Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Reading Habit?

It boggles the mind.  When the political class, want to make money they get inventive, very inventive. Remember, despite Goans not being great film buffs, they smothered us with the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).  Despite all the reels they give us about making IFFI more about films and less about glitzy entertainment, IFFI turned out to be just that, ritzy glamour. 

Then they decided that entire India didn’t deserve IFFI.  So, now it’s going to have a retirement home at the Kala Academy, Panjim.  A little later they decided you and I have a voracious reading habit albeit latent.  So, they planned a Central Library, now being built at Patto Plaza, Panjim.  You can bet next, they will find an equally subversive reason to convert the existing Central Library at the Institute Menezes Braganza into a mall. ADAPTIVE REUSE, the government likes to call it.  Thank you very much.  Corruption in Goa in fact is now a democratic institution legally binding on your lofty MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly).

Guess what, the Central Library will cost Rs 15,95,00,629.70 and I am still trying to find out what the heck they intend to do with this monolith, so stay with me on this will you, even if you are in danger of losing the reading habit temporarily.  This business takes time.


Booker Prize stuff

On what basis was the consultant for the project appointed?  The Goa State Industrial Development Corporation (GSIDC) said it appointed Architecture Autonomous (of Gerard D’Cunha fame) on the basis of a national level architectural competition.  The GSIDC is the government’s very own in-house construction firm.  Therefore, there is none to question it.  You and I, the shareholders (as taxpayers) don’t get to enjoy dividends, only the stakeholders do, if you get my drift.  There is no conflict of interest here -it’s about them, them and them only.

GSIDC said it got 75 applications, and shortlisted that down to five.  These five were invited to take part in a competition but only Architecture Autonomous and Uttam C. Jain participated.  This is about the only part I can’t quarrel with.  Oh, there’s this part about the fees you may think is high.  I do too.  It’s like this – the architect will be paid 4 per cent for his comprehensive architectural services, 4 per cent for interior architecture, 6 per cent for graphic designing and 5 per cent for landscape architecture. There was no response to the first call from GSID’s list of empanelled project management consultants. Only Frischmann Prabhu (I) Pvt Ltd bid at the second call.  Isn’t it amazing, how even empanelled firms are reluctant to bid in Goa?  Just un-empanel them.


Museum Piece

On November 11 when I visited the Goa State Museum there were more attendants than visitors.  I was the only one in fact.  The visitors’ register showed eight footfalls for the day, none on the preceding three days.  Only four visited on the 7th.  Need I say more?  In the so-called Christian Art Gallery there are bigger than life-size portraits of two Portuguese governors.  Figure out how governors become ‘Christian’ art for your selves, because I can’t.  No single art work or portrait has details like the period it came from, or its origin.  The museum has quite a few statues with the legend ‘unidentified saints’.  In other words, the Goa State Museum inaugurated in June 1996 is yet to determine whether these are really saints or just some ancient craftsman’s E.S.P on saints of the future.  A remarkable wooden Chariot Parod-Quepem 18th century AD lies there, un-restored and uncared for.  In fact there are far too many large office spaces in the museum and far too few historical pieces, all of which point to a criminal waste.  And yet, right now the museum’s auditorium is being renovated, obviously at great expense.


Book of Fiction

Clearly when a museum is neglected, what can you expect of the Central Library?  In fact, the design plans for the Central Library to be discussed in the next column duplicates some of the facilities available at the museum.  Did the planners of this project also consider they might be duplicating facilities available at the Institute of Menezes Braganza and Kala Academy both in Panjim or even the International Centre at Dona Paula, Panjim?  You bet they didn’t.  After all why should they bother about such niggling details when your tax money is there to be spent, no questions asked?  Do you think they also considered that the overly commercialized Patto Plaza was hardly the venue for fostering the reading habit?

Because, opposite the Central Library is Ginger, the hotel and coming up soon, a gigantic shopping mall and hotel complex.  Of course they didn’t by any stretch of imagination.  If they did, they would have built it on the massive Goa University campus and put it to better use.

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