Saturday, February 13, 2010
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 07, 2009
Source: Peter Alexander- 3 Aug Herald
Most Goans are crazy about tiatr. Goans have enjoyed good shows for over a century, some tragic, many others depicting social evils combined with religious insight to bring change in society, and a few others purely comic. From the first-ever tiatr in history – ‘Italian Bhurgo’ by Lucasinho Ribeiro, staged in Mumbai on 17 April 1892 – until today, this form of theatre, with several acts entwined with songs backed by a live band, continues to enthrall and enlighten Goan society. Over this period, renowned artists walked the stage and made their mark in Goa and elsewhere in the world through their notable efforts to entertain our hearts and minds. We salute them with pride and gratitude. They have left us a rich legacy to emulate in order to enrich our society with good values, and to reach higher goals of sublime living. Our tiatr reflects the social, political and religious life of society; and, very often, it is a protest against the wrong in society, which is projected through the songs, comedy and drama. Contemporary artists continue the heritage today, with enthusiasm and pride, receiving little or no support from our government.
Incredibly, we see our politicians nowadays enacting such living drama for all to view with disdain and disgust. These public servants conduct their lives in a deplorable manner. Nonetheless, this melodrama encompasses the nature of tragicomedy. Dayanand Narvekar did not realise that the camera was on when he delivered with great audacity his unscripted discourse on corruption. This subject “Corruption” is the creation of our leaders, and, as good actors and teachers, they want to marinate our society completely. I hope Narvekar is never afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Our memories are still fresh about his unbecoming behavior, as he faced allegations of sexual harassment, cheating, forgery, corruption and misappropriation of funds. Nevertheless, we have to commend Narvekar for loudly crying out his displeasure over the treatment he received from government bureaucrats, through which he exposed the level of corruption and the plight of the common man. The present government takes pride in being a government for aam admi. This is a tragicomedy, for in reality they have woven a massive web of corruption to strangle citizens to death.
Before Narvekar lost his cabinet berth as Minister of Finance, he seemed to have been portraying a similar drama with MLAs and other ministers. Mickky Pacheo was bent on stripping Narvekar of the finance portfolio not long ago, for having treated him with similar contempt, which Narvekar abhors at the present juncture. This explains the dynamic of our government, and the reason why every MLA is vying for a ministerial berth in the ruling administration. Every minister looks out for his own interest, and the other MLAs keep constant watch to see if something might fall from the minister’s plate.
The people of Goa should keep in mind that our government has no vision for our Goa. Our leaders are like weathercocks – they easily change their direction according to the weather. Churchill Alemao wants to have three bridges in his constituency, since he holds the PWD portfolio. As long as he is the PWD Minister, the rest of Goa must watch and pay taxes to fulfill his selfish dreams for Navelim. How did Goa fall into the hands of such corrupt leaders? For how long will this drama unfold? And, when will Goans say, “Enough”?
On the floor of the Assembly, Narvekar challenged the PWD minister for granting permits for construction along the NH17, where use of the land was frozen for the express purpose of expanding the highway. Narvekar is determined to fight over this matter, even in the courts. Churchill first denied the violation and then tried to justify it by citing the state of Kerala, which has done like projects under similar circumstances. How can the Chief Minister tolerate such action from his ministers?
But I am amused and entertained by the whole business. I just want to recall, for the sake of the audience, the opening scene of this drama. Speaking at Alemao’s birthday celebrations, Narvekar told Churchill, “I may be older than you as far as experience is concerned, but I am looking at you. This is the time when the state is going down the drain. Someone has to stand up. You have the capacity, the urge and the interest to serve the people and save the state. People like me will be with you in this mission.” He further pointed out that Churchill is not just the leader of South Goa, but he is being worshipped even in the North. “Go ahead with your political ambitions, we are with you. You are like my family member,” he said. Saying that the people of Goa want Churchill to play a long innings in politics, Narvekar said that health should not be a problem for the PWD Minister, stating, “People of Goa want you, not just your knee; all your parts can be replaced for the sake of Goans.”
Luizinho Faleiro, who dominated Goan politics for almost three decades, now sits on a huge booty, and is the highest taxpayer in the state of Goa. It is a mystery, and yet a tragicomedy for Goans to contemplate. How could an elected leader, with a meagre salary, amass such a huge amount of wealth? Leaders are put in office to empower the people, and to improve the lives of the citizens. On the contrary, our politicians have secured better lives for themselves alone, and have disenfranchised gullible people. This process continues, and has reached to such an extent that even MLAs cannot breathe easily now. Whatever may be Narvekar’s past, his statement in the Assembly came as a breath of fresh air. No MLA or minister in the past dared to make such a subversive statement that would shake the house to its very foundations.
Corruption is a structural sin which systematically destroys society. It creates a situation where people cannot do otherwise but sin. When people cry, their tears reach heaven. Our Father hears the cry of the oppressed! Without doubt, history has taught us many valuable lessons on this subject. The natural reaction of those in such a situation is to subvert the structure. People of Goa, do not brush aside or disregard the consequences of this drama played out by our politicos.
Before entering the election booth, reflect wisely on the detrimental results this tragicomedy has given us. Recognise, and own up to the reality, that by our foolishness over many years, Goan society has been violated with transgressions beyond number. To you, my countrymen, I say that we can counteract this widespread crime of corruption, for we know its face, and we hear its voice. No sadder lesson would there be in our history than this: that by our weakness, inaction and indifference we allowed our power as citizens to remain in the hands of public officials who would breach their positions of trust by their depravity and dishonesty. Our opposition to them is our obligation to all generations!
Unfortunately, we have lived under this sinful structure of corruption because we let the enemy come through the gates. No more! The power of the people shall rise up, and bring the curtain down on the tragicomedy that plays out before us. We will drive the self-serving imposters off the stage, show them the exit, and close the gates. This show must end!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Following is an email recieved by me, it shows that when a citizen wants to fight against a corrupt system, there will be always good civil servants who would support them.....
When I narrated the incident below to a close friend over lunch earlier this
week, he suggested that I should pen this down in an email and circulate it to as many friends in Bangalore as possible. So here goes an interesting
experience of interacting with an IPS officer, who made me see a Glimmer of Hope, amidst the corruption that encompasses, so many of our public services ( it is about 7 - 9 mins reading time...).
It was Friday 5th June, at about 3 pm I drove my Ford Ikon car into 80 feet road at Indira Nagar in Bangalore, wanting to reach on time for my 3.30 pm meeting with a client. As I entered the wide road I saw a posse of Traffic Constables who stopped my car on the side and asked me to produce my car documents to the Traffic Sub Inspector(SI) who was standing on the footpath. I walked upto the SI and displayed my Driving Licence, to which he told me to bring my Car Insurance certificate and also my Emission Certificate for the car. I walked back to my car and realised that I had not carried either of the documents in my car and was cursing myself for such a slip. I came back to the SI and told him that I did not have my document and what was to be done. The SI had a half smile & told me that the fine for not carrying both these documents was Rs 600/- however I could pay him Rs 300/-. I removed my wallet and told the SI that I would pay the amount and want a receipt for the same, to which he suddenly grew stern and told me that in which case the fine was Rs 1,100/-. I paid the fine of Rs 1,100/- and took the receipt, wondering why the fine had suddenly escalated just because I wanted a receipt instead of paying the Rs 300 bribe which the SI had asked.
After my client meeting as I was driving back, I was annoyed at myself for not carrying the documents and I was angry that at an officer at an SI level was blatantly seeking a bribe. I decided that I should do something about it and as soon as I reached my Home Office, I logged on to the net and found out that the Traffic Police of Bangalore has a website, which gives details of the fines chargeable , it also provides for logging complaints and gave the email ids of the Asst Commissioner of Police for the traffic division. At about 7 pm that evening I wrote an email to the email id of the ACP, narrating the incident of the afternoon and lodging a formal complaint in the email. I also found out the website of Lok Ayukta of Karnataka and marked a cc of the same email to the email id's given on the Lok Ayukta's website. By about 7.30pm I had done the
needful, and I was happy with myself that what I preach in my Leadership Workshops wrt Values, I had practised to a large extent (Paying the fine instead of paying the bribe and reporting the bribe demand to the best of my ability). I thought the chapter ended there, little realising that I would be having an indeed amazing and pleasant experience on this whole incident in the hours & days to come.
On Saturday 7th June(the next day) at about 2 pm, I logged into my Home Office and checked my email and lo behold, I had 3 emails sent to me by the ACP to who I had written the complaint email the previous day.. The first one, informed me that I had done the right thing by paying the fine and not the bribe, the second email asked to give my complaint in writing and fax it to the ACP, so that action can be taken on the SI and the 3rd email asked me to give the ACP a call
on his office no or his cell no, so that he could accelerate the action to be taken on the erring SI. I promptly put my complaint in a letter and sent a scanned copy through the email to the ACP.
On Sunday, 8th June in the morning I checked my email and I had an email from the ACP stating that the erring SI had been suspended from services and that I must give the ACP a call to work out the next formalities. I called the ACP (till now I did not know the name of this ACP) who answered my call on the Sunday. During my phone conversation he introduced himself as ACP Pravin Sood, and thanked me for doing what I did wrt not paying the bribe and also escalating the matter in writing, he explained that many Bangalore citizens escalate such cases to him but then back down when asked to give the complaint in writing. He apologised to me (yes - he said "I am sorry for what you faced with this SI who harassed you, because he did not have any business stopping your to check your documents if you had not done any traffic violation") and he invited me over to Tea to his office at a time convenient to me. After I kept the phone down, I could not believe that here was a case where within 48 hours of an incident of seeking bribe, the erring office was suspended. I decided that I must meet in person ACP Pravin Sood, speaking with who for 10 minutes had changed a few paradigms in my mind about Public Services Officers. Since I was travelling the next few days, I sought time with him on 15th June at 4.30 pm at his office. I reached ACP Sood's office a little early (at 4.10 pm) and was pleasantly surprised when I was ushered into his office at 4.15 pm, he asked me to sit as he was completing a meeting with another delegation. At sharp 4.30 pm he ended his previous meeting and turned to me and spent the next 20 minutes discussing with me several aspects of Traffic Policing in Bangalore and offered me a cup of tea (Many corporate clients I visit, do not see me on time
and do not ask me for a cup of tea, so what ACP Sood was doing was indeed better than many corporate folks I have met!). Right through the conversation, he was courteous, frank and completely articulate on his thoughts and ideas. He reiterated that there would be no repercussions on me for giving the complaint in writing, and that I may have to make one appearance in person when the internal enquiry is done, he also offered that instead of me having to come to the Police headquarters to give the statement, he could send one of his officers to my residence to take my statement if I so wish. When I was leaving ACP Sood's office, I told him "Over the years many of my friends and cousins have urged me to migrate and settle in
one of the western countries, but I have consciously chosen to stay back in India by my choice - when I have interactions like the one I had with you ACP Sood, I am happy that I made the choice to stay back in India". It was an impromptu comment, straight from my heart to which ACP Sood just smiled and shook my hand.
When I was walking out of ACP Sood's office, I felt reassured that if we have officers like ACP Pravin Sood in our country, there is a Glimmer of Hope, against corruption, provided, we as citizens have the courage to say NO to Bribes and have the inclination to report cases of Bribe (I am no major RTI or Social activist, yet I found all the info I needed on the web, sitting in my
Home Office). Change begins with me, I can make a difference !
Chief Value Creator
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Their Unstarred Questions, Debates, MPLADS, and Goa’s fragile future
Do you remember any speech or debate raised by our 3 elected leaders in the Lok Sabha (Shri Shripad Naik, Shri Francisco Sardinha, and Shri Churchill Alemao) in the last 5 years?
Out of 332 sittings in 14th Lok Sabha, all covered by mainstream news channels, any one issue or any one intellectual speech that positioned issues of Goa or India? Do we remember that in the last 5 years, which had 1738 hours 45 minutes on actual sittings and 423 hours wasted due to disruptions and adjournments, not one moment did we hear or see any of our 3 leaders even positioning their intellectual capital or acumen which in a way represents us. Otherwise flamboyant speakers in Goa, seem invisible in Delhi.
The 14th Lok Sabha had several opportunities for our leaders to give direction to the future of our country, whether it is the5 Budget Sessions, Indo US Nuclear Agreement, 5 Railway Budgets, The Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, National Rural Health Mission, Sarva Shikhsa Abhiyan, etc. So many chances came and gone, Goan electoral did not position their thought leadership nor expresses our feelings and insecurities.
Interesting Unstarred Questions raised by these 2 leaders:
Out of the 332 sittings sessions in the 14th Lok Sabha and 76,360 unstarred questions that can be asked (230 unstarred question asked per session), the number of unstarred questions asked by the North Goa MP Shri Shripad Naik were 106 and South Goa MP were 14! Shri Sardinha joined the Lok Sabha in Nov 2007, but in over 2 years he asked mere 14 unstarred questions. Out of all the daily issues that we are suffering from at Central and State level whether it is drop in Tourism, Illegal Mining, Poor Infrastructure, Drug Trafficking, Unemployment, etc. all that we expected from our leaders is to bring these national problems on to the table. To expect them to solve these problems is a distant hope. Something that will evangelize when the new generation steps in to clean the system.
Analysis on the type of Unstarred Questions show striking difference in the 2 leaders, Shri Shripad Naik focus is purely on broad central issues and occasional questions on Goa such as trains stopping at Goa. Where as Shri Sardinha has been myopic on questions on Marmugoa, some even as microscopic on ‘when the next telephone directory is going to be released’!
I mean out of all the issues that Goa and India is trying to survive in. There emerges a Unstarred question on when the next Telephone directory is going to be published. Surprisingly there is a reason to ask as, the Telephone directory has not been published for 3 years!
From Nov 2007, Shri Sardinha participated in 7 debates; where as Shripad Naik participated in 18 debates since 2004. The least we can expect with from our leaders is to realize the opportunity and participate in debates that shape the future of country.
Some interesting debates discussed by our 2 MPs-
On 30-11-2006, Shri Shripad Naik had raised the debate on dam being built by Karnataka Government on river Mandovi. He said that “The Government of Karnataka, without the permission of the Central Government and the Central Water Board, is diverting the water from Mahadai Basin constructing the Kalsa, Bhandara canals. Diverting 7.56 TMC of water will have negative effect on Goan day-to-day life”.
But this debate did not go on, nor did it get the prioritization by the Center. Why is that this Problem of diversion of Mandovi not yet addressed, why did not become a national debate followed by immediate result? Today’s new Goa, has adapted to this helpless system of failed governance by taking its on issues through peoples movement. So Mandovi Diversion is one more thing for the people of Goa to solve as present Goan politicians only react after peoples movement. We are grateful to the efforts of Mahadei Bachao Abhiyan and its crusaders such as Shri Rajendra Kerkar for their relentless pursuit for justice.
Only one debate worth mentioning raised by Shri Sardinha, was the issue of survey work for upgradation of National Highway No. 17. Out of 7 Debates raised by Shri Sardinha, one interesting debate raised was when he Reported attack on the Governor of Goa in Nagaland in Lok Sabha, he went to comment the following “It is not the first time that they tried to kill Mr. Jamir. They tried to kill him three-four times earlier also but up till now, the God has kept him alive. They tried to kill him in 1990, 1991 and 1999. When he went last time on 25th September, 2000, the NSCN-IN Group went to the extent of issuing a fatwa against Shri Jamir’s social interaction and his entry into Nagaland. The silence of the State Government and the Central Government in the matter is sending shivers up the spine of the nationalist people of this country. It is not only an attack on Shri S.C. Jamir, but it is an attack on the Constitutional position that he holds. It is therefore an attack on the Constitution of India. I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Home Minister to see that Shri Jamir is safe in this country.”
Now I am surprised to see that Shri Sardinha is so deeply worried with safety of Shri Jamir, as compared to the safety of citizens of Goa or Indians who are being arrested, manhandled by the police when they protest illegal mining, when they raise their voices against illegal construction and injustice. Why does Shri Sardinha choose to prioritize & speak about insecurity of Shri Jamir more than the insecurity fellow Goans who vote for him? Why no debate raised on Goan sailors susceptible to Somalian pirates, SEZ, Indian Mujahedeen, Kandamahal, Drugs sold in Goa etc.
The Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) was introduced in 1993. Under this scheme a member of Lok Sabha has the choice to suggest to the Head of the District, development works to the tune of Rs. two crore per year, to be taken up in his/her constituency.
Following are the dates of installments when money has been received by these 2 constituencies. Data here represents as per constituency.
Following table shows how much money was sanctioned to our respective constituencies and how much they have used since 1993:
Why has Rs. 4.29 Crores not utilized in South Goa constituency and why has Rs. 1.65 Crores not utilized in North Goa constituency? Since 1993, Out of the total 54.98 crores sanctioned to these 2 constituencies where has Rs. 46.06 Crores been spent? And where do they plan to spend the remaining Rs 5.94 Crores?
Due to limitation of time, I am unable to investigate where this money has been spent. I would request each of the respected leaders to kindly share with “Aam Aadmi who will be Khaas Aadmi for this 1 week”, how, when and where this money has been spent.
Let’s not forget another member of Loks Sabha whom we elected in 2004.
As per the www.nocriminals.org, a website to stop criminals getting tickets for Lok Sabha, Goa featured in the top 3 with highest percentage% of elected MPs with criminal case. Goa ranked after Daman- Diu and Jharkhand as we elected one such member of out of the 2 seats (50%). As per Liberty Institute & Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit (FNF) initiative of Empowering India database Shri Churchill Alemao who has the following criminal cases against him:
IPC Section- 143, 144, 145, 147, 148 IPC
Description -unlawful assembly, unlawful assembly with deadly weapon, joining and continuing unlawful assembly, Rioting, Rioting with deadly weapons
BJP which promises itself to be a party with a difference had 21% of its elected representative with criminal cases compared to Congress which had 18% in the 14th Lok Sabha, where as JMM topped the list with 100% of its elected representatives having criminal cases. Politicians are today seasoned to pass the buck. Every time you throw these statistics against them, and they cry foul play due to victimization in politics. So far no politician has yet been sentenced.
Both the constituencies are grappling with basic issues many of them not being addressed by the “knee-jerk” governance of the state. Many of these issues were not raised by the MPs though some of them came under Union or Concurrent List.
Some of the issues where Goa Government has shown knee jerk response:
- There are 7 casinos operating, then there is people outcry then there is a raid, some licenses are questioned but legally still functional. If it was only about revenue to the Government, then it could have been raised purely through limiting to 2 licenses and keeping them for international bidding. Sometimes I wonder to what extent are we as society been stretched in the name of tourism, today its revenue from Casinos tomorrow the Government might start Legalizing Prostitution and charge service tax!
- Deep pocketed Real estate builders are given permissions to build large housing projects targeting the affluent of metros. No initiative has been taken by the 2 respected leaders in the Lok Sabha to protect or preserve the state’s “unique identity and culture”. Why our Lok Sabha leaders did not protest nor stop the Goa Real Estate exhibitions held in New Delhi & Mumbai.
- Mining around periphery of forests and villages were given permission. In the grass roots of Goa, the villagers have organized to protest, many of these stories are so remote that they are not covered in mass media. The outcries resulted in another knee jerk response, several stop work notices were issued but after months of silence work resumes in these mines. What has been the stand of these 2 leaders on this in the Lok Sabha, what activities and actions have they taken in New Delhi to solve these grievances.
- Tourists are drugged and raped on the beaches, international and national media make an outcry. Goa is considered no more safe this responded by another knee jerk reaction, with arrests and suspensions, after a few months all back to business. Why was there no dedicated debate on this in the Lok Sabha? What institutions of national importance have been built or planned in Goa by these 2 leaders?
- 2008, A year of Shocking Increase in Criminal Cases
48.8 % Increase
- Eight years ago a ship abandoned on our Sinquerim coast, people make outcry, another knee jerk reaction called State Disaster but still no result. Isn’t Shipping and navigation on inland waterways, declared by Parliament by law to be national waterway, what have the 2 leaders done in Lok Sabha about this? Will some leader please dethrone this River Princess, or are we citizens of Goa to learn swimming and tug it away?
- Mass Protests against Special Economic Zones and IT Tech Parks as conflicting with peoples demand. But no evident agitation shown in Lok Sabha against SEZ by the 2 leaders.
- Garbage management is now a everyone’s problem, garbage being dumped illegally in villages, then there is citizen outcry, Government steps in, then there is a sudden controversial fire in Sonsodo, still no visible results. State Government is still no able to deliver any clear roadmap. Why haven’t 2 leaders tried getting more funds or taken ownership of any project using schemes like JNRUM to address garbage issue of Goa?
- Poor Infrastructure and Transport System- Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited is still a loss making company. Paulo Travels and KSRTC are making more money than Kadamba. Roads are not repaired frequently and many of them damaged due to high volume mining trucks and poor quality of road construction. People are compelled to do “Raasta Roko” like in Cancona to bring the governments focus on its issues. Even today there no daily trains connecting Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad etc.
Some more instances of a “Knee Jerk Governance” at our State:
- Regional Plan is drafted by Private consultants based in Delhi and set for implementation by Goa Government, followed by people outcry and now Regional Plan is set for discussions across every panchayat.
- Goan MLAs spend our tax payers’ money on lavish dinner parties, frequent flights and luxurious stays in hotels in Delhi / Mumbai. Shri Agnelo Fernandes, the chairman of Economic Development Corporation, Shri Gurudas Gawas, chairman of Goa Handicrafts, Rural and Small Scale Industries Development Corporation and Shri Shyam Satardekar, chairman of Goa Tourism Development Corporation were sent for the 10-day tour of Australia just when then they decided to plot a political coup. Organizations & Governments are globally are cutting costs but there seems to be no initiative taken by our respected leaders to cut costs of money that doesn’t belong to them.
- Once upon a time, we had the best healthcare for Aam Aadmi, in the name of Medical Tourism, Healthcare for Goans has become expensive.
Both BJP and Congress play with the sentiments of 3 religions-Hindus, Christians and Muslims. Both the leaders have never taken any initiative for Goans Pilgrims to visit places outside India such as Vatican, Mecca, Mansarovar, Mount Kailash etc (which is a Union Subject)
Sometimes I wonder whether the present state government has redefined the definition of Democracy from ‘of the people, for the people, by the people’ to “Government of the miners, for the real estate, by corruption”. Our role as people or citizens is just to be vigilant now that we have brought this government into power. The present politicians like to ride our emotions reminding our religions, communalism, family centric politics etc. they create this haze around by which we forget to ask one fundamental question “Have you delivered governance?”
When we press the ballot button, we must detach from all conditioning and ask will he deliver and if not am I not responsible for voting him in.