Limit Heritage Scheme To CSR Only
The heritage assistance to Old Goa sites under the central government scheme should be restricted only to help under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the corporate partner. The scheme should be only supportive in nature and restricted to reinforcement. The command and control of the religious structures, maintenance of the ambience and conduct of the religious rituals should be the sole prerogative of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and directly under the control of the Rector of the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the parish priest of the Se Cathedral whose decisions should be binding, since they are the custodians of these historical heritage religious monuments. The assistance rendered should be only a goodwill gesture without any other strings attached. The town of Old Goa should be maintained as a religious and spiritual place of worship of world class in accordance with the tenets of religion. As far as beautification of Old Goa is concerned, there is a lot that can be done with regard to maintenance of the lawns, plantation of ornamental trees that are Biblical in origin and general cleanliness thus keeping Old Goa spic and span and respecting the area as a spiritual sanctuary visited by almost everyone who comes to Goa. Commercialisation should not be the motive, and freedom of movement of the pilgrims should be befitting the spiritual nature of this old town, within bounds of modesty. Let us hope that the heritage scheme will result in the partner corporate receiving the blessings of Goencho Saib, St Francis Xavier, more valuable than anything else.
ELVIDIO MIRANDA, Panaji
Heritage Scheme: Archdiocese Must Spell Out Terms and Conditions
The decision of the Archdiocese of Goa to accept the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme on a platter does not seem to have gone down well with Goan Catholics. Catholics are possessive and proud about their culture and heritage. The least the archdiocese could have done is to have initiated a discussion and consulted the parishioners before taking a decision. Undoubtedly, the archdiocese has good reasons for taking this decision. Personally, I believe that the decision will benefit the heritage structures. But these reasons should be made public to the parishioners so as to assuage the feelings. Moreover, the archdiocese must also spell out the terms and conditions of the scheme along with the safeguards in case the terms are contravened. Further, the parishioners must also know what benefits the private player will derive from the deal.
ROBERT CASTELLINO, Calangute
Abduction Of Indian Engineers In Afghanistan
Indian nationals must be extra careful while performing duty on foreign lands known for hostility to outsiders. The call of duty should be admixed with adequate caution. Afghanistan is not exactly an unfriendly country to India but it is a war-ravaged nation struggling to come to terms with the Taliban movement, which is waging a war against the State. Currently, north Afghanistan is an area where significant Taliban presence is acknowledged. It is here that seven Indian engineers, on their way to work in an electric company KEC, which is in collaboration with an Indian giant, dealing with infrastructure, procurement and engineering, were reportedly abducted by the Taliban members. No group has claimed responsibility for the Indians’ kidnapping but going by the area, it is widely confirmed that the abductors could be none other than the Talibani group because the area is the stronghold of Taliban deputy chief for Posthun region Qari Bakhtiar. Why Indians, is a natural question, and there are quite a few theories. First, it may have been a case of mistaken identity as the Taliban may have thought the engineers were Afghan government officers. Secondly, in an area where poverty rules and where the Taliban-controlled areas are deprived of electricity, the extortion and revenge angle creeps in. Third, the massive electric construction work which signifies development may have made the Taliban commanders see red. Fourth, but a remote one, Indians specifically may have been targeted by the Taliban, prompted by Pakistan’s ISI, because Islamabad is extremely worried about New Delhi’s large economic contribution to Afghanistan and wants to create a fear psychosis among the Indian workers. Ironically, the Indians are said to have refused armed escorts fearing the Taliban attack knowing well the latter’s pernicious antipathy towards anybody from the government. It is hoped that there will be an expeditious and safe release of the Indians as the local tribal elders are engaged in mediation with the abductors.
GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA