Conducting Polls Amidst Crisis

The Election Commission of India has done a commendable job despite getting rap from Madras High Court during the pandemic crisis. ECI has successfully managed to hold elections despite the mammoth challenge of the pandemic crisis. Voters on the other hand need to be appreciated that despite such a crisis, they have successfully cast their ballots and elected the most deserving candidates across polling states. It also a welcome reprieve that ECI had to ban election victory rallies to contain the spread of COVID-19 in such a crisis. ECI should now focus on an innovative strategy to conduct polls amidst such a crisis. It should adopt innovative measures with the help of technology to conduct free and fair elections including voter list generation, polling process including filing and withdrawal of nomination papers, the announcement of poll results, and many other related jobs.

Varun Dambal, Bangalore

Priests Should Go Virtual To Perform Funeral Ceremonies

The death of a young priest Fr Jayson Vaz, the assistant parish priest at Our Lady of Hope church in Candolim has caused much grief and shock among the Catholic community in the state. Fr Jayson reportedly fell victim to Covid-19 infection. It must be said that Catholic priests, especially the elderly priests, face a great risk of being infected by the coronavirus while conducting the funeral prayers of a Covid-19 victim. It is observed that proper pandemic protocol is not followed while the burial of a Covid-19 victim is conducted. Those carrying the coffin should mandatorily wear the PPE kit. The body should be wrapped in plastic body-bag and the coffin should not be opened at any point of time till it is buried. It would be desirable for the priest to carry out a virtual blessing of the body at home through video call and the body taken directly to the cemetery for burial. The family members of the Covid-19 victim could take the holy water from the church and themselves sprinkle it over the body. This way at no point of time the priest will come in the vicinity of the victim’s body. There needs to cause a change in the protocol in the way funerals of Covid-19 victims are conducted in order to provide safety to the priests. Like elsewhere in the world, the novel coronavirus has made honouring the dead in India a hurried affair, largely devoid of the rituals in order to protect others.


CM Should Realise Gravity Of Situation

Goa is going through very turbulent times with scary days ahead. The forecast seems to be very bleak. Our hospitals and health centers are overwhelmed while our valiant brave medical heroes working round the clock to save precious lives. People are living in fear and with great anxiety.  It’s a sense of deep concern and despair all over. In this pandemic the government must get its priorities wrong. It cannot be concerned about speeding up non priority issues like land conversions rather than focusing on saving precious lives that we are losing by the day. In the current grim scenario only decisions on urgent issues should be taken while it should not be an opportunity to discreetly take other far reaching decisions without consulting the people. In the last two years the devastation of Goa has escalated and accelerated, the situation only worsening beyond imagination, particularly in the last year despite this epidemic. This government has brazenly and heartlessly been pursuing and pushing needless projects to Goa’s detriment and degradation of our already very fragile environment. It is high time our Chief Minister Pramod Sawant awakens to realize that the only way ahead for salvation is a strong, effective and sustained lockdown. Whatever it takes and for as long as it takes, till we overcome the virus. His Ayurvedic concoctions will just not work. It will only push Goa from the frying pan into the deep raging fire. Chief Minister must act swiftly and urgently. The time to act is now. If he cannot despite the deterioration in the situation, not helped by his lack luster half measures, as it is now beyond his capability then he must do the decent thing and jump ship to make room for another Captain to steer a now sinking Goa to safer waters. With proper urgent measures, driven by expert medical and scientific advice and determined resolve and leadership against Coronavirus, we can and must win this battle. We cannot allow our beautiful State to meet the fate of the Titanic. All we see now is a helpless CM and Government in power but not in control. Over recent days and weeks, the CM like the Captain of the Titanic has been moving the chairs on deck instead of changing course. CM, please act immediately. Atam Bhivpachi garaz Asa!