Goa Tourism Minister Matanhy Saldanha died at a hospital here after suffering a massive heart attack in the wee hours of Wednesday. Saldanha (64), also held the portfolios of Forests, Environment and Science
PANAJI: Goa Tourism Minister Matanhy Saldanha died at a hospital here after suffering a massive heart attack in the wee hours of Wednesday. Saldanha (64), who also held the portfolios of Forests, Environment and Science, attended a 'Shigmo' function at Canacona on Tuesday night.
At about 1.30 am, he began to feel uneasy and collapsed. He was shifted to a private hospital in Panaji, where doctors treating him tried to revive him for almost two hours, before declaring him dead. Doctors said that he had suffered a massive cardiac arrest. Matanhy's body has been shifted to the Goa Medical College (GMC) Hospital. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar rushed to the hospital on hearing the news.
The BJP legislator from the Cortalim constituency was sworn in as a minister on 9 March after the BJP secured an absolute majority in the recent Goa Legislative Assembly elections. Saldanha joined the BJP a few weks before the 3 March elections. He was one amongst six Catholic candidates who were given tickets by the party.
A two-time legislator, he was first elected in the year 2002 on the United Goans Democratic Party (UGDP) ticket. His party extended support to the Manohar Parrikar-led government and he was elevated to the status of cabinet minister by Mr Parrikar, and given the Tourism portfolio.
Born on 10 October 1948, Matanhy started political life as an activist. He was a leader of the traditional Ramponkar fishermen, and led many agitations to prevent mechanised trawlers from intruding into traditional fishing areas. He was also active in organisations of other traditional occupations such as toddy tappers. Later, he formed a regional party, the Gomant Lok Pokx (GLP), which unsuccessfully contested elections from 1984 to 1998. Before the 2002 elections, the GLP merged with the UGDP.
Even after becoming a minister, Matanhy remained at the forefront of the movement seeking rights for traditional fishermen. He led the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF). Among his more significant achievements was his leadership of the movement against Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the state, which resulted in the Digambar Kamat-led Congress-NCP coalition government taking a policy decision not to allow SEZs in the state.
An emergency cabinet meeting has been called at 9am today. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was scheduled to present the state budget in the Legislative Assembly today, and it is unclear whether the presentation of the budget will continue as scheduled.