On 8th June Digambar Kamat completes four years as Goa’s Chief Minister. In a year’s time the people will judge the performance of this government by pressing a button on the electronic voting machines. But ask any aadmi today and he will agree that Digambar Kamat has been Goa’s worst Chief Minister. Some of his achievements are only on paper and far different from the ground reality.
Digambar Kamat biggest failure has been his inability to control his ministers. Every minister has his own agenda and is a law by himself. They have been successfully blackmailing and coercing the Chief Minister to bow down to their demands thereby making it the most corrupt and weakest government. There has been a total collapse in the administration. We cannot expect the bureaucracy to be honest if the political leadership which controls the levers of power stinks of corruption.
Digambar Kamat, we all know was a compromise Chief Minister. He has been working overtime on the balancing act. You cannot administer the State when you are pre-occupied safeguarding your chair. In doing this it is Goa and Goans who have lost over the last four years.
Digambar Kamat survived several political coups and attempts to dislodge him. By divine providence or sheer luck he has been holding to the chair. Despite all the political turmoil and with so many unresolved issues confronting Goa, Digambar Kamat has been able to hang on as Chief Minister.
This government is known only for its assurances and keeping decisions in abeyance. The Chief Minister must have himself lost track of the hundreds of committees he has constituted to examine various issues. He may be indecisive but Digambar Kamat never loses his calm. He always remains as cool as an ice cream. Even when confronted, he does not retaliate. For this, he needs to be given the credit.
Digambar Kamat’s government has failed on all counts. There has been a morcha or a demonstration somewhere almost every day. The government has been very insensitive to people’s concerns and it has reflected by people having to come out on the streets. The number of Public Interest litigations being filed in the High Court has sky-rocketed. Almost every decision of this government is being challenged either in the courts or on the streets.
Law and order is a key to the prosperity and well being of any society. The unlawful acts of the mining and real estate lobby together with the political mafia are very distressing. A small state like Goa could have maintained its peace and tranquility; but the ground realities are a matter of great concern. If no immediate corrective steps are taken we may reach a point of no return. The recent happenings at Balli should be an eye-opener. Our state will see economic and social prosperity if we can keep our streets safe. If the rule of law is allowed to prevail we could definitely claim that Goa is India’s best state in all respects.
The framers of our Constitution had envisaged one set of laws for all regardless of caste, creed, and financial or political clout. Unfortunately in the last four years of Digambar Kamat’s rule we have seen that everything can be manipulated depending on muscle power, political patronage and financial clout. In reality we have seen one set of laws for the rich and powerful and another for the weak and vulnerable.
We all know that the Digambar Kamat government has misplaced priorities. It has always been able to find a way to squander money. The Chief Secretary and other officers are duty bound to audit the plans and schemes the politicians want formulated. Every paisa from the State exchequer needs to be well spent and duly accounted for. But sadly bureaucrats in Goa today do not by way of fiscal responsibility raise any queries or objections on public money going down the drain.
On every front this government has lacked the spine and vision to act firmly. Even on the exorbitant fees being paid to the Advocate General, the Chief Minister has not acted despite his assurances. He has allowed Goa to have the highest paid Advocate General with the State exchequer being burdened by the over five crores paid to Mr. Subodh Kantak over the last five years.
The levels of corruption in Goa have been soaring and escalating over recent years. If Digambar Kamat is able to ensure that Goa gets a Lokayuta in 2011 he may be still be remembered for the right reasons. In the last four years Mr. Digambar Kamat’s only achievement is that against all odds he has been able to keep for himself the Chief Minister’s chair.
This year as we complete 50 years of Goa’s liberation it should have been time to rejoice. There is nothing to celebrate about as Goa is engaged in another battle – this time to liberate itself from a system that has become totally inefficient and awfully corrupt.
– By Aires Rodrigues