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Rafael Papers ‘Stolen’

One cannot understand whether to call the incumbent BJP government’s Attorney General’s performance before the Supreme Court in the Rafael case as a high or a low when he claimed that the papers related to the aircraft deal were ‘stolen’ from the Ministry of Defence! One would assume that he is presenting the official line of the government. Then he needs to explain how a Top Secret file on a deal which the government has all along been invoking national security to release even the smallest of details within the country has been ‘stolen’. Is this just a ploy to again extricate the government from an embarrassing position and to browbeat the newspaper taking the lead to expose the matter and the other litigants? This kind of thing was done in the recent past again in the Rafael case by word play when a procedure outlined of the deal going to the PAC and the CAG was shown in such a way that the Supreme Court believed that the process was gone through for the Rafael deal and the SC quoted this in their judgment. The government though was nimble footed enough to point out the error and apologise for it lest they be accused of using sleight of hand tactics in the case. At this instance of sensitive documents getting stolen and that too from the Ministry of Defence it may not be erroneous to assume that the entire Rafael deal papers at this very moment may be with our enemy states like Pakistan and China while the government is taking the holy position of national security for releasing to people within the country. This present government has this avoidance issue of not addressing the core matter.



Shift Garbage Site From Divja Circle

The Divja Circle in the capital city of Panaji happens to be one of the main entrance and exit points through which thousands of vehicles pass every single day. The attractive looking traffic circle also serves as a spot to put up decorations during important festivals like Carnival, Shigmo, etc. But what is shocking is that the Corporation of the City of Panaji uses the space by the roadside as a garbage dumping site.  Those passing through the Divja Circle in their vehicles have to experience an unbearable stench. This gives a bad impression of the capital city to the visitors. Just recently the garbage piled up at the spot caught fire. It is understood that people moving in the area experienced burning sensation in the eyes and had difficulty in breathing.



Panaji’s Colossal Fall In Cleanliness Survey

With the tenure of the Modi government speedily coming to an end, with the parliamentary elections poised in a few months’ time, one is often tempted to ask what the great achievements of the NDA government are. People would concur that some of the best things achieved during the last five years were demonetisation, implementation of GST, opening of bank accounts for the poor through Jan Dhan Yojana, supply of free gas cylinders through the Ujwala scheme, surgical strike along the LoC after the Uri attack in 2016, launching of Make in India, Digital India and Skill India programmes, 100 per cent electrification, Balakot airstrike after the suicidal Pulwama attack and so on. However if you ask me to single out one greatest achievement of the Narendra Modi government I would irrefutably draw focus on the Clean India Mission launched after the NDA was voted to power in 2014. It is strange that since independence there have been so many governments of all hues with towering Prime Ministers but it struck none to atleast create awareness in the minds of the people about the very essence of cleanliness. All that the people knew was to take bath every day, sweep the house and the compound and may be to dump the waste in the adjoining site. Eating anything on the roadside and discarding the waste randomly and spitting gleefully was a common sight. Royally walking with a tumbler in the hand to answer nature’s call or peeing at will on the pathways was not found shameful. From such a way of life creating a new awakening was a real task and thankfully the challenge has been accepted by the people. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has picked up momentum and since the last couple of years the cleanliness survey is being conducted with active participation of the states, the lone dissenter being Mamata Banerjee who has preferred to keep West Bengal out of the survey, for reasons better known to her.

In the latest Swachh Survekshan or the Cleanliness Survey it was very agonising to note that Panaji instead of showing any improvement in the cleanliness index has progressively dwindled further from 155 in 2018 to 337 in 2019. It goes to prove that a lot has to be done to improve the city, instead of just being complacent. May this be a wakeup call to our city fathers to nurture the spirit of cleanliness.


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