LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Groundwater Contamination in Goa
THE recent nationwide survey undertaken by the water resources ministry has revealed alarming levels of groundwater contamination in several districts of the country which has rendered the water unsuitable for drinking and posed a host of health hazards.

Goa too faces a similar problem due to the rampant and illegal mining activity that has poisoned the groundwater due to the release of mining wastes and untreated effluents into the ground. Secondly, the widespread practice of discharging raw sewage and overflowing septic tanks, with improper soak pits is another cause of groundwater contamination. A third cause is the excessive use of nitrogenous fertilisers in agriculture which causes large amounts of water soluble nitrates to seep into the ground. Indiscriminate release of toxic industrial waste is yet another area of concern. Now that the Goa government has begun a crackdown on unregistered water extraction from wells, and declared Goa as a ‘scheduled’ state, a state-wide survey and mapping to locate areas of contaminated groundwater is also necessary before it is too late and the same fate befalls Goa.
A  F NAZARETH, Alto Porvorim

Report on Congress Debacle
THE Antony panel report on the Congress debacle during the assembly elections should be taken seriously.  The Congress high command will have to act on the report of the committee headed by the Defence Minister, Mr A K Antony, rather than consigning it to the shelves. Otherwise future of the grand old party of India will be bleak. It must be pointed out here that the Congress has moved away from the masses from where organisational structure should evolve and solidify.  And this lack of focus on the Indian hoi polloi is the main reason for the emergence of various regional parties, which have now become a threat to the democracy and development of the country. They are giving the Congress and the BJP a run for their money. No doubt that Mr Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement and price rise were instrumental for the Congress debacle, but why did the party rely too much on leaders who had defected from other parties? Besides, announcement on reservation for the minorities might have polarised sections of the majority community against the Congress.  This is high time for the Congress to ponder over the recommendations of the Antony panel.
BIDYUT KUMAR CHATTERJEE, Faridabad
 
Act Tough against Pak-aided Terrorists
INDIA’S track record in fighting cross-border terrorism is woefully uninspiring! It is not that India is incapable of fighting terrorism, but because of its weak-kneed and irresolute stance it is not acting tough against the captured terrorists, who are being treated as honoured guests. Pakistan, which is a highly unstable nation due to its internal bickering, is acutely conscious that it cannot further fight India in a direct war having been beaten black and blue in two or three wars including the 1971 Bangladesh independence war. Pakistan is adopting this strategy of brainwashing and nurturing the innocent Pakistanis as terrorists and unleashing them against India. India should take a tough stand in dealing with the militants. And they should be shot dead. There is no point in capturing the militants alive, as it is a very costly affair in keeping them alive.  The case of 26/11 accused Ajmal Qasab illustrates this.   The government has already spent crores of rupees on Qasab, treating him like a state honoured guest. He along with Afzal Guru should be hanged as early as possible to teach the terrorists a lesson that they can’t play with the life of innocent Indians.
G VIRENDRA, Hubli
 
War against Plastic Menace
THE decision of the government to clear plastic waste strewn along the roads in the state from May 20 and to make the Goan beaches plastic-free by September is most welcome. But then a one-time clearing of the garbage will not solve the problem permanently. People will carry on throwing garbage along the highway and empty bottles and plastic waste on the beaches once the present garbage and waste is removed. We need a permanent solution to the problem. One way is to impose fine if people are caught throwing plastic waste on the beaches and garbage along the roads. An awareness campaign is necessary to make the people aware of the need to properly deposit the waste at designated places. More garbage-bins are required to be put up so that the garbage and plastic waste is deposited in them. Awareness should be created of the need to segregate the waste into wet and dry waste at the source itself. Door-to-door collection of waste should be introduced in all municipal and panchayat areas. It is pertinent to note that actress Vidya Balan, who won the best actress award for her role in The Dirty Picture, has been appointed as the brand ambassador for promoting sanitation by the Rural Development Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh to spread awareness about the drinking water and sanitation campaign. Similarly the Goa government could appoint a prominent Goan as brand ambassador to bring about awareness about proper disposal of garbage and plastic waste. It may be recalled that when a brand ambassador was appointed during the recent assembly elections to encourage the youth to vote by the State Election Commission, the success of the project was immense. A similar exercise should be introduced for creating awareness of proper disposal of waste and garbage and maintaining our surrounding clean.
ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO
 

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