In Part 2 of the debate: The panelists were joined by Mayor Surendra Furtado who spoke on various issues like the regional plan and the delays, the power situation and its importance to the success or failure of the industrial policy as well as tourism – whether we are going in the right direction or not; what are the cost versus benefits of tourism. Another topic that was also discussed was the fact that certain parts of the State have virtually turned into places that we will not even feel are a part of Goa.
Sujay Gupta: We are not writing off Manohar Parrikar as yet. But we feel that if he sticks to the basics there is a lot that he can do.
Surendra Furtado: Manohar Parrikar’s two and a half years in office have been marked by unkept promises, mis-governance, lack of direction and in particular flip flops and u-turns.
The Regional Plan 2021 has not been finalized, there has been an abject surrender to external borrowings from external source, which has become 10,000 crores - a big financial burden on Goa; flip flop on the casino issues. Also all over Goa they have not been able to solve the garbage issue.
It is an embarrassment to say that the development of CCP works have been sabotaged, especially the JNNURM for which I was able get funds from the Centre.
Sujay: This is a strong charge sheet. But at this half way mark do we have an alternative and if we do not have an alternative which direction does Manohar Parrikar have to take for the remaining time?
Surendra: Parrikar is now meant for the Centre.
From the time Modi came… he inaugurated the bridge. Said bye bye and said find your way for funds.’
Sujay: Regional Plan 2021 came out as a great hope and then what happened?
Anand: The Regional Plan came as a great hope. The consultative project was followed and it went through Digambar (Congress chief minister Digambar Kamat). But then it was found out that many things were added to it like ecotourism, etc. All these things were added at the last minute and then it became a scam.
The people made a noise and then the consultative process was started. They went from village to village. Then this government came to power and now for two and a half years, nothing has happened.
When we asked the TCP, they said that the process was almost complete.
But two and a half years have passed and you have done nothing. The process was on then. Thereafter it stopped. Now too, the TCP is giving permissions all over, and people are going to court and getting a stay.
Manoj: The consultative process has to start. But as the chief minister was saying recently that the process is almost complete. Here the CRZ is also one of the major issues that have to be taken into consideration. He (CM) had said that by October it would be completed.
Sujay: But how can he do it. He has sent it to a house committee and a house committee is like a parking place?
Mangurish: I heard the government saying that the RP had been held in abeyance because the buffer zone has not been finalized by the Centre. But the government has its own ideas about the buffer zone. And if it has it has to take it into consideration and plan it accordingly. It is a very good move to involve stakeholders in the regional plan.
At least now take the right people with you. And take it forward in a very aggressive way.
Sujay: Can industry in Goa flourish without land or without power?
Mangurish: Without land and power nothing can happen. Especially without power nothing can happen.
Sujay: Are you happy with the industrial climate you are working in Goa?
Manoj: As an entrepreneur, my line of business is completely different. For me it does not really matter. We have 36 lakh sq mts of land blocked. The chief minister says he wants to give 10 % to those people and ask them to release the balance. The land has been blocked for 4 years. I feel that we as industrialists should come out strongly in support of the government on this.
Anand: There is so much land in industrial estates all over Goa. They are not functioning. They are sick units. They are just holding on to the land or renting it out. There is more than enough land.
Manoj: But these are large plots.
Anand: If you are talking of SEZs or large industries, ultimately it is the people from outside that benefit. If you are looking at estimates, you will see the employment figures for locals. Eventually this will benefit all the people from outside the state.
Sujay: There is lot of land available. There are large chunks of land under the control of various departments and various bodies. These should be released. It is very critical to have a deadline within which they use the land. If it is not used within a certain time you have to hand it back. You need to free up the land.
Mangurish: We held meetings with mid segment IT industries . I did not go to large segment because they need 3000 to 5000 people. For that they will look at 30,000 people. This we do not have. We spoke to them.
Have we ever stopped to analyse what they want? We need to have a dialogue with them.
These people told us that they do not want land in Dona Paula. They don’t mind land anywhere. If we can give them land in Canacona or Valpoi, they will develop it.
But what they want is guaranteed power supply, road access and a gateway to the network. The rest they say they will do what is necessary. The rural areas would be developed and those of our people who go to Pune would get jobs here. We have people with skill who are waiting for jobs. We should do such things instead of running after mirages.
Sujay: Coming to power supply, before we look into the availability we should look at transmission, and distribution issue. We should look at power leakages and we should also look at underground cabling.
Anand: Basically I don’t think anything has been done. Underground cabling has not been done.
Manoj: Underground cabling has started in Margao, Vasco, Baga Calangute and Panjim. Last Chaturthi we had lot of power problems. At least this Chaturthi I did not find lights going off. I do not know, the situation in the Industries.
Mangurish: There is a problem with the land for the underground cabling. Lots of areas that are covered are going through private property, so people are objecting. But this should have been done earlier.
Power outages are also very much evident. Industry is facing lot of problem. The place where Anand and I stay, gadgets are going off because of the erratic voltage. Heavy losses are being suffered by individuals. We need to correct the power distribution problem. Leakages have to be checked. Lot of thefts going on. Maybe even in connivance. That has to be checked first and foremeost.
Lack of power is like saying that there is no parking space in Panjim. If you take out the tourist taxis which are not supposed to be parked on the roads anyway, and government vehicles, 70% of the space will be available. Similarly if you prune the power thefts and transmission and distribution issues, I am sure you will get sufficient power.
Sujay: But to get investment you will require at least 250 MW of power
Mangurish: We need 100 MW because we are looking at the IT industry and light engineering.
Sujay: You can take 100 MWas bare minimum and 250 MW as ideal. There was a lot of hope generated on the Chattisgarh coal blocks. Now that is under investigation. As industrialists, from where do you think the power will come from. The chief minister had made this policy assuming that that power will be available. Where do you think power will come from?
Mangurish: Ultimately somebody who has put in money to set a unit he will not closedown because of some structure of payments for power. He will need power. We cannot run it on a Diesel Genset. Ultimately people were going to Reliance and buying at Rs 17 because their power is uninterrupted.
National grids have faulted too. You cannot expect power from them. You will have to get from other sources. There are positive signs. But there are ifs and buts. There have to be concrete signs on the ground level.
Sujay: When mining stopped tourism was the only hope. Do we have the right kind of tourists. What are the benefits of tourism versus ills of tourism? Have we handled the whole tourism segment properly or not? Do we have the right kind of tourists? Do we have a tourism policy?
Anand: I think tourism issue has been mishandled. Yes our minister make trips abroad and promised heaven and earth. What do tourists get in Goa? Why should they come to Goa? We don’t give them anything that we promised. Besides tourism that is given at a bare minimum (cheap). But otherwise right from the entry point onwards they feel harassed.
See the taxis issues. No meters, no complaints authority. In South Goa you cannot go with your own car. They say, take the taxi. What action has being taken on this?
Now the shacks. Till last moment they are not given allotments. Now they are told they are supposed to put up CCTVs at the shacks. Why does the government not put CCTVs at the entry points for every person. Check them there.
You are saying CCTVs in every shack. It is rather unfair. And on the other hand you are allowing so many activities to go on by turning a blind eye .
Manoj: CCTVS in the shacks are mainly to keep an eye if any incident happens. The government would like to know what happened. To find out if any incident happened.
Sujay: It is a different universe out there. My biggest charge is that we have ceded that part of Goa in the name of tourism. I am not looking of law order. My point is you are allowing Russians and foreigners to ultimately take over the lands, decide on all your policies where your state does not have a single pathway way into the zone. The State itself has became a outsider to what is happening
Anand: It is being done with the connivance of the elected people and people in power. That is the saddest part. The people in power are blessing this or are in partnership.
Mangurish: Why do tourists come to Goa? They don’t come to Goa to see the stars and go to sleep. They come to party. If you see tourism the world over, all the hotels are right on the beach or on the river bank.
Sujay: But powerful hotelier can violate laws and get away. Let it be the same for all.
Anand: Also you are saying you cannot drink on the beach. From time immemorial Goans have been going to the beach for picnics. It has to be fixed. Travel and Tourism Association of Goa has solutions. Speak to the tourists themselves. Now GTDC wants five star hotels. I hope that they do not go and put casinos there. This is not the right culture.
Mangurish: Also for God’s sake have cleanliness on the beaches.
Manoj: We should have a convention centre. There is no centre that has 400 and 500 people. Also we need to look at people that spend.
Anand: I would make an appeal….when he came to power, the Congress were the Kauravs and he was our Arjun. I am saying that he should doing things.
Manoj: He has done a lot of background study. Now he should take action and see that it is implemented.
Mangurish: He should deliver.
Surendra: He should deliver. He should stop u-turns. And stop listening to chamchas.
I had told him. If you look after Goa I will look after Panjim.