On Inconclusive Synod
The extraordinary synod of over 200 bishops which came to a close on October 19, 2014, on an inconclusive note, failed to reach a consensus on some pressing issues such as same-sex unions, and divorce and remarriage of Catholic couples. We will now have to wait for another year for pastoral guidelines to be formulated during the synod of 2015, which will hopefully come as good news to those families and couples living in crisis situations and not in full communion with the Church. However, it is difficult to visualise a Catholic Church reconciled to couples in live-in relations and same sex-unions as well as families of gays and lesbians as part of God’s loving design, when all along such relationships were taboo and sinful and violative of the sanctity of marriage and its Trinitarian dimension through the sacrament of matrimony. Nevertheless, the words of Pope Francis that “God is not afraid of change” and “Who am I to decide” seem reassuring and a sure indication of the positive direction in which the Church is moving and a sign of the changing times.
A F NAZARETH, Alto Porvorim
Pathetic Cab Service on Margao-Colva Route
I wish to highlight the plight of passengers, especially ladies, travelling in the taxis plying on the Margao-Colva route. I, myself, have had the experience of travelling in these crammed taxis, once with a ‘paan’ chewing migrant labourer by my side, and on another occasion crushed in my seat next to a stout woman, who overflowed from her place onto my lap. In the front, three passengers plus the driver are seated; one passenger sits close to the driver with the gear shift lever close to his groin. The driver sits at an angle in the corner driving the taxi. Five persons have to be content in travelling in the back seat. On one occasion, feeling crushed to his seat, a man stretched out his arm on the back rest. A woman by his side yelled at him, “Tum kitem korta? Tuzo haath sokol dovor.” This resulted in an argument between the two passengers with the driver keeping mum. Are these taxis so special that they have to be exempted from the penalty for overcrowding the vehicle, especially with three passengers in the front seat? On the day of the Colva Fama, the fare is doubled. Is there no control over this? The taxis have a monopoly over the route and do not allow the buses to ply, since the buses are considered as a threat to the taxis. The private bus operators are threatened and the buses stoned. Some years ago, a bus plied from Cuncolim to Colva via Margao. But the taxi drivers protested, and through the intervention of a minister got the bus permit cancelled. It would be nice if our very own ministers could enjoy this type of a drive! A lot of aggrieved villagers have been fighting for the plying of buses for several years even by organising rallies and morchas, but in vain. The same has also been discussed many times at the gram sabha meetings. It is high time the transport department put a stop to the overcrowding of these taxis and issued permits to buses to ply from the Margao market directly to Colva, thereby making both, the taxis as well as the buses ply on the same route and in this way make people travel comfortably and also make the tourists’ visit to Colva, a memorable one.
A COLACO, Seraulim
Tackling Waste Crisis
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and our Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar launched the ‘Swachh Bharat’ and ‘Nital Goem’ campaigns respectively, to make our nation free from garbage and to convert it into a clean and healthy place to live in. The door-to-door collection of garbage has commenced in many parts of Goa so as to ensure clean surroundings. However, in some villages in South Goa only the dry waste is being collected, while in some other villages, that too is not being undertaken and to add to this, the Margao municipal council (MMC) has removed or overturned the garbage bins in Margao and the surrounding areas, thus adding to the woes of the people. This has resulted in the dumping of garbage and waste in open areas and on roads thus contributing to the existing problem of garbage. Ironically, the door-to-door collection of garbage which was aimed at solving the problem of garbage disposal has now led to the waste being dumped in open areas due to the disappearance of the garbage bins, which were earlier present in these areas. Who is to be blamed for this? The MMC is at fault for removing the garbage bins, while at the same time, some of the village panchayats also need to be blamed for not commencing the door-to-door collection of garbage in full swing. I hope the concerned authorities will take immediate steps to tackle this crisis. Door-to-door collection of garbage should be started on a priority basis in all villages, covering all households, and the MMC officials should once again place the garbage bins in their original locations. With the cooperation of all citizens and authorities, we can strive to make ‘a garbage-free and clean Goa and India.’
JONLEN DE SA, NAVELIM