Pramod Sawant blamed parents for their children getting into drugs and defended his police force.Earlier in 2017, Parrikar said in the Assembly that MLAs should refrain from making sensational comments on Goa’s drug use. Media never tire of defending tourism stakeholders as suffering from financial losses. But you barely read anything on Goa's destruction, social disturbance and garbage menace caused by the tourism industry on the other primary stakeholder, the ethnic Goan, you and I.

July 30, 2019

Lionel Messias

What is it with BJP chief ministers when it comes to denying the historical fact that drugs of all kinds are freely available in Goa; even to Goa’s young. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant went a step further. Defending his police force, Sawant blamed parents for their children taking drugs. Saying the police are doing everything possible to create a deterrent which included: "Drug-prone areas are kept under continuous surveillance. Bars, restaurants and shacks in the drug prone-belt are subjected to surprise checks." Hallelujah. We can all sleep well at night, parents especially. Your CM knows where the drug-prone areas are and there is 24x7 watch on them.
He even said citizens must henceforth report drug peddlers to the police. But there was no hint of remuneration unlike the traffic sentinel scheme and in Margao, the hare-brained garbage sentinel scheme. Here’s what’s going to happen though. No sane person is going to do that; but because of the bitter competition in the food and liquor industry, rival restaurateurs are going to make false claims against each other especially in the coastal belts where all three: booze, drugs and parties hedonistically thrive.
A bit of digression here and for the record, since November 10, 2017, Rs 37.8 lakh of your tax money was paid to 165 traffic sentinels. Currently Rs 29.3 lakh is owed to 101sentinels whom we can assume are not in that group. There are 7,387 registered sentinels, which means 7,121 have no faith (or, are just plain lazy) to work for the scheme despite registering, and it seems the entire Goan population, all MLAs and Sawant obviously can’t admit that that the scheme is just not working. There is also a decision pending with government to constitute a committee to study the issue. And yet 328 people were killed in 2017, 262 in 2018, and 131 till May 31, 2019, the death toll growing at an alarming.

And Parrikar’s paradox

In February 2018, Manohar Parrikar’s said something equally witless: "I have begun to fear because even girls have started drinking beer. So the barrier of that tolerance limit is being crossed... Not all of them. I am not referring to this crowd. I am just referring" - speaking to students gathered at the first edition of the State Youth Parliament in Goa.
Earlier in September 2017, as poker-faced as a casino aficionado could be, Parrikar said in the same sacrosanct Goa Legislative Assembly as Sawant did, that legislators should refrain from making sensational comments on Goa’s drug use.
Parrikar actually shot off a letter to MLAs: "Some legislators are making public statements regarding the availability of drugs and the nexus between drug peddlers and some police officers." Parrikar once also famously blamed the weekend lifestyle of parents for their children taking drugs. Parrikar, as we know, often said from 'there are no drugs in Goa' to 'there is no drug mafia in Goa'. "However, Goa being a tourist destination, narcotic drugs are smuggled in Goa for trade, consumption and transition”. Amen.
Was it an intended oxymoron by him or, was he trying to explain the Goa paradox, because truthfully Parrikar was being far too clever by half as the saying goes. The catch words here being, 'no mafia' and 'smuggled in'. But, we all know the ground situation, right?

Should not tourism apologise?

The Times of India and the Herald never tire of commenting on how the so-called tourism stakeholders are suffering intense financial loss. Reminds me of TV’s talk shows (Jay Leno, David Letterman etc) till a few years ago, saying the same thing over and over again about Bill Clinton. Mercifully, Donald Trump came along and now it’s Jimmy Kimmel, routinely over Trump's midnight tweets. Yes the same fat cats with crores of rupees have invested in real estate, fancy bungalows, several expensive cars, an annual family holiday abroad and a Football World Cup attendance thrown in over the last two decades. Proof of their riches: you have a hotelier who became an MLA (now ex-MLA), a current minister, a current MLA and another in the process of becoming one. 
But you barely read anything on the environmental destruction, social disturbance and garbage menace caused by the tourism industry on the other primary stakeholder, the ethnic Goan, you and I; and suffering because of it. For some reason we don’t matter.    
The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) could make a start by apologizing to the Siolim family whose car was literally mowed down by a Maharashra registered SUV with five passengers driving from Calangute to Ashwem; killing three of them. Eye witnesses said the tourists were drunk and driving in the wrong lane. A father, mother and son died as a consequence.  
It was a bad June for the ordinary citizen. Earlier, a Karnataka-registered car after hitting a motorbike at Chaudi market in Canacona, escaped from the scene, but was chased by people in two cars. The drunk driver seeing this, panicked, hit a barricade and rammed his car over the under construction Talpona bridge missing the river by a few meters only.
That week a Kerala-registered SUV whose passengers were returning from a Casino hit a huge tree head-on at Partagal near Canacona. That’s on TTAG too.