For Goans, Greek philosopher Plato may have said well, “If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rules of fools” but ever wonder if the same premise is applicable to those who are a part of the Government and wake up to realise (or at least fake it well) that their own Cabinet colleagues have been conning them all the way? A spate of recent happening would be enough to scare Goans that their Government isn’t just a home divided but actually a house where one room works oblivious of what goes on the other.
Imagine this. The Collector of South Goa implements a perfect aviation law that is applicable across the country but the top man in charge of permissions for real estate and civil infrastructure developments in the state living less than a kilometre away from the Collectorate was never told about the fact that all developments in a 20 km range around Dabolim Airport would now need the clearance of the managers of the Airport. Isn’t this simple science that when an airport is situated at the end of a slope then buildings in the path of an approaching aircraft can create obstacles? The rate at which the developments around Dabolim Airport have been allowed is the perfect recipe for a man-made disaster. The state’s apex body wanting to write to the Centre against the anomaly is a double face at its best. And exposes the very innards of the way in which our State is run.
Look at the way the Mormugao Port Trust apparently runs its business. Tons of coal dust and iron ore dust is belched away over the port walls into the many homes of Vasco and Headland Sada. Shouldn’t the Outline Development Plan for Vasco have had considered the coal dust pollution whilst granting permission for real estate developments there? The Major Ports Authority Bill that threatens the City of Vasco today has been operational in spirit since ages. Look at that MPT building outside Vasco Railway Station that sticks like a sore thumb in the City, did it conform to TCP Act? Or even look at the multi-crore shipbuilding facilities coming up within Goa Shipyard Limited. Don’t those villas and multi-storey apartments on the hill overlooking the Shipyard on the eastern side threaten its’ security? Most importantly, wasn’t the state’s town and country planning authority aware of the risks in the past?
Despite a slowdown in its’ economy, Goa is getting richer and so are the Goans. The number of flats and villas mushrooming points out to the fact that more people are moving up the ladder. And a lot of them are even flying in and out of Dabolim Airport. Wouldn’t then it be prudent that for their own safety, at least the flight approach path and the funnel zone to the airport be spared of any real estate development for their own safety? Most importantly, the TCP folks who give these permissions aren’t they themselves flying in and out of Dabolim Airport to not notice that their decisions can cause a disaster?
The governance of Goa is a theatre of absurd. The mhaka-kiteak-poddlam (how does it concern me) syndrome drives Goa’s governance. When a concerned citizen decided to challenge the Town and Country Planning Act itself saying that it was not updated and did not incorporate Environment Protection Act (remember the Western Ghats?) or Coastal Regulations Act (remember our beaches and our Khazans?) or the Heritage Protection statute (remember the number of Portuguese-era homes and churches that Goa has?), he was scoffed at attempting the absurd. What was missed was an opportunity to give Goa a comprehensive and inclusive development matrix.
There seems to be no inter-ministerial (between Goa government’s own ministries) or inter-governmental (State and Centre) sync when it comes to the well being of Goa. Sagarmala and the recent CRZ amendments by the Centre ignored the State. The Investment Promotion Board Act overrode the Town and Country Planning Act back home. Somewhere, common sense seems to be uncommon in the way Goa is governed.