29 Sep 2023  |   04:44am IST

Letter to the editor (29 September 2023)

Identify slum area for IIT Goa project

Having been forced to abandon plans to set up the IIT Goa at three different sites, the state government has turned its attention to a fourth location and has reportedly shortlisted land in Rivona, Sanguem. It is learnt that the proposed site is well known for vast agricultural plantations. The land is spread over 6 lakh square meters of which 2 lakh square meters is under exclusive plantation of coconut and arecanut trees. The IIT project will lead to cutting of numerous coconut and arecanut trees. It must be said that in Goa at several places there are large stretches of land which have been occupied by slum dwellers. A large slum area could be identified for setting up the IIT Goa project after making necessary provision for the displaced slum dwellers. If the land is not sufficient for the project some neighbouring area could also be acquired. This way no agricultural land will be destroyed and will also result in beautification of the slum area.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

Can Goa think beyond real estate destruction?

Colva, a coastal village, is witnessing rapid concretisation, filling of fields/low lying areas/water bodies, cutting of trees to feed the greed of real estate interests! Surely it’s common sense for all of us to understand the long term consequences of these actions!

It is really disheartening to see all this environmental devastation not only in Colva but many other villages in Goa, encouraged by specific local corrupt panchas who surely get their ‘commissions/share’.  I understand there are cases where local residents need homes which is understandable but what is happening is beyond the latter necessity and people with large lands (inherited/purchased) are mostly selling/partnering with real estate lobby and land sharks to concretise villages as much as possible! 

I appreciate there are also quite a few Goans who have opted for more environmentally sustainable ways to use their lands eg by Innovative farming ideas/contract farming/horticulture/medicinal farms etc which can deliver regular income to the owners! Can Goans start thinking way beyond short term gains which the real estate industry offers with a very high negative environmental cost to the village?  

Arwin Mesquita, Colva

Regulate migrant population

The author of your op-edit ‘Lampedusa in Goa’ puts his finger correctly on a situation that is likely to emerge in Goa. There are some who feel Goa has already been overwhelmed by migrants, as these entrants are rarely registered with the employment exchanges, but over time, they acquire documents to claim benefits from Deen Dayal to Laadli Laxmi schemes and rations. This puts genuine residents of the state at a disadvantage, as they do not get what is their due. But with politicians ever ready to cater to their current and emerging vote banks, this is a problem that is not going away anytime soon.

The government needs to ensure that all workers hired from other states are properly documented, submit their resident states’ Aadhaar/Pan cards and fulfil a certain criterion to avail benefits. There is a need to weed out folks with double or fake documents. But will the government bite the bullet?

Also, with regard to houses, the second home syndrome a non-occupancy tax should be levied to control the situation. Here too, is there a genuine political will? Goans too need to realise that they can make a future here. The Centgral government needs to develop all regions of the country so that migration to other states stops.

Brian de Souza, Margao

Are we destined to eat worms? 

There have been multiple incidents of worms found in the rice and food served to the school children. Our politicians are living in luxurious houses and increasing their salaries and allowances and entertaining foreign dignitaries in luxurious hotels, travelling in luxurious jets and eating in gold plated plates and wearing golden suits while we the people have to eat maggots infested rice. Is this our destiny? Can anyone including the bhakts explain why this is happening? 

Matias Lobo, Tivim

Mid-day meals must be randomly inspected 

Only investigation but no action seems to define the functioning of our government. Rightly so, the supply of mid-day meals with worms in the rice to around 40 schools has been highlighted by the media to showcase how negligent is this concerned self help group in maintaining hygiene in preparing the mid-day meal supplied to school children. In all cases the Directorate of Education should not be blamed for the incident but the authority concerned to carry out random inspection in the proper functioning of these mid-day meals should be held responsible as well. 

Ayres Sequeira, Salvador do Mundo

Scientists deserve due respect!

Recently while addressing a CSIR event, S Somnath, Chairman, ISRO proudly announced that nearly 95% of components used in the rockets including those used in Chandrayan-3 mission were made in India and it was the result of several years of development involving ISRO and Indian industries. At this juncture, I was reminded of August 23,2023, the historical day in the annals of Mother India when our space scientists successfully soft- landed Vikram lander of Chandrayan-3 on the Moon. When the entire nation was watching with nail-biting anxiety and prayers, our scientists made our dream come true. While we were anxiously waiting to witness the jubilation in the faces of our space scientists who toiled day and night for many months to achieve this feat, it was eclipsed by a visual of Prime Minister Modi that suddenly appeared from South Africa occupying the full screen and masking the rest. Further, when Somnath, Chairman of ISRO was about to announce the good news to the world, PM Modi pre-empted his act by commencing his lengthy speech which appeared as if he was trying to grab the entire honour for himself as if he was the main architect of the entire mission. 

Contrary to his act and after his speech was over, Somnath, Chairman of ISRO preferred to gracefully introduce the core team of the Chandrayan- 3 Mission viz, P Veera Muthuvel, Director of the Project, Kalpana K, Dy Director of the Project, M Sankaran, Director of U R Rao Satellite Centre, Bangalore and M Srikantha, Mission Director and other scientists who were directly involved in this great mission and allowed them to speak first, which exhibited the highly appreciable leadership quality embedded in him. 

Tharcius S. Fernando, Chennai


Idhar Udhar