LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Parrikar, A Great Son Of Goa

IN the death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, Goa has lost a leader of high intellectual caliber who distinguished himself as a talented administrator. Parrikar served the state four times as the chief minister – from the year 2000 till March 17, 2019. He also served as the defence minister from November 2014 to March 2017. As the defence minister, Parrikar gave a fitting reply to Pakistan with surgical strikes, proving India’s superiority against Pakistan, which is a haven for terrorists. He was respected by all the people of India. During his tenure as the chief Minister of Goa, Parrikar was fully immersed in taking forward growth and development. He had the courage to face any crisis with calmness and dignity. He launched many social welfare schemes for the poor and downtrodden, and strove for their upliftment. His achievements in launching public projects are too many to mention. Parrikar gave a big-push to infrastructure works like roads and bridges connecting them with national highways. Parrikar has undoubtedly proved that he was one of the greatest chief ministers of Goa. He was friendly and had the dynamism of youth to face any crisis. His passing away is a great loss to Goa. In order that we serve his memory well and live up to his ideas, Goan politicians must cast aside their communal and petty differences and stand united together as one and not show our greed for power but to work for a better tomorrow, for the poor people of Goa.

MELSON F M LOUIS, MUNGUL

 

Watch On Voter Inducements

THOSE supplying bread at the doorsteps, milkmen and newspaper delivery boys will come under the radar of the Goa police as they could be used as couriers of bribe money for voters during the Lok Sabha elections. It is pertinent to note that several other vendors visit households selling their fare including fish, vegetables, fruits etc. At times housemaids also move from house to house, as most of them work in several households. These people could also be used as couriers to dole out money to voters. A common practice that is also followed is to issue vouchers to the voters which can be exchanged for a drink and even food at the local bar and restaurant. A watch also needs to be kept on such malpractice. However, this may not be an easy task for the police as the vouchers could be used by the voters even after the election process is complete. It is left to the individual voter not to be influenced by such offers and vote as per their conscience.

ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO

 

Forest Dwellers Pushed To The Wall

THE International Day of Forests was celebrated on March 21. The theme of this year was ‘Forests and Education’. A report calls forest management as “an essential means to sustainably manage forest resources while supporting local livelihoods and cultural values”.  It is a shame that instead of rewarding the forest dwellers for their outstanding contribution towards protecting the forests of our country, there is an effort to jeopardise their symbiotic relationship with the forests. Forest dwellers preserve forests not just as their habitation but as God. They worship the ecosystem as a spiritual being.  Now, let us focus on the Bishnoi tribe of Rajasthan. They derive their name from the set of 29 (‘bish’ = 20 plus ‘noi’ = 9) rules which they are supposed to honour. Some of these rules showcase the spiritual relationship between them and the forest like don’t cut green trees (‘runkh lila nahi ghave’) and provide a common shelter for all abandoned animals so that they are not slaughtered (‘amar rakhve that’). Felling trees and killing animals are treated as crimes in Bishnoi society.  The Bishnois are rightly called the first environmentalists of India. They build water storage tanks that can store rainwater for humans and animals. They bury the deceased instead of following their religious tradition to cremate the dead body. They do it to avoid wastage of firewood and air pollution. To minimise the use of trees, they utilise cow dung cakes as fuels for cooking. They only collect deadwood. Even a carpenter waits patiently for a tree to fall. Bishnois have been fighting court cases and poachers no matter how big the suspect may be – even if he is as famous as Mansur Ali Khan of Pataudi or Salman Khan of Bollywood. Indeed, the environment and the lives of the forest dwellers got improved in less than three per cent of the forest cover of India where traditional inhabitants became managers of their forestland. Undoubtedly, we need to immediately implement the 2006 Forest Rights Act in the remaining 97 per cent of the forest area.

SUJIT DE, KOLKATA

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