LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (15/02/2021)

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China Stalling WHO’s COVID-19 Probe

When the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origin of coronavirus stated that it was ‘extremely unlikely’ that the Wuhan virology institute was the source of origin of the virus that led to the deadly pandemic as it was well secured, China thought that they had got away with owning responsibility for being to be blamed for the initiation of the outbreak. The WHO team however had also suggested that the virus was an animal to human transmission. But later the Chinese authorities ‘refused’ to give the WHO `raw data’ meaning details of the first 174 cases that originated in the wet markets of Wuhan, in the end of the third week of December, 2019 to the beginning of the fourth week of December, 2019, at which the outbreak was first reported in China. Because the WHO was seemingly favouring China, former US president Donald Trump suspended funding to the WHO. Now, the WHO itself has been not getting sufficient cooperation from the Chinese authorities which definitely suggests that China has something to hide. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, the confirmed infections and the fatality rates worldwide make for very grim reading. Johns Hopkins University data reveal that there are 108 million confirmed cases of infections and 2.39 million deaths due to Covid-19 across the globe.  In light of this unprecedented tragedy in the world which has disrupted normal lives, caused untold misery and suffering to the people across the world and severely affected economy throughout the globe, it is the duty of the most affected countries to exert pressure both diplomatic and through economic sanctions on China.

Elvidio Miranda, Panaji

Vasco Needs Development

Elections to the Civic bodies of Goa including the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) will most likely be held next month, although the government is yet to fix a date. Mormugao Municipal Council has a total of 25 wards. The number of voters is over one lakh. Three constituencies namely Mormugao, Vasco and a part of Dabolim constituency come in the municipal area. Last time the winning municipal panel was backed by the Vasco MLA and for almost four years the same panel was in power in the municipality. For some months the panel backed by the Mormugao MLA was in power. It seems that the council has been the bone of contention between both the MLAs for which the people of the constituency had to suffer. The latest issue of non-payment of the workers led to garbage piling. Mercifully the issue has been resolved. The city of Vasco has not witnessed much development over the years. Several projects like the bus-stand, the fish-market and other projects are either moving at snail’s pace or the work is yet to commence.

ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO

Promoting Tourism During Pandemic

Although for the first time in several years, Carnival in Goa witnessed mellowed-down celebrations instead of extravagant parades and merrymakings with the government planning just two days of festivities over the weekend, it needs to be congratulated for upholding the cultural traditions of the state even amidst the pandemic. While it was for the administration to ensure that all SOPs were in place during these two fun-filled days, the public had to be cautious enough to observe all the safety norms prescribed while partaking in the festival. There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the compulsions of overcoming a tottering economy have compelled the government to organize festivals and activities of this kind. Yet, the fact that the government has shown the verve to adhere to the cultural almanac of the state and proceed with their celebrations, the COVID-19 scare notwithstanding, speaks for its resoluteness in ushering in a level of normalcy in the state. Moreover, festivals and cultural events are money-spinners and a government would have to be  naïve enough to bypass such opportunities to shore its fiscal deficits. For that matter, festivals and cultural gaieties as tourist attractions, have always helped the state rake in a whole lot of moolah. Yet, it is the indecisiveness of the government to explore existing avenues to bolster its sagging image as one of the leading global tourist destinations in the world that comes in for much criticism. Hence the contention that despite Goa’s long coastline being blessed with the most enchanting beaches lapped by the Arabian Sea and a host of other attractions which have fascinated visitors to the state, Goa’s aversion for making use of its natural environment to advance tourism could one day prove disastrous for the state! The state has always depended on its tried and tested methods which it has stuck to for decades now to enhance tourism.

But without innovations, expecting a robust increase in footfall would be a distant dream for Goa. The state’s tourism dependence on charter flights is well known. Instead of banking on its ‘seasonal’ attribute, Goa tourism needs to initiate plans to make the state a 365-day destination. Introducing novel concepts, there are ample ways to promote tourism in the state. It just calls for being a lot more enterprising.

PACHU MENON, MARGAO