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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Mining Can Boost Goan Economy

Mining  has been stopped since last 8 years in Goa when there was a ban in the year 2012 .Goa was largely dependent on the said activity and earned revenue  from it thus giving boost to the state economy. It is learnt that mining was largely carried out even during the Portuguese regime in Goa  and many were engaged in this field apart from  agriculture. The demand for Goan mining ores started in the year 2000 when  China  started accepting Goan mines  on large quantity and then started  mad rush to extract everything and send to China. Malpractices started and  almost every mine owners  began to extract more than required and suitable for the environment and ecology. Ultimately  the ban was enforced in the mining activity by the  Supreme Court  following the Shah commission  report which stated several violations by the miners  and ruled that all mining after November  2007 was illegal cancelling around 88 mine leases. Some  mine owners and barge owners approached court with plea to allow auctioning of ore dump lying in lease areas. Supreme court later partially allowed transport of ores. As tourism activity looks to be grim for at least next 6 to 8 months  based on  lockdown situation in Goa the mining activity is the available option  which will be welcomed by  the people of state.

RAJU RAMAMURTHY, VASCO

Living In A Changed World

Most religions teach that there is a life after this worldly existence and that, life after death has not ended, but only changed. Today  however, a totally different picture is emerging after the killer Coronavirus is taking a heavy  toll of thousands of people daily and infecting millions the world over. Life as a result has changed drastically without even dying. The question therefore, uppermost in the minds of all is, for how long are we continue to live with face masks and social distancing, state lockdowns and containment zones, state and home quarantines, washing hands and sanitizing, working from home and the fear of being laid off, on-line church services and masses, on-line classes for schools and colleges, rising prices and crashed markets, world recession and dwindling economies—the list is unending. Scientists have yet to ascertain whether the virus is a living organism or a lifeless protein molecule. Whether the virus originated in the Chinese laboratory or in the Chinese animal market-place where cats, dogs rats, pigs and snakes are sold as delicacies? How asymptomatic persons turn COVID-19 positive overnight. Politicians are also confused whether the viral spread is the result of local or community transmission.

A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM

COVID-19 Crisis And New ‘SOPs’ 

The unanimous decision arrived at after the all-party meet convened to curtail the duration of the upcoming monsoon session of the state legislative assembly to just a one-day sitting owing to the COVID-19 crisis comes as quite an antithesis to the demands made earlier by the Opposition to have an extended sitting of the House to discuss budgetary and various other issues. No doubt the prospects of having over 1,000 people, including MLAs and government functionaries, converging at the assembly complex does heighten the COVID risk. However, with a slew of issues and controversies to confront it with, the minuscule Opposition could for once have rattled the government. The ‘trimming’ has in this sense saved the government the blushes. Rather than work in tandem, the BJP-government in Goa has been a story of confusions getting the better of effective governance. Even the seriousness of the pandemic does not seem to have registered on the ruling dispensation! For instance, insisting that ‘the show must go on’, the Tourism Minister announced the resumption of tourism activities in the state from July 2. The CM is however on record stating that his government’s decision to permit tourism to restart followed intense lobbying and pressure from the industry. And in the same breath he says that people need jobs and as an economic activity tourism too deserves to be started! Another case of mixed priorities and at a time when the state is witnessing an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases! However, Goa will now be encumbered by the prospects of systemizing a set of standard operation procedures which will however be in sharp contrast to its existing protocols governing the movement of people into the state and their travel as the state now opens its doors for domestic tourists. The permission given to the hotels registered with the tourism department to commence operations is further mired in controversy with many legislators cutting across party lines and stakeholders in the business.

PACHU MENON, Margao

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