When will governments and parties promise a pilgrimage of service?
When will governments and parties promise a pilgrimage of service?
The rush to ensure that Goan’s religious and spiritual trips are publicly funded, as a sop ahead of the next election, has made the Common Goan simply question whether the priorities are right in the voting scenario of Assembly in Goa.
“Fat” outbound tourism seems to have captured the imagination of political parties. First, the promises of one of them that if their party came to power, the state would fund pilgrimages to Velankanni, Ajmer Sharief, Ayodhya and Shirdi. Perhaps not to be outdone, the chief minister announced that seniors can take a free ride visiting all of the state’s temples. He said tourists visit the temples in Goa, but locals were somewhat lacking in them and therefore free bus rides would be offered, which would make it clear which part of the older people of Goa were being courted.
While all travel to a religious place is a personal rights of each individual and does not necessarily have to become a priority for a secular state, the policy on this subject during an election period comes as no surprise.
What is the primary responsibility of the state? To serve. Isn’t that something that needs to be sorted first – the pilgrimage of service
Across Goa people are either struggling or frustrated with immediate, critical and ignored needs. So far, these are not quite the issues raised by one party that fought in the last election. People can very sincerely ask, and they do ask, what are the real priorities of these parties? Is it to make the life of each Goan more meaningful, comfortable, enriching, progressive? Or will governance continue to fail to provide the basic services that force people to take to the streets or simply cry in grief, anger and frustration?
Did a party that called for votes in 2017 guarantee that no Goan would go without drinking water and household needs?
In parts of Assagao, people are without water for months. Men, women and children are taking to the streets again, crying out to the government for the mess they find themselves in. They want to cut themselves off from the entire election process so as not to meet even this basic need.
In Siolim, the women also went out to cry inconsolably over the water problem. As the taps dry up, the oil tanker mafia takes over. Goa faces a deficit of around 77 million liters per day. But have you heard the ruling party or those who have gone to see people in the past in Goa say one line “No Goan will do without clean water and domestic needs?” Shouldn’t this be a basic guarantee given by anyone planning in the service of the people?
Did a party that called for votes in 2017 guarantee that when planning large constructions, no farmers’ fields will be destroyed?
With the whole of Goa being rebuilt with flyovers, bridges and highways, construction debris has entered adjacent fields blocking drainage systems. This led to massive flooding. The old cement pipes that were placed flush with the fields gently released excess water from the fields. But now these pipes have been clogged and have been submerged with clogged water. A simple solution would be to build culverts to remove excess water. But the PWD did not do this either in the fields near the Zuari bridge construction site or elsewhere. Is this a priority? Can’t we build small culverts when hundreds of crores are spent on massive bridges with malls and restaurants? Did a party that called for votes in 2017 guarantee that when planning large constructions, no farmers’ fields will be destroyed?
Did a party that called for votes in 2017 give a guarantee that no injustice will be done to the teaching community in Goa?
The contract teachers recently called off their long fuss after receiving a pay raise, which is in effect nothing more than full payment of their twelve months’ salary instead of ten months. But their real demand for regularization of their employment has not yet been met. One of the reasons for this is the increase in jobs in the reserved category. Again, teachers are not just government employees. They are the backbone of Goa’s education system. Did any party that called for votes in 2017 give a guarantee that no injustice will be done to the teaching community of Goa.
Has a party that called for votes in 2017 guaranteed that no fishing trawler with LED lights will come and remove fish from Goan waters
Fishing is a way of life in Goa. The livelihood of the sea was a guarantee available to every fishing family. Now there is no guarantee. But there is a guarantee that the big trawlers with LED lights will enter Goan waters and stun the fish. The waters of Goa are low in fish. And when the big trawlers arrive, the Coastal Police don’t even have interceptor boars available to catch them. When such Goan cannot even depend on the most natural and easiest way to earn and lead a simple life, can we call Goa “developed”.
Added to all this is the increase in electricity and gasoline bills. We have already mentioned a recent case in Arambol where an unemployed person had trouble getting his Rs 50,000 electricity bill checked and reducing the amount. With no response from the local electric utility, his blood pressure and concern increased and he died of a heart attack. The gasoline process has just been reduced but still remains beyond the reach of ordinary people. Not to mention the prices of LPG. Has anyone cared to talk about this domestic distress in so many homes in Goa?
Why are parties hijacking these really serious questions?
There does not seem to be any effort to raise important issues. Governance is about improving the lives of those governed. After five or ten years of governance, if there are protests and tears not from the opposing parties but from the common man, then there is surely an absence of priorities on both the part of the ruling party as well as those who had contested in Goa earlier to rule and are doing so again.
Remember that governance is first and foremost about promising a pilgrimage of service.
The praise of the AAP pilgrimage program was not political endorsement:
PANJIM: Father Noel D’Costa, a senior priest of the Archdiocese of Goa, clarified that a video message that had made him speak positively about the guarantee of party chairman Aam Admi, Arvind Kejriwal, of a pilgrimage state sponsored in Velankanni and other places, was not an endorsement of any party.
The video post which was circulated had Father D’Costa stating that many Goans were heading to Velankanni and state support would allow more Goans to go. This was seen as a political endorsement to a party by the priest. There were several comments on Facebook and many of them were surprised at what they thought was a political comment.
In a statement clarifying his position to the Herald, Father D ‘Costa said: “It has been brought to my attention that my video being circulated is being interpreted because I approve of the AAP. I categorically state that I am neither a propagandist nor a supporter of any political party. My opinion was limited to the social assistance scheme proposed for those who cannot afford it, and I stand by it. “
He said a reporter asked him for his opinion on the various socio-political issues regarding Goa. “One of the problems concerned the pilgrimages announced by the AAP. I had expressed my point of view, which can be seen in the video.
He added that the whole conversation was about shifting the political debate in Goa from the politics of hate to the politics of welfare. “I also raised a relevant question in the interview as to why priests should not guide the people of Goa who are currently discussing hate politics to discuss welfare policy,” he said.
He concluded by saying “I hope this clarification will be enough to dispel narrow doubts in the minds of broad minds.”