LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (02/06/2021)

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Vaccination Priorities

The vaccination of frontline workers in Medicare is the foremost priority of the government. The agricultural season is about to begin and vaccination of field workers is the next priority. Those with Kisan Cards registered prior to January 2021 can be inoculated free of cost. Unemployed citizens can also be inoculated free of cost provided they are registered with the Exchange prior to January 2021.  Thereafter the governments duty is towards tax payers. It is off season for the Hotel, Fishing, Mining, Tourism and Shipping industries. Hotels which have signed up to offer their premises for self-isolation however can be allowed to have their staff vaccinated. As stated by the government pharmacy and pharmaceutical employees can be vaccinated on priority basis at private hospitals on CTC basis. Shipping employees can be vaccinated on priority provided there is a central government notification to the effect. Frontline workers would be identifiable as those on cargo ships and holders of an Indian CDC. As stated earlier the priority of the government is towards taxpayers.

Vinay Rodrigues, Margao

Central Vista, False Narrative

I recall long back the Supreme Court (SC) reportedly stayed construction and the government said okay but give permission only to lay foundation stone.  Immediately this was propagated as SC okayed project. Thereafter I perused many debates on media with eminent architects and respected citizens complaining of no consultations or information made public and the Opposition also not aware of any details. Now this is declared as an urgent project vital and essential in National interest with hectic work going on! For a national project there has been no national consultation and discussion with not much transparency. Therefore with no clarity in public domain, the false narrative of PMs bungalow etc are leaks and investigative journalism and it is people’s right to know! Fait accompli in full swing during a pandemic, some details of the on going project are being released and reporters may be permitted to view site to downplay the “false narratives” in public domain. The Delhi High Court has fined petitioners rupees one lakh in a PIL to stop the project due pandemic priorities as “motivated plea” dismissing it. Nobody can fault the government on grounds of religion and national pride! By the way though unrelated, I may mention so also is the construction of the Ram Temple in full swing. Why bring religion into this?  Because that is the narrative and what is pedalled openly at elections and governance. The SC has reportedly told the government rather  late  regarding vaccine procurement and distribution muddle that “other voices must be heard”. Hence my submission!

John Eric Gomes, Porvorim

CEC Ruling For SWR Doubling

The recently held Central Empowered Committee  ruling headed by Amarnatha Shetty on the revoking of permission granted by the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife for the doubling of the Kulem to Castle Rock section is completely a baised decision and not in the favour of Goa. The South Western Railway has planned for the doubling of the existing single line laid by the then Portuguese in 1890. CEC members visited Goa in January and only heard to the protagonists plea of scrapping the project when the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited which is executing this project has made it very clear that during doubling of the said line electrification of the entire stretch will also be carried out thereby eliminating diesel engines which are presently used for hauling passenger and freight trains. This will also cater to the preservation of this reserved forest and controlling of deadly gases in the long run. Also a new tunnel of 10 kms will be drilled for laying of the second line thereby reducing the number of trees which will be felled during construction. The then South Central Railway prior to 1997 in meter gauge era use to run 10 daily express and passenger trains from Vasco-Da-Gama to major cities of the country and after conversion to broad gauge this number could not be met due to increase in freight traffic and introduction of Konkan Railway (KR) but after creating SWR zone in 2003 much developmental works of this line took place and the new express trains were introduced but due to saturation of the said line there were limitations. It is irony of the CEC ruling that has granted permission for the expansion of the existing NH-4A to four lanes which also passes through the same reserved forests and with the increase in road traffic in future it will create more pollution and disturb the ecological balance. Kindly look into this matter and give your preferable reply which will be beneficial the state in the long run.

SUNIL GAONKAR, PONDA