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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Achieve Self-sufficiency In Vegetable Production

WITH no ‘external’ factors influencing them, it is believed that the economics of the time would help markets evolve their own pricing for various commodities according to the changing seasons. The Goan market has always been unique in the sense that the availability and prices of fish, vegetables and meat have always complemented each other. That is to say that whenever one disappears from the market, there is an incidental hike in the rate of the other(s).  With fish in the state embroiled in a rare controversy which has deprived many Goans their staple diet, the skyrocketing prices of vegetable and meat ‘uniformly’ across the state is a phenomenon that lacks a sane explanation. However, it is a trend that needs to be arrested at the earliest before things spiral out of control! Of course, with the onset of monsoon a hike in rates of vegetables is to be expected. But the steep rise in prices this time around is indeed worrisome. Considering that Goa has always depended on its neighbouring states for fresh vegetables and fruits, it is difficult to comprehend why efforts have never been made to encourage the locals to be self-sufficient in their needs for various vegetables and greens! Substantial local produce entering the market will always reduce the demand for outstation products. Although the concept of ‘kitchen gardens’ have found much favour with many Goan households, concerted efforts to encourage local farmers to take up vegetable cultivation as a profitable business is not paying much dividends. Contrary to the tall claims, the state horticultural corporation has not been all that effective in encouraging Goan farmers to cultivate vegetables locally. Besides, the want of good rates continues to deter many of them from selling the produce directly to the corporation. Bogged down by acute manpower shortage to take up farming as a commercial enterprise, the locals need to be convinced about the government’s sincerity in helping them.

PACHU MENON, COMBA

‘Restore’ Goa

THERE isn’t a beautiful place like Goa anywhere in India. This is the impression of Ananditaa, a young Mumbai actor who was in Goa to shoot for a music video. Some would agree with her, comparatively speaking though. But for people like me who have lived here and seen a better Goa in many ways, it is difficult to accept her opinion. Am I being negative and unappreciative? Certainly not. I do appreciate the good things that exist and have happened in the last five decades. Goa has natural beauty, greenery, less pollution, friendly and peace loving people, less crowded streets, good cuisine, etc. What people like me don’t like is Sonsoddo and other mini Sonsoddos here which are a blot on Goa, health-wise and otherwise; the frequent power failures and poor water supply which affect our daily life; the unavailability of safe fish, our staple food, at affordable rates; costly transport which affects tourists and locals alike; the absence of road discipline which has made our state the number one state in road accidents and the illegal building of houses on the hills and in the fields which are meant for horticulture and agriculture. If the government and the people could make collective efforts to free our state from these problems, at least substantially if not fully, Goa could truly be what Ananditaa says – a beautiful place which isn’t there anywhere else in India.

RODNEY DE SOUZA, ASSAGAO  

Pedestrians Not Safe

THE pedestrians are the most respected people on the roads in the world. This is because they are the weakest entities on the roads and the most vulnerable people to accidents. In some countries like Sri Lanka, vehicles stop at zebra crossings even when they see a pedestrian waiting to cross. Such is the respect people have for pedestrians. In India, the pedestrian is sadly the least respected person on our streets. Generally, no vehicle stops to allow a pedestrian to cross and the latter needs to run across to be saved from being hurt or killed. Absence of traffic lights is the main reason for continuous flow of traffic making crossing of pedestrians extremely difficult. Even if a decent motorist stops to allow a pedestrian to cross, there is sure to be another one behind, overtaking on the right or the left putting the pedestrian to risk. This happens regularly and hence many drivers or riders do not stop to avoid the pedestrians being knocked down by another vehicle. The pedestrians are not even safe on zebra crossings, as vehicles do not slow down to allow them to cross and almost invariably they have to wait for long due to the flow of vehicles. I was shocked to read, last month, in your newspaper, one column reporting half a dozen deaths of pedestrians in just two or three days on the roads in Goa. And we still boast of being a cultured people and one of the most literate states of the country. I am sorry to say this, but the truth is that Goans are the most uneducated, inconsiderate and insensitive people on the streets.  But no amount of negative adjectives will change the mindset of Goans, who seem to have more money than brains and heart. How much pain and trauma accidents cause to families is something we heartlessly ignore. The ‘sossegado’ Goan is always in a hurry only on the roads. This is not only because the enforcement of law in such matters is a zero but because the punishment even for reckless and negligent driving is arrest followed by bail. This shows how much human life is valued in this so-called spiritual country. Surely there aren’t as many deaths of cattle and perhaps even of dogs on our roads as there are of humans.  The solution to traffic and parking problems is inter-city transport, which successive governments have conveniently ignored, though it could have helped unemployed Goans.

JOSE MARIA MIRANDA, MARGAO

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