We have installed them in the seat of power, to deliver a service to the people of this state. They are not doing their job, providing sub-standard services that are not only inconvenience us, but show every sign of destroying a way of life that was the envy of all.

Not only are they trying to destroy the environment, they are doing all in their power to destroy the people too. What other reason could there be for 19 casinos in the state? The Mandovi river is full of floating hulks which cater to the rich and aimless. The newspapers are full of red herrings thrown by the elected representatives of the people of Goa, confusing and confounding us into thinking that the mess we see is just a mirage.

It is time for us to redress our rights as consumers. We are paying good money from our earnings for it. The funny thing is those consumers like Samir Kelekar who raise their voices from a public forum are threatened with imprisonment. That does not happen in a consumer court. But we have to join our voices with his. If it means going to prison, so be it. The freedom fighters did it with the Portuguese. Time we got off our balcaos and stood up to be counted. Or the joke will be on us.


Rohit Nayak said...

State Politics have always been murky... Its no diferent in My state.... You'd be shocked to se the ruins of Hampi (Its a UNESCO World Heritage Site)- Local Landmarks in Bangalore have been torn apart to make way for the Metro.

But where does one begin the cleanup? There's this statement that Kautilya Makes in the Arthashastra- 'Good Science ushers in wisdom, good Politics ushers in Prosperity' And nothing can ruin a state like bad political decisions made.
What would you suggest as the cleanup way?

ujus'gottalaugh said...

I think if we were all taught from the cradle that we should do the very best we can in everything that we do without thinking of personal gain, the cleanup could happen. Corruption does not grow in a vacuum, it is actively aided by all of us.

Now Living in Goa said...

I'm with you. I think Goa needs collective creative activism. Let's start with getting together, encouraging constructive debate, and then organizing gradually and peacefully to let higher ups know that people and watching and listening and WILL raise their voices against destructive policies...