Herald: Good News, Bad News, Fake News, No News
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Good News, Bad News, Fake News, No News

12 May 2018 05:21am IST

Report by
Joao Barros Pereira

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12 May 2018 05:21am IST

Report by
Joao Barros Pereira

Was it Einstein who spoke of relativity? Sometimes what I read in the papers makes me wonder even more than Alice.

The other day, I read a report which said plastic bags should not be banned because some Goans prefer them to cloth bags; so say the vendors of plastic bags. I guess (hope?) the news report was tongue-in-cheek although I could see neither tongue nor cheek, and I'm still wondering ….

Maybe, better still, it could be a metaphor for Goa and Goans today.

Everybody does what they like and everybody else and everything else can go to hell. Not least, the environment. If this news was about Switzerland it would be undoubtedly fake news. No room for ambiguity.

But, in Goa, it is a different story.

Goa Medical College and Hospital is sick and a danger to public health. While ministers wax eloquent about the need to get all kinds of medical hi-tech equipment including special cardiac units as 30% and more Goans die from heart attacks (not love affairs) they are made to eat their words when the FDA informs the public of the closure of three canteens as they are unhygienic!

The minister in charge wants to outsource the canteens so they become quality canteens with regard to hygiene and nutrition. Not a bad idea at all but I'm wondering why he didn't notice this unhygienic situation a long time ago? Which reminds me of two of my school friends who met accidentally in a dirty, unhygienic restaurant years after graduating from school . Bob, the waiter, was surprised to see Paul, the customer, and said to him, "Why, Paul, what has become of you - eating here! "And, you?" "Me? I work here but I certainly don't eat here!" his friend replied with a look of great pride on his face.

Is the government serious at all in its responsibility to provide high quality health services to the public? Does "high quality health" include only the buying of hi-tech medical equipment whose budget adds up to crores of rupees? Has the Health Department checked the toilets?

If not, please do. Who knows what we might discover?

Recently I visited the Mathany Saldhana building when I needed to go to the toilet. As is said often enough, when you have to go you have to go. So I went bravely to the toilet only to discover there was no electricity. It was darker than the inside of a pessimist mind, and no way to see beyond one's nose; the stench, by the way, was enough to give a healthy person a heart attack. All the toilets were locked except for the special toilet for the physically-challenged. As I was feeling physically - and - psychologically challenged I made use of it.

If the government is serious, then it should start with the basics, provide the public with a clean and hygienic environment everywhere.

Rocket science and beautification are welcome later! Now, although this might look like fake news, it is not. It is good news. Keep your fingers crossed for we might even have bad or worse news soon.

And, of course, who hasn't heard of the Tourism Minister who denied all knowledge of the scheme to adopt heritage sites by corporates only to have egg all over his face the following morning when it was disclosed he had signed a letter of approval.

What is this: bad news, good news, no news, fake news? None of them.

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