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Relief for Pensioners
THE news report ‘Minimum monthly pension of ` 1000 under EPFO’ (NT, August 29, 2014) will bring about the much-awaited and long-delayed relief to the 28 lakh pensioners who have been receiving a pittance as pension even after 19 years of their retirement. Five lakh widows will also stand to benefit by receiving a minimum pension of ` 1000 per month and ` 250 per month for their dependent children. However, in view of the decision taken by the Union cabinet to revise the scheme on February 28, 2014, it would have been much appreciated if the benefits were made available to the pensioners from the start of the new financial year – April 1, 2014 – instead of September 1, 2014, as was earlier notified. Also, since a further amendment will be required after March 31, 2015, it is hoped that pensioners will be entitled to receive an additional benefit of dearness allowance on par with government employees.
A F NAZARETH, Alto Porvorim
Tailbacks and Hardship for Travellers
THE eve of any festival is by far the busiest day for the people. August 28 was one such day when the majority of the locals were busy preparing for the Ganesh festivities and every moment was important for them. On such a day a Kadamba bus broke down in the middle of the busy Zuari bridge, the main link between the two districts of Goa, due to a tyre puncture. If there was a spare tyre it was a matter of few minutes before the tyre could be replaced and things could be set in order. But that was not to be as the bus did not have a spare tyre and had to be requisitioned from the state capital. The tailbacks on either side of the bridge were at least 4-km long, and it took hours to clear the traffic. The inconvenience caused to the commuters was unfathomable. Many were to catch the flights at the Dabolim airport and on special request some 10 flights were delayed. When every bus is supposed to carry a spare tyre to meet any eventuality on the road, the negligence of the driver caused such nightmare for the people, who were simply stranded unable to do anything. Will any enquiry be conducted promptly or would it be taken as a routine lapse on the part of the driver? The casual attitude of just one person created problem for so many commuters. May this episode serve as a warning for all public transport vehicles to always maintain a spare tyre.
Praying for Canonisation of Fr Joseph Vaz
GOA could well have its own Catholic saint as early as January 2015. The process of declaring Blessed Fr Joseph Vaz a saint is in its final stages. Hopefully When Pope Francis visits Sri Lanka in January 2015, Blessed Joseph Vaz will be declared a saint. Blessed Joseph Vaz had done extensive missionary work in Sri Lanka. Born in Benaulim on April 21, Joseph Vaz was ordained a priest in 1676. He went to Sri Lanka with a servant John Vaz both disguised as coolies where he carried his missionary work. Father Joseph Vaz died a saintly death in Kandy, Sri Lanka in 1711. In 1993 the miracle required for beatification was approved by the Sacred Congregation for the Saints and Pope John Paul II issued the decree of Beatification. Goans need to pray fervently for the sainthood of Blessed Joseph Vaz. It would be in the fitness of things for the Church in Goa to advise all the parishes in the state to conduct special prayers in this respect. It would be a special occasion for the Goa if Blessed Joseph Vaz is declared a saint immediately after the exposition of St Francis Xavier concludes.

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