LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (19/11/2020)

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Full-fledged Fire Station For Vasco

It may be recalled that a few days back grass along the Verna-Airport road had caught fire, causing concern, as the location is not very far from the oil storage facility. Fortunately, the fire was extinguished before much damage was done. The port town of Vasco is home to several vital installations of national interest. The population of the town is growing by leaps and bounds. Several residential buildings have come up and there is the Zuarinagar slum area where several migrants live. A fire incident at this place could prove disastrous. What is surprising is that Vasco does not have a full-fledged fire station. The old fire station was demolished some years back after it was declared unsafe. However, the construction of a new fire station building is yet to see the light of day. It is understood that the project-related estimates have been prepared and cancelled several times. Every time the cost of the project only keeps on mounting. At present, the fire engines are housed in a makeshift open shed. A full-fledged fire station is the need of the hour for a cosmopolitan town like Vasco. Hopefully, the government will look into issue.

ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO

Acid Test For Suu Kyi

Democracy had won in Myanmar five years ago when Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi ensured her party’s win in the country with her National League for Democracy party romping home in the November 2015 elections. A constitutional hitch had prevented Suu Kyi from adorning the President’s throne and she had handpicked her trusted lieutenant for the top post after being endorsed by the parliament. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner ensured the army was ousted from power after ruling the roost since 1962. Suu Kyi created the State Counsellor of Myanmar post for her. Now, the people of Myanmar have reposed their faith in the peace icon. Suu Kyi has literally swept the 2020 elections with a thumping majority. However, the military, which kept 25 per cent of the parliament seats for itself, did not make life easy for Suu Kyi. There was also a general feeling that Suu Kyi was in tacit understanding with the army on key issues affecting the nation, going by the subsequent developments in Myanmar. The Rohingya refugee crisis was one issue that considerably dented the Nobel laureate’s image. She was accused of not understanding the magnitude of the issue and helping the military in pushing its agenda. Her defence of the army’s action of brutally cracking down on the refugees at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) did precious little to save her ‘peace icon’ image. Now that Suu Kyi has earned a fresh mandate of her people, the country looks at her with hope. Her endurance, resilience and comradeship will be tested.

GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA

Allow Elderly To Attend Mass

With Mass having resumed in churches around the state under strict protocols, it would be in the fitness of things to allow all those above 65 years of age to attend the same, since the very idea of hearing Mass in the spiritualistic solemnity of a church or chapel not only provides moral upliftment that is not experienced in the confines of a home but could also infuse a religious mindset that could allow those above 65 to keep COVID-19 at bay and thus reduce infections among the elderly. During the yesteryears, the first thing a woman would do in the morning was to attend Mass wearing a black veil to cover hair. This spiritual participation would empower and strengthen the women to build a strong morality to face the entire day ahead. It goes without saying that these women were healthy and resisted diseases. Also, confessions form an important part of the Catholic faith and thus it may be impressed that even confessions should be resumed in churches and chapels while keeping a distance between the priest and the person confessing from the next one in the line by keeping them away from earshot, as confessions are able to reduce the feeling of guilt. By taking the Holy Communion, the sins are forgiven and positivity resides within the mind as also the body remains shielded from disease as also the soul is enlightened. When hearing Mass online, people can only see the priest and the altar, but many elderly persons prefer to pray by looking at other altar images, which gives them more strength.

STEPHEN DIAS, DONA PAULA