28 May 2024  |   06:16am IST

Letter to the editor (28 May 2024)

Pavement is no place for dwellings

Four sleeping labourers were reportedly killed and five others were injured after a speeding bus driven by a drunk driver rammed into shanties at the Verna Industrial Estate late Saturday night.

It is learnt that the labourers were brought to Goa to undertake pavement and gutter work by the contractor appointed by the Public Works Department (PWD). While the driver of the bus has been booked for drunken driving, it is learnt that the government has decided to blacklist the contractor and subcontractor who have reportedly been arrested. 

Be that as it may, it is a fact that several labourers from different states across the country are employed by the contractors for various works across the state including the smart city work underway at the capital city Panaji. 

It is the duty of the contractor, who employed these labourers, to provide them with proper accommodation till the contract period is over. It must be said that the pavement is no place to put up temporary shanties to accommodate the labourers. 

 All such illegal shanties need to be razed to the ground. The pavements can’t be used by hawkers to put up shanties or any other structure either temporary or permanent. Pavement dwellers also include beggars. In absence of proper dwellings, these people carry out day-to-day activities such as cooking, bathing, washing clothes, on the pavement. In Goa even low-spending tourists cook food and sleep on the pavement. This needs to stop.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

Give locals priority for Goa pvt sector jobs

The State government is giving incentives to private entities to provide more jobs to Goans. The private sector should give preference in jobs to locals.  And the policy for 80% of jobs for locals notions about individual rights have to be in line with the text and spirit of the Constitution and not popular or majoritarian notions.  

 And if such absurd policy is made, the companies may shift to other States.  This will actually result in a loss of revenue to the State since companies won’t be coming here anymore. Instead, the existing companies will look to leave the State.  Already there is a scarcity of jobs in the State and talented individuals are hired only at a handful government offices.

 It’s the private sector which hires talented people from across the country, based on merit and the lack of reservation makes it more attractive because their merit is valued. 

 But with reservation being introduced, many incompetent, undeserving people will get jobs while talented individuals will either shift to other states or leave the country, thereby contributing more to brain drain.  Ability or merit must be the main consideration, but the private sector also needs to consider the well-being of Goans when they take such a decision.   Moreover there are many legal challenges. Court orders, including that of the Supreme Court, indicating that no government can force companies to hire people. 

Private companies hire people based on skills and they don’t go by State, caste or creed. No government can make local hiring mandatory, but it can incorporate a clause stating that priority must be given to locals.

K G Vilop, Chorao

Will we ever learn lessons from tragedies?

Two  horrific fire accidents -  one in Delhi and the other in Rajkot, causing the death of so many including new born infants is truly shocking and heart wrenching.

The shocking fire accident in a newborn care unit of a children’s hospital, in Delhi, has claimed the precious lives of little infants.

 Another fire accident that occurred in a Game Zone in Rajkot has claimed the lives of adults and children plunging the whole nation to glum and grief. 

Now, each and every time, an incident like this happens we make a big hue and cry, become extra aware, go in for all sorts of campaigns and compensations and talk about prevention methods and so and as days roll on we are back to square one - we completely forget and wake up when another tragedy occurs. 

Lack of preparedness, readiness to tackle fire accidents - be it due to short circuit or any other sort - and lack of awareness on what to do in case of such incidents make us victims to infernos. 

The death of these little innocent infants as well as those who lost their lives in the game zone again pose a big question - when are we really going to learn our lessons?  Be it hospitals or hotels, movie halls or malls, people may not have the slightest bit of idea about the escape routes, lay outs and other possible ways of escape in case of an inferno. 

Staff of the concerned establishments should be prepared to rescue or at least guide the guests to safety. Buildings should have a common way to exit that any one irrespective of age and gender should be able to identify and escape immediately.

Big buildings should have proper fire and electricity safety devices and these must be checked occasionally. Staff especially in sensitive places like hospitals, schools and hotels should take part in mock drills and be ever ready in case of emergency. 

Schools and colleges should include fire disaster management lessons in their physical education curriculum so that we can groom citizens who can face such emergencies boldly, wisely and bravely and even help the weak and those who are very young. 

M Pradyu, Kannur


Iddhar Udhar