Goans Bear Brunt Of COVID Norms

HEALTH Minister Vishwajit Rane has belittled the new norms introduced by the Maharashtra government as regards the entry of people from Goa and three other states. But look what Goans will have to undergo. The COVID test mandated is not the basic antigen test but the RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) test. Some private hospitals in the state charge as high as Rs 4500 for the particular test. And the report, which takes a day to come out, is valid only for three days. I know of two persons who work in Kudal, Maharashtra, and come back home at the weekends. Each person will have to shell out Rs 18,000 in a month, if they want to continue visiting home. On the other hand, at the state borders and the Dabolim airport, there is red-carpet welcome for travellers, who need not have to undergo the antigen test. They have to undergo only a three-second thermal screening, free of charge, which indicates only body temperature; it is not the COVID test. So how do we ensure that people getting into Goa are not COVID carriers? Can there be a preventive measure in place in the interest of Goans?


Don’t Lower COVID Guard 

IT is heartening to note that COVID-19 cases have been on the decline in the last few weeks in the state. However, this is not the time for the government to be complacent but to put in place measures for increased testing for residents and a full-fledged protocol for screening and testing visitors entering Goa. The economy definitely has to revive but not at the cost of Goans’ lives. Tourists vacationing in the state pay no heed to COVID safety norms: they don’t keep to social distancing, and are not seen wearing masks. With no testing protocol in place for visitors entering the state, Goa may see a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. It is my humble request to the Sawant government to act swiftly and come out with a robust protocol for testing tourists entering the state.


The Bogey Of ‘Love Jihad’

THERE are more than enough laws to deal with any misdemeneaurs but  BJP-ruled states implement laws selectively and legislate new  ones to dilute the stringent laws, removing all procedural checks and balances to impose their will most unjustly. Many BJP-ruled states want to legislate against ‘love jehad’, a term coined by the saffron party that seeks to criminalise interfaith marriages targetting Muslim men in particular. The proposed bill against the so-called ‘love jihad’ makes mincemeat of the constitutional right for adult choice, liberty and life.


Assam Loses Its Tallest Leader

THE demise of former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi marked the end of an era. Gogoi rescued Assam from an armed insurgency, steering it on the path of economic development. He was also a former Union minister, and contributed immensely for maintaining social harmony among various communities of Assam. The people of Assam will forever be indebted to him for his efforts to transform the state. May his soul rest in peace!