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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Festivities Causing Havoc In Society

The 11th day immersion celebrations of the Ganesh festivities has ended but not before taking a heavy toll of life of the revellers totally unprepared for such unexpected eventualities. On Saturday, every newspaper I could lay my hand upon reported of more than 30 deaths from different parts of the country. I simply cannot desist from saying that human life is apparently given least importance in our country, for if we analyse the causes of some accidental deaths, even the most backward countries will be shell-shocked at our carelessness. In Bhopal to facilitate the carrying of the huge statue for immersion, two boats were tied, evidently without resorting to any safety standards, with the result that one boat capsized causing death of 11 people. Most horrifically, the accident occurred at 4:30 am, implying that the people were half asleep, simply unable to control themselves. Likewise deaths were reported from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. The loss of human life is irreparable and any amount of condolence messages from the top authorities or paying compensation in lakhs can neither remedy the loss nor obviate the grief. Who should be held responsible for such acts and what measures will ever be envisaged for the future? Let us delve a little further on the chaos caused to the common man during such religious revelries. 

MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES

Navelim’s Zarambo Tree

In what must be considered as a major boost for green activists, the Supreme Court reportedly refused to relax restrictions as sought by the Goa government to develop forest land for construction of hospitals and other amenities, saying it would not allow felling of a single tree. A tree takes several decades to grow but it can take man a few minutes to cut it down. In this context is it pertinent to note that Navelim village is set to lose it’s only over 100 year-old Zarambo tree despite the best efforts of the villagers to save it. The tree, botanically known as Garcinia Tinctoria, happens to be the only tree standing in the village and will face the axe to make way for the elevated road over Saipem lake when the tree could have been saved by making slight alterations to the road alignment. It is high time the Goa government realizes the importance of trees in maintaining the ecological balance. In several countries, including UK, a particular tree depending on it’s longevity it’s beauty and other criteria, is declared as ‘Tree of the Year’. This only goes to show the extent to which these countries go to give the trees it’s due place in the scheme of nature. We in Goa could do likewise and select a tree each year for the title of ‘The Goan Tree of the Year’. 

ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO

Dismissive Attitude Of Administration

The news that four students of a boarding school met with a watery grave after they ventured into a water-filled laterite stone quarry for swimming at Tuem in Pernem taluka was indeed shocking! However, such incidents involving school teens have been on the rise in recent times. Is it sheer negligence on the part of school managements that lead to such unfortunate incidents! The tragedy that befell the group of students of the Tuem-based Don Bosco High School would suggest so. In spite of having a teacher accompanying the students on the trek, that some of them dared to enter the stone-filled quarry for a swim is indeed worth pondering over. First and foremost, school students should not be allowed to go out on such outings during the rainy season. Even seasoned hikers are known to be overly cautious when they undertake monsoon treks. The very fact that the presence of an elder to supervise their movements did not deter the youngsters from entering the water-logged area for a swim does not come as a surprise considering the adventurous streak in some children who do manage to hoodwink the seniors and eventually court disasters. While the teacher needs to be commended for his act of bravery in saving two of the students from the clutches of a certain death, that the other four in his charge drowned in the quarry will always weigh on his conscience. The dismissive attitude of the administration towards many such pits and quarries which lie in neglected state after stones and other materials are extracted from them have contributed to such accidents leading to loss of lives. It is for the authorities to keep a strict vigilance after permission is granted to parties for quarrying at a particular site. Stone quarries get filled up with water during monsoon attracting the youth for swimming. Abandoned quarries, which are so common in the state, also pose dangers for locals during rainy season.

Although there are attractive monsoon sights for tourists and picnickers, these ‘seasonal water-bodies’ are however potential threats which can also claim lives. While fencing of the quarries could to some extent reduce the risks, betters ways need to be envisaged by the administration to stave off threats to lives at these ‘death traps’.

PACHU MENON, MARGAO

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