Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How well have our Goan MPs & MLAs Performed?

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!

Debates

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.

MPLADS

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

Murders

48.8 % Increase

Rape

50% Increase

Theft

21% Increase

Kidnapping

116% 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.

April 23 is coming, many of young voters like me would be travelling over 600 kms to cast our vote, by travelling over 15 hours on roads that our below benchmark of other states in India. All this with a hope that governance will change, our leaders will change, because we as citizens are changing and evolving.

Jai Hind

Navendu Shirali

3 comments:

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Monica said...

Neo – I went through your blog spot, I thought I would glimpse through it since I am at work but it has been half an hour and I am still reading.

I don’t know what to say to you. I am here in a strange land, living here so we can have enough money for all we want in the future, and for our families. I struggle every day to accept the world around me as mine, but I am aching to go back to the sound of India when I wake up, and not the quiet beeping of the air conditioning system.

I know now what any awakened person of our generation must feel when we look at our motherland. I wear Indian clothes every day, and pray and go to the temple regularly, all just to cling to my identity ..more than I ever needed to do it back home…..i have so much to say but my thoughts are very garbled. Hope you got what I am trying to express.

You are not alone in how you feel.