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Custodians Of Goa’s Identity, Environment 

LAST weekend I had an opportunity to attend a felicitation function of SSC toppers from the schools in Loutolim and Raia. The function was   organised by the Big Foot Trust at Loutolim. Every event of the trust is unique in the sense that it strives towards the preservation of Goan ethnicity, culture and traditions. In fact, politicians and those others who espouse the cause of ‘Goem, Goemkar, Goemkarponn’ to further their selfish interests may well emulate some of the efforts made by the trustees to promote the uniqueness of Goa. Besides, the trust’s role in encouraging environmental conservation really needs to be appreciated. The distribution of saplings to the students in the spirit of ‘Vanmahotsav’ amply suggests the deep concern for the surroundings. While the entire state is grappling with the garbage disposal issue, the ingenious initiatives by the trust if employed judiciously by municipalities and village panchayats promises to solve the gargantuan problem to quite an extent. But unfortunately our political leaders fail to take notice of such enterprising methods and do not find it necessary to endorse them in the larger interest of the state, serving only to deprive the region of the utilitarian schemes that would otherwise combat some of the civic problems assailing the state.  Tree plantation is considered as the best way to tackle rising temperatures and climate change. But it is sad to see politicians undertaking tree plantation drives only on the occasion of ‘Vanmahotsav’ and giving grand sermons on the importance of preserving nature for posterity. While the concept of ‘urban jungles’ or ‘nagarvan’ purports to be the small steps to a bigger solution, it remains to be seen whether our highly vaunted political system will work tirelessly towards giving the state the much-needed ‘green cover’ or will it further aid in the rapid urbanisation that has been the bane of developing cities! 


Bitter Taste Of Concocted Remedies 

MANY a times some medical practitioners, including those following unani, ayurved and homeopathy, mix strong doses of steroids in unbranded medicines like powders and syrups in a bid to show their self-acclaimed expertise in curing diseases. I had a bitter taste of this concocted medicine:  my mother died at the age of 58 years on August 21, 1980 after taking such daily dose of steroid-mixed unbranded Ayurvedic powder. The central government should come out with some effective measures to deal with the problem. Although the remedy lies in banning unbranded medicines, but the step could open a pathway for minting money for drug manufacturers. Hence the best option is that the Centre should establish its own production units to manufacture all kinds of medicines, including allopathic, unani, homeopathic and ayurvedic, so as to provide cheaper branded medicines. If this suggestion is adopted then it would be possible for the government to impose a total ban on unbranded medicines. This step will make drug manufacturers rein in skyrocketing prices of medicines.


An Encore Run Of Karnataka Drama

THE assembly elections in Karnataka held in May 2018 had thrown a fracture mandate as no party touched the magic figure of 113 to form government on its own. Although the BJP emerged as the single largest party, it fell short of the midway mark to stake claim in government formation. The Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular, which till then were sworn enemies and had contested the elections as adversaries, decided to unite with the single objective of keeping the BJP away. Though the Congress had twice the number of MLAs compared to the JD-S, it gave the top post to its ally, and H D Kumaraswamy was sworn in as the Chief Minister to ensure stability. But right from day one there had been persistent disarray in the government. On quite a few occasions we would hear that the Opposition leader and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa was trying to poach MLAs from the ruling alliance. Such was the height of dissatisfaction among the disgruntled MLAs of the Congress-JD-S government that more than once Kumaraswamy was seen shedding tears in public saying that it was difficult to endure the pains of the coalition government. Somehow the government continued with people wondering whether there is any governance in the state, or all the efforts were utilised in keeping the resentful MLAs glued together. However, the explosive bubble had to burst sooner or later; and now 13 MLAs – ten from the Congress and three of the JD-S – have resigned, reducing the government to a minority. The revolting MLAs have spurned the offer of ministerial berths in the wobbling coalition government.  Two Independents have also withdrawn the support to the alliance. It is pertinent to note here that there has been a steep tilt towards the BJP in Karnataka, where the saffron party romped home winning 25 of the 28 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. In this Karnataka ‘natak’, the Congress is the loser. The party has been in a mess after the Lok Sabha debacle, which has triggered resignations from party’s top leaders including Rahul Gandhi.  The turn of events is bad news for democracy for steadily the voice of the Opposition is fading and the country seems to be heading towards a single-party monopoly which can deviate to totalitarianism.


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