Sawant wants to allow four liquor bottles with permits for tourists, but it only helps them to haggle over the bribe amount. Babush told the revenue minister/ wife, Jennifer, “I doubt your labour officials have even entered the casinos.” When rebuffed by her, he retorted, “The casinos don't even allow the cops to enter.” “Voters will throw him into the sea not to survive, but to be devoured,” Congress' Trajano said Fisheries Minister whose ignorance was for all to see

August 14, 2019

Lionel Messias

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant unchastised by his ‘reserving jobs for Goans is against the Constitution,’ days later said ‘Goa can’t get Special Status.’ But his next takes the poie and the wood fired oven. He wants tourists to carry back four liquor bottles to their home States, instead of the prevailing two bottles under the Goa government-issued excise permit. He will talk to other States to convince them. Now every man and his dog know that these permits are a huge farce. I have seen over the decades, Karnataka excise officials at both border check-posts reject these permits and demand bribes or, confiscate liquor bottles. In fact a permit only helps tourists to haggle over the bribe amount. Either way, it ends well for the corrupt officials, not the tourist.

Not only is Goa encouraging cheap drunk tourists on its beaches (see lead picture), Sawant wants to monetise it further. The National Consumer Complaint Forum (Karnataka) has a complaint board which has complaints primarily from tourists (and mostly returning via the Anmod check-post (the link: I also know for certain that Karnataka excise officials pay bribes in tens of lakhs to be posted at Anmod especially.

Shifting the goalpost

This too can happen only in Goa. The government introduced a bill in the Assembly recently to compel industrial workers to work 72 hours a week instead of the earlier 60 hours. It also increased the total hours of overtime to 125 hours for a block of three months, from the earlier 75 hours. Let’s take a comparable government, Mexico’s, where the indigenous population (unlike Goa’s imported workforce) spends 2,255 hours at work per year – the equivalent of around 43 hours per week. And they still work longer than anyone else. Greeks work the longest hours in Europe, at an average 2,035 hours per year. Yet another comparable government, if you get my drift. I also choose Mexico and Greece for the low wages they pay.

All this to boost industrialists and factory owners, a very high percentage of whom are non-Goans. In fact, it was a week that wasn’t (remember Cyrus Broacha’s TV show?) enacted for Goan viewers (roughly July last week) when the opposition leader Digambar Kamat said in the Assembly that factories in the industrial estates refused to give data to the Industrial Development Corporation on the number of Goans employed. The week that Panjim MLA Atanasio Monserrate told the revenue minister and his wife, Jennifer Monserrate, “I doubt your labour officials have even entered the casinos.” When rebuffed by her, he retorted, “The casinos do not even allow the police to enter.” Stay with me.    

Like parroting slogans

As the saying goes ‘Talk is cheap, even a parrot can do it,’ it was indeed a week that should never have been. In another episode, the Fisheries Minister Felipe Neri Rodrigues declared his government would establish a ‘mechanism’ to regulate the price of fish (haven’t we heard this before?) and to ‘crackdown down on middlemen’ responsible for escalating prices including the ‘marketing chain’ involved in the fishy fish business. What seemed not quite right, was the fact he said, his department had ‘the vision needed’. Why? Because, in the same breath he said, “the department needed more data on the middlemen, who they were, for how long they were trading etc.” Also, “we don’t have a mechanism to determine the harvest.” Yet, his department had a vision! His ignorance of the fishing industry begs to differ.  

The GPCC spokesperson Trajano D’mello told Goanspirit: “The statement by his own admission is made out of ignorance, as it is made without the required data. Having committed political harakiri, his stand reveals that he is like a fish out of water. “At the coming election, voters will throw him into the sea not to survive, but to be devoured,” Trajano commented.

In the week that shouldn’t have been, the Cuncolim MLA Clafacio Dias was jeered, booed and asked to exit the Chandor Cavorim gram sabha for neglecting the village for two years. It was a day of humiliation for the MLA who was not invited in the first place. And, three plainclothes policemen were also asked to leave the Betalbatim gram sabha after they were exposed. So, it’s not okay to have NGOs, but kosher to have police spies at a village panchayat gram sabha.

More Goan bashing at Malim

On to the last bit of fishy business for this fortnight. Your MLAs across parties revealed in the Assembly that Goan traditional fisherman are not only refused anchorage at the Malim Jetty, they are also denied diesel refueling. The MLAs said a coterie of non-Goans belonging to the Mandovi Fisheries Co-operative Society had taken complete and illegal control of the government fishing jetty and were responsible. Apparently, everything that happens is illegal, from the retailing of fish to the use of cold storage boxes provided by the government.

When I last obtained information through RTI in 2013, the Mandovi Co-op consumed 76,35,353 litres in 2010-11, the subsidy was Rs 420.37; in 2011-12 77,92,483 litres was consumed, the subsidy was Rs 417.51; in 2012-13 (up to December 2012), 50,85,419 litres was consumed, the subsidy was Rs 373.14 lakh. My information is the subsidy figures shot up considerably in the following years. The government reimburses on production bills, the VAT component, which means that much less tax money is denied to Goa’s economy. I also know for a fact that trawler owners (and mechanized boats) inflate their claims by producing bills they get from truck and van drivers/owners.

For the three years Rs 943.06 lakh, Rs 959.58 lakh and Rs 912.54 lakh was gifted to six Co-op’s and a private fueling bunk at Cortalim; mostly dominated by non-Goans, including the notoriously managed Cutbona Fisheries Co-op which is in the news always for all the wrong reasons.