So, when all else fails blame rain gods. That's what Nitin Kunkolienkar and Nilesh Cabral did for poor internet and power. Gajanan Electricals and Gwave are two connectivity providers. But, Gajanan is prohibitive and his service sucks. Gwave is excellent. Vinsan Graphics has made crores in ads and hoardings for Grape Escapade and IFFI for decades. We all know Mauvin Godinho has spent a lifetime critising NGOs when they had opposed the navy. Now he is targetting it fighting for his fav buildings.

Lion Roars
November 8, 2019

Vibrant Goa, the yet another gross misuse of tax payers money, which has become more of a rule than a norm; will be remembered more for this hilarious item from one of its organisers, Nitin Kuncolienkar, also president of the Manufacturer’s Association for Information Technology. He blamed the monsoons for even ‘normal bandwidth crashing’ and ‘only select pockets in Goa getting internet’. Funny, because ‘normal bandwidth’ in Goa is an unmitigated disgrace and there is nothing even remotely formal about it being normal.  Period.  Funny also because  Power Minister Nilesh Cabral in desperation blamed the dense forest coverage over Goa for trees crashing on power lines, in typically a vain attempt to take the heat of him for the recent power outages across Goa. So, when all else fails blame the rain gods.

“We are trying to put up towers, but lightning creates a problem,” he said. Kunkolienkar's lame excuses came with lightning speed. There are of course lightning arresters which are used on electric power systems and telecommunication systems. But then Kuncolienkar would say ‘we need to build the towers first’. The time is now Kuncolienkar, and you have till June 2020 to accomplish what is a simple task really. His mantra of excuses included: ‘even Goa University faces problems’. To many of you, this institution is also known as the University of Andhra Pradesh/Telangana in Goa, in case like Kuncolienkar, you aren’t properly connected in. But his towering finale was this: ‘unless 5G comes to India, nothing will change’. When I last checked, because of the high spectrum cost, the jury is still out on whether 5G can work for all of India or, as is always the case, only for a fortunate few.  

What’s up with the Excise guys?

But despite all the above and the spoilsport rains, the Excise Department wants Taverna owners, who neither have computers or smartphones, to upload on a new mobile app, daily stats of buying and consumption of alcohol products. Drunk on power, the department deemed it necessary for Taverna owners to first convert the liquor quantities into bulk litres and not bottles. Like every other issue forced on ordinary folk, there is no clarity on this either. The department said it was not being enforced. What does that mean in actual terms?

On the matter of connectivity, there are two players, the Margao-based Gajanan Electricals and Electronics and Gwave, which Parrikar made out to be government linked or sponsored. Not true. Avoid Gajanan like the plague. He is hugely expensive and his after service nonexistent. His connectivity involves a rooftop antenna wired to boosters etc in your home/office which involves drilling through your home walls. A service call after months of pleading will cost you Rs 500 and you think your specialist doctor is ripping you off at Rs 300 a visit. Gwave is excellent, their service great. Its optic fibre use is obviously the best. Problem is in villages like Velsao where I live, bhatcars have grown coconut trees on the edge of the road and don’t bother to trim their branches.

The result is you have branches falling constantly on the optic fibre strung overhead. They are totally callous and you know the story better than I. Yes, the same bhatcars who sell land they bought for a few hundred rupees to non-Goans for crores. I have tried both at great expense, but while Kuncolienkar dreams of towers (connectivity), Gwave is doing his work.

But more of this next week, for the moment, while Nilesh Cabral enjoys his perks worth several crores of your tax money, I was compelled to buy 30 meters of service wire (see picture) which is the wire that connects my home to the electricity pole of the department. The existing one has outlived its use by date several years ago and Cabral refuses to fund the department here to replace it. Cost to me, Rs 1,320 and adding up.

But vibrant in other ways

A government favourite, the Vasco-based Vinsan Graphics, was paid Rs 1.95 cr of your tax money to string up hoardings of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for the two-day (only) GST council meeting. This is a so-called event management firm (I have seen no evidence of it actually organizing huge events) but I can tell you it has made tens of crores advertising and putting up hoardings for the annual Grape Escapade in Panjim and the annual International Film Festival of India (IFFI); for decades. Another government (Congress or BJP, it does not matter) fav, the Cidade de Goa, also benefitted to the tune of Rs 30 lakh (two days!). This hotel also gets lucrative contracts for stays during IFFI. Considering it was a General Sales Tax meet, [[Was it good money spent over bad money?]] It is Rs 3.26 crore (total expenditure) of tax money wasted on a purely official meet of GST council members, in which all decisions would already have been taken in Delhi.

Consider also, this government is flat broke, its department can’t even pay their outstanding power bills; and just for example, has to pay Reliance Infrastructure Rs 361 crore as of last month. This debt is increasing daily by Rs 13 lakh as compounded interest. And if you recall, this scandalous power purchase agreement was signed in 1999 by then power minister, Mauvin Godinho. The politician who now finds himself confronting the Indian Navy for opposing construction in the landing zone area, saying “the navy cannot put the security and safety of its aircraft over the interests of construction”. He had some harsh words which if he was a Congressman, would have been charged with sedition like the Aarey protesters in Mumbai opposing felling of trees (not Congress workers Btw). Construction in Goa is considered as ‘development’ and we all know Godinho has spent a life time critising NGOs and activities whenever they had a real peoples’ beef with the navy. Not now.