03 Jun 2023  |   06:44am IST

As Goa is getting destroyed, we are hearing the silence of the paid lambs

As Goa is getting destroyed, we are hearing the silence  of the paid lambs

The reckless, rampant and cruel takeover of all land and making them ready for construction, the destruction of our hills, the plunder of our forests, and the diversion of our rivers are cumulative acts of a parent kicking away the future of his children. That is the Goa of today.

Sorrowful Goans go to institutions and tell those they use as sounding boards: “We wish we were not born in Goa, and have to see this every day”.

They came to institutions that mattered, to get their voices heard but were numb with shock at what was happening to their Goa.

Amidst all this, there is an absolute silence from the paid lambs.

The betrayers of Goans, the defectors who took votes in the name of one and backstabbed and went to another in the name of “development”, don’t even murmur as they see every inch of Goa is being assaulted and its land, rivers and resources destroyed.

They contested to mine their own interests, why would they be bothered about sand mining etc.

The holy men who backed these very defectors are equally silent. A few of them even made videos in full-throated support. Where are these holy people? Why didn’t they come and raise their voices? They are accountable too. These men of faith should now seek forgiveness from the people for misleading them.

Their actions have made Goa minus any opposition. And even the minority in opposition have not taken any assertive action which will have an impact and contribute to stalling the recklessness in which decisions are being taken to crush every institution of decision-making.

Did people elect defector MLAs for this development of destruction?

 They perhaps feel, “Let Goa burn. Who cares, we are in power”. They also say ‘Let trees be cut, Let Mhadei be diverted, but we are in power”.

Section 17(2) of TCP and Building regulation amendments are death warrants of Goa’s natural resources and land

Single sources of decision-making lead to these kinds of decisions, for reasons best known to the decision-makers. No minister is an island. We have a council of ministers with the Chief Minister as first among equals.

The Chief Minister can surely step in and prevent the destruction, in his name

Can one individual minister of one department take such arbitrary decisions with no murmur from any in government or outside?  The Chief Minister can surely step in and prevent the destruction that is going on in his name as the head of government. He surely wouldn’t want his Goa to be plundered and his people suffer.

Of course, in gatherings, voices of some important Goans are heard saying Goem Kabar, but do absolutely nothing in their immense power to stop it

Who is speaking up to prevent ad-hoc and wild acts of government decision-making where the land of Goans is being used like private land? 

Surely not important people in high places who say Goem Kabar but do nothing else

And surely not the defectors. But one is sure that just before the next elections some of them will take the high moral ground and resign on some pretext or the other and see what works best in the next round of polling.

And then we have the political Michael Jacksons who are dancing for tickets

 The whole focus is to get tickets. Some like Girish Chodankar of the Congress and another new arrival from Mormugao taluka are dancing around for tickets as their primary objective, like political Michael Jacksons

Girish Chodankar, of the Congress, of course, has danced this dance all the time and still does so. He feels getting a ticket for every election is his birthright. This time he has made his moves by attacking his own party’s senior South Goa MP, questioning his contribution to the party, when Chodankar has displayed a consistent knack for turning victories into defeats for the Congress.

So who is fighting? The poor, the desperate and the passionate sons and daughters of the soil

 The fishermen of Goa have shown more guts than some of Goa’s politicians who are dancing for tickets or meekly defected to get loaves and fishes of office but are still on the sidelines hoping.

The fishermen have got together and moved the National Green Tribunal, against the enhancement of coal handling capacities at two berths of the Mormugao Port Trust. They have highlighted about the long-term effects of coal transportation and pollution and its spill-off effects on fish and marine life.

The people of Velsao and all along the upper South Goa coastal belt have battled criminal cases and bulldozers in the fight against double tracking and ill effects of coal transportation. 

The activists with criminal cases for undertaking candle-lit protests in Chandor are undeterred. All of them without fail spoke about the ill effects of coal pollution causing sickness, where even the lungs of children have the potential to get affected and toxic coal dust leads to respiratory diseases, nasal discharges and snot turn black.

Clearly, those who sought votes from gullible Goans and betrayed them, and those who backed them with speeches and videos have not understood the true value of leadership and love for the land and people.

Some politicians, lawyers or political lawyers may not join in the chorus of people’s voices always, but institutions of integrity like the Claude and Norma Alvares-led Goa Foundation, the GRE, the Rainbow Warriors, Fishermen’s bodies, organisations under the umbrella of Goencho Ekvott, the Save Goa, Save Molem and Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan movements and so many others have kept the hopes of people alive

A real leader does not need portfolios, excuses of development or chairmanships of corporations. There have been leaders – mainly of left parties, who have won eight to ten terms in the Assembly, never joined government and retained more respect and standing than even their Chief Ministers.

 Does Goa have a single leader like these?

Hashim Abdul Halim, of the Communist Party of India, was MLA from 1977 to 2011, Oommen Chandy has represented Puthupally in the Kerala Assembly for 51 years, Ganpatrao Deshmukh of the Peasants and Workers Party has represented the Sangola in Maharashtra for a record 54 years.  Veteran Indrajit Gupta of CPI(M) won as MP 11 times from West Bengal between 1960 and 2001. Except for Chandy, who was CM, others were never a part of the government, but they governed the hearts and faith of the people.

 The Almighty always watches. But even here as Mother Goa is getting marauded, people are taking stock of who the nurturers are and who are plunderers are. They are also watching those who backed the betrayer silent lambs, as their land and their identity are getting stripped layer by layer, zone by zone, act by act.

 


IDhar UDHAR

Idhar Udhar