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Toxicity Of Synthetic Substances

The development of Science, especially chemistry was meant to synthesize new varieties of chemicals not found in nature, which are labeled as synthetic. Over the years, since research and development have progressed, chemists have developed a wide array of synthetic chemicals which are now used in a host of products, be it pharmaceuticals, pesticides, fertilizers, synthetic dyes, chemicals, food preservatives, permitted colours etc. many of which although bio-degradable, leave significant traces of substances that affect the environment, be it the air, water as well as land, causing unnatural imbalances in the atmospheric air, water bodies be it the oceans, seas, rivers, lakes and streams as well as the land masses leading to irreversible damage to their natural compositions and ability to sustain healthy growth of the earth’s creatures. All naturally occurring substances are bio-degradable and get recycled and incorporated in a natural cycle which is rendered harmless. Nature grows and produces medicinal plants, pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals which are all self-sustaining and recyclable without causing any toxic pollution to air, water as well as land. Even natural water sources had in yester years curative properties. However, toxicity and pollution due to synthetic substances being used now for a long time have led to irreversible damage to the eco-system thus leading to poisoning of natural species be it the birds, fish as well as terrestrial animals. It would thus be advisable that men should return to the use of naturally occurring substances instead of relying on synthetic compounds. Go organic, go natural.

Elvidio Miranda, Panaji


Exploitation That Dalits Face

This refers to the letter, ‘Rational debate needed on caste system’ by Michael Vaz (NT, March 30, 2018). ‘Sadgati’ is not just a Munshi Prem Chand’s short story or a Satyajit Ray’s film. It is indeed highlighting the existence of agonizing caste hatred in our country. We cannot turn a blind eye to unabated hatred, abuse, torture and exploitation that Dalits have still been facing every day in our country since ages.  This made Ambedkar embrace Buddhism. This made Vemula write in his suicide note, “My birth is my fatal accident.” This made Una happen. And this makes the dropout rate in Dalit children generally high in our country. A survey by Navsarjan Trust, India brings out the bitter fact that teachers, local governments and community members routinely subject the children of manual scavengers to discrimination and forced labour as part of their daily experience of attending school and living in their community. Therefore, the UN report suggests that more needs to be done as there is widespread discrimination against Dalits throughout the entire educational system in India.  The crime against Dalits is shooting up every year. An estimated 207 incidents of crimes against Scheduled Castes were reported for per million SC population in 2015. It went up to 214 in 2016.   So, stringent and effective act must be in place to prevent atrocities against Dalits apart from ensuring their proportional representation in government administration.



Protecting Heritage Houses Near Rail Tracks

South West Railways deserves some credit for deciding not to extend the third railway track beyond Majorda Station. Rarely have government functionaries shown any regard for our Goan architectural heritage. Chief Minister Manohar  Parrikar obviously had something to do with it. I am reminded of the significance of his words on this subject: someone makes a decision somewhere and we have to follow it? He was referring to decisions which impact Goa tremendously and which are not ours!  The SW Railway unfortunately continues to shunt bogies at all times of day and night causing immense damage to the heritage houses not far from the tracks. Aside from the din and whistle blowing which keeps people in the neighbourhood awake at night, it would be totally unacceptable in a civilized country. It is nothing less than a flagrant disregard of human rights in the mad rush for development at any cost, including the cost of human suffering and destruction of our cultural heritage. The villagers are unhappy about it. Will SW Railway show some human feeling? The SW Railways should find a better place along the long railway route to shunt trains than in front or near old heritage Goan houses? The Indo-British railway should not be used to destroy the Indo-Portugueuse houses.  A lot of houses in the village of Cansaulim and environ have Indo-Portugues houses near or along the tracks which are undergoing tremendous  damage. The cost of maintenance and repair work is not at all cheap. Often, the labourers who knew the old building techniques are no longer alive and so we have to rely on people who don’t really know how it was done originally. They often improvise or use new techniques and materials which do not always make for a happy ending.  Goa Forward Party needs to form a policy to include the protection of old Indo-Portuguese houses from the onslaught of the SW Railways. Some of the houses belong to important political leaders. The former CM late Dr Proto Barbosa and the late Mathany Saldhana’s houses are among them. A building has been named after him. Why can’t the government protect Mathany’s own house from the barbaric acts of the SW railways? Declare Cansaulim and its environment a heritage house village and strengthen Goemkarponn. Would the SW Railways do the same to other old heritage structures in India?

Joao Barros-Pereira, Cansaulim

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