If there is one thing that Goans should thank Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for, it should be for putting us into the habit of running the state on our own. Look at Goa, it will go down in Independent India’s history as a State that can manage itself without a Chief Minister, and a Home Minister, and a Finance Minister. Of course with mixed results. But then we chose them, didn’t we? Whoever may have got the mandate - be it India where just 31% voters gave 70% seats for BJP to run the country or Goa where the Governor hijacked the mandate by ushering in second and third largest parties to form the Government, the Government we give is the Government that we get.
Since the past 48 hours as the onset of monsoons kept on pounding the state, the flooding, the drainage, the power cuts have proved one thing for sure, the Goans have to manage their own affairs without much help from the Government. The sight of primary school children sitting with umbrellas under a leaking roof in Molcornem was actually the telling statement that Goa’s misplaced governance was making upon Goans. Please do not forget that in March this year, Education Department had identified about 50 primary schools across the state’s 12 Talukas which had fallen into disrepair and had asked Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) to renovate the schools during the summer holidays. GSIDC had (predictably) even projected that anywhere between Rs 15-18 crores would be spent on the repairs of the schools. A quick look at the GSIDC website reveals that even a handful of schools don’t figure on its scheme of things. Mind you, even Goa’s Education Minister has not been in the state for over 100 days and GSIDC is run by the former Panjim MLA.
Over the weekend as the State pooled in its sympathy to the departed former Congress MP Shantaram Naik, lost were the untold hardships that the rains brought in across the state. Especially the infrastructure development related hardships. In Chaudi, Canacona the Centre funded National Highway upgradation gave way in the first rains itself. The PWD Minister who pats himself on the back for getting thousands of crores worth of such projects was very much in the state. Near Nuvem-Seraulim stretch of Western Bypass, an unplanned culvert is all set to flood the nearby areas due to a swelling Sal. The TCP Minister backing the project lives a stone’s throw away. So what is the connection? In Amchem Goem, the Ministers are like the proverbial Queen in Alice in Wonderland who would say off with his/her head for people she didn’t like. Our Ministers execute this project not because we want it but because they want it. And if causes major ecological disasters, public money be damned.
As we move into the monsoons without a headless State and a senseless Government, the obvious question that we need to ask is how much is too much. No governance, bad governance, no opposition, no activists to rally in Azad Maidan or make a point at Lohia Maidan, everybody only on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter pontificating – democracy seems to be still searching for itself under layers of sussegad in Goa. The challenge is not of people realising where the idea of Goem, Goemkar and Goemkarponn disappearing. Rather, the disturbing trend is (i) of people accepting the blatant ravage of Goa by the present political dispensation and (ii) of people getting convinced by their brazen attempts to mislead Goan masses. Somewhere, it is not our Gods and Saints but our political masters who are leading us as a flock.
This will be one of the scariest monsoons for Goa. The massive flooding of our low lying areas, frequent power cuts, sinking new roads and most importantly, no one answerable to us. It’s over a hundred days and where are the patraos?