05 May 2021  |   07:37am IST

Letter to the editor(05 May 2021)

Divisive politics exposed

For the BJP the resounding defeat in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala has come a cropper. The divisive politics of the saffron brigade has been exposed. These results usher a ray of hope against the current authoritarian and tyrannical regime which has torn to pieces the fundamental principles of our sacred Indian constitution.

The manner in which we have sadly been witnessing the Independence of the Election Commission absolutely compromised is very disturbing and a matter of great concern. The skewed move last month  in considering the name of Sunil Arora as the Governor of Goa just days after his retirement as Chief Election Commissioner was in utter bad taste and utterly inappropriate. 

Over the last few years our nation has been ebbing away from democracy and those cherished values. We need to now toil unitedly for the restoration of institutions whose autonomy has been high-handedly breached.  

The basic fundamental principles of our nation being a secular democratic Republic must be protected and preserved at all cost. Our country’s secular fabric cannot continue to remain ruptured. Unity in Diversity must always remain our strength and pillar of hope.

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and his team had burnt the midnight oil to draft that great Indian Constitution to keep our country secular and democratic for posterity. They must never have visualized that thick-skinned persons without integrity would ever be occupying seats of Power.

Cal Thomas, the popular American political commentator once observed, “One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective, election and power are”.

The BJP should take heed of the relevant famous quote of the late US President Abraham Lincoln, ‘You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’

Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar 

Let's support our doctors

Amidst the sweeping pandemic and general gloom and doom a more worrisome fact is emerging...the high infectivity rate amongst doctors in Goa; they are being felled by the tiny mighty virus at a frightening pace. Since mid March 40 doctors have tested +ve with 11 getting infected at the beginning of this week itself, some have lost their lives battling the contagion. Doctors and other healthcare staff have been stretched beyond all imaginable human limits, working in thick PPE kits for upto 15 hours without a break.  Most, if not all, are already on the verge of a physical and mental breakdown. Acute shortage of ancillary staff like nurses and paramedics is adding to their woes, sometimes they even have to double up as pall-bearers on funerary duties. The healthcare infrastructure is splitting at the seams with superhigh caseloads, community transmission raging, vaccine, oxygen and medicine shortages and collapse of governance. The least we can do to help those caring for us is to exhibit COVID appropriate behaviour like physical distancing, sanitising spaces, staying indoors unless really necessary and masking up. The government needs to do its bit by imposing a 15-day strict lockdown as suggested by the IMA. Recruitment of new doctors should be ramped up and interns should be given permanent registration status and put under regular pay scales. Setting up of oxygen plants and procurement of vaccines should be fast tracked, also private entities may be tapped to increase the number of COVID beds.

The chain of transmission needs to be broken before we reach a point of no return...for that would be Apocalyptic.

Vinay Dwivedi, Benaulim 

COVID infection and CT Scan

It is learnt that numerous COVID-19 positive patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, and some with negative RT-PCR reports but COVID-19 symptoms are coming for CT scans. People seem to have hit the panic button and carry out the CT scan immediately. However, such CT scans need to be done only on the advice of the doctor. According to medical experts, if COVID-19 patient is in home isolation and is doing well then they should only monitor their oxygen level 5-6 times in a day through a pulse oximeter and if the oxygen level is above 96, then he/she should not panic. AIIMS New Delhi Director Randeep Guleria on Monday cautioned mild COVID patients against going for repeat CT scans of the chest saying these raise the risk of cancer and are needless in mild disease conditions. A CT scan equal to 300-400 chest X-rays. The International Atomic Energy Commission has shown how CT scans in younger age lead to greater cancer risk in later life. Dr Guleria has advised to go for X-ray and avoid CT scans in mild cases of COVID-19. Mild cases do not need CT scans and can be treated with normal medicines. There is also no need to take heavy steroids as they are only taken in cases of moderate or serious infections.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

Lockdown now and save lives!

Let us not hide our sins. We do not want a 17-day lockdown as in ‘Lockdown’. You have decided: very good. What are the repercussions of this action? The Health Minister casually states on a news channel – as reported in a daily-that Goa is facing a shortage of 8000 to 10000 litres of oxygen. At 60 litres per minute, which is required for a severe COVID patient, this means 93 to 116 patients are deprived of oxygen and will die.

So casual: 93 to 116: no remorse. You cannot get oxygen in the next how many days? How many people will die by then? The whole country is facing shortage.

The 7-day average of positive cases in Goa is 2862. Experts in Delhi say 20 % need ICU with 8 needing ventilators.  Twenty per cent of 2862 is 572 patients added every day who will require 49455 tonnes of oxygen added every day. Even if you take only 5 per cent (which was 2020 benchmark) we will need 12364 tonnes of oxygen additionally every day. Goa cannot get this oxygen.

The only other alternative is to stop infections.

This can be done only by a strict 17-day lockdown. All those opposing this lockdown must arrange 13000 tonnes of oxygen progressively. That is 13000 T today, 26000 T tomorrow and 39000 T the day after. The outcome of our decisions can be translated to actual deaths on a daily basis. What type of courts we have who refuse to take suo moto cognisance of this stark reality?

R Fernandes, Margao

P’yats can't declare lockdown

The village panchayats of the affected areas resorted to declaring lockdowns unilaterally in certain areas within their jurisdiction.  The panchayats taking adhoc decisions and issuing media advertisements for lockdowns without involvement of the district administration is a dangerous sign of administrative breakdown in Goa.  The panchayats are independent local bodies.  The Disaster Management Act is in force due to the pandemic and under this Act panchayats cannot come out on such orders. Last year, the Goa government had issued a warning to all panchayats in the State to refrain from declaring lockdowns of their areas in view of the COVID situation.  And the Directorate of Panchayats in a circular said that only District Collectors are empowered to impose a lockdown or demarcate a containment zones under the Disaster Management Act or any other law in consultation with the Health Department.  It also stated that the said powers do not vest with any of the village panchayats.  The decision by panchayats is unauthorised.  The panchayats in the State should refrain from declaring lockdowns of their areas in view of the COVID situation.  If the government fails to do their duty, then the judiciary has to take the suo motto cognisance. 

K G Vilop, Chodan


Iddhar Udhar