Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Grassroot democracy in the gutter

May 27- June 2, 2013

Lionel Messias

In this our third cover story on the village panchayat (VP) of Nuvem, we will show that it functioned arbitrarily even ignoring strictures from auditors.  Goanspirit gives you insight into its rather unusual financial accounting from as far back as fiscal 2007-08.  We discovered that the wrongs far outnumbered the rights.  Nothing in fact was ever done right as the auditors consistently pointed out.

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Caitu caught out

May 20-26, 2013

Lionel Messias

In 2010 the Orlim Gaum Rakhon Manch (OGRM) discovered that a building project in a low-lying area prone to flooding had been approved in the village (survey no. 19/4).  They braced themselves for the battle ahead, as it happens so often in Goa, “because you won’t get justice in court unless you go right up to the Supreme Court.”  And that is saying a lot.  Many of you in fact reading this will get that déjà vu feeling.  It’s happening in Orlim as you read this.

The proposed complex of buildings in a proven low lying land is a stilt plus three floors and another stilt plus four floors with a swimming pool.  Even a city slicker could tell by simply following the contours of the land as it unrolls itself.  According to OGRM, following  a written complaint made by them on August 23, 2012, the department of public grievances (DPG) wrote to the chief town planner, Panjim and senior town planner, Margao asking them “to conduct a necessary inquiry” into the complaints.  In fact, it was to the senior town planner, Margao that OGRM first wrote a complaint letter (dated April 15, 2010), who passed that on to the DPG.

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Parulekar’s puritanical tourism outlook -1

April 29-May 5, 2013

Lionel Messias

Last week Goanspirit promised to give you tourism minister, Dilip Parulekar’s rather listless tourism projects planned for each of the Assembly constituencies in Goa.  Not only do they lack the vibrancy needed to change the booze-drugs-entertainment image that has come to be the face of the tourism industry, they are not even vision driven as any new tourism policy ideated to attract tourists should be.  At the worst Parulekar can be said to be still pondering on what to do.  The huge list in fact looks like something that came out of the drawing boards of the Power Ministry and Public Works Department.

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Parulekar's puritanical tourism outlook - 2

May 6-12, 2013

Lionel Messias

Cuncolim: Work in progress on developing the Shree Chandreshwar Bhootnath temple at Parvat, Paroda, including construction of a toilet facility there; illumination of the Immaculate Conception church at Paroda.

Quepem: Work in progress to build a compound wall and landscaping of Shree Shantadurga Kuncolienkarin temple at Fatorpa.

Curchorem: A plan to acquire land at Nanda lake, Kakoda to promote hinterland tourism.

Sanvordem: Construction of a “toilet complex” at Collem and high mast light at Codli Tisk, Dabal.

Bicholim: Street lights from Pilgao to Shree Saptakoteshwar temple at Naroa-Bicholim; four high mast lights in Bicholim town.

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Better to be Saif than sorry

April 29 - May 5, 2013

Pushpa Iyengar

The tourism department recently appointed a public relations agency, Adfactors PR Pvt. Ltd, to burnish Goa’s image.  The cost will be Rs 7,00,000 per month for the next three years.  Adfactors’ brief is to lift Goa’s sagging image in the world – over recent years it has acquired the reputation as a drug destination, as the party capital of the world and even as India’s answer to Pattaya, Phuket and Bangkok which were put on the world map as a recreation destination for American soldiers during the Vietnam war in the sixties.  Post the killing of British teenager Scarlet Keeling in 2008, Goa’s image needs rescuing badly particularly internationally.

But, the question is what about Goa’s image in people’s eyes in the rest of India?  Decades ago, a young Punjabi girl who had fallen in love with a Goan was disheartened when her father said disapprovingly, “They only know how to sing and dance and drink”.  And that seems to be a widely-held perception thanks to popular culture, particularly Bollywood films, nurturing this image.  Remember, Premnath, playing the character of a Goan fisherman, dancing with a bottle on his head in the hugely popular film “Bobby” (directed by Raj Kapoor in 1973) leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was a lush?  Then, there was Dimple Kapadia in her sexy blouses and tight half saris, the supposed costume of fisherwomen, projecting an image that all women in Goa were dressed skimpily?  Then who can forget the song ‘My name is Anthony Gonsalves’ in “Amar Akbar Antony” (1977) where Amitabh Bachchan, a Goan character, performed one of his most memorable, comic scenes when he was drunk.

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