Irresponsible political rulers, absence of political ideologue, uncaring citizenry, loss of values, growing materialism and selfishness were the causes why never gained Paradise after its liberation opined various speakers at the debate “50 years of Goa’s liberation: Heaven gained or Paradise lost” organized by Goa Chronicle.com on Thursday evening.
The speakers also suggested that Goans change their mindset and resolve that they can make a difference to cleanse the present morass to make Goa truly a golden Goa, while at the same time asking the political parties to do some serious soul searching, clean up their stables and get rid of deadwood.
Goa Freedom Fighters Association President Naguesh Karmali set the ball rolling by stating that the political class failed Goans and lamented that those who had a vision for Goa never got an opportunity to implement it.
“Irresponsible political parties that ruled Goa are responsible for all the evils prevailing in our society today,” he said while asserting that there was no scope to compare the present situation with the Portuguese rule.
He was critical of both the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Congress which ruled Goa for long periods. While he blamed the former of uninterested administration following the opinion poll, he accused the latter of institutionalizing corruption.
He asserted that Goa has a bright future and can truly turn into a paradise provided the present political class is thrown in the dustbin of history and Goans march ahead with new leaders.
Matanhy Saldanha blamed the wrong policies of successive governments for the present mess. He questioned the very development mooted by government and asserted that this so called development was not in the interest of Goa or Goans but to suit the needs of vested interests.
“Development should be need based and not greed based,” he said adding that various lobbies are ruling Goa which is resulting in Goans feeling insecure in their own land as they are being reduced to a minority and that the various agitations were a manifestation of this insecurity.
Dr Kiran Budkuley said the loss of values was the cause of people being upset over things not being right in Goa today. She urged the people to be the change they want in the society. “We have to change our mindset,” she averred by pointing out that Goans are becoming over dependant on freebies.
She appealed to the political parties to do some serious soul searching and clean up their stables to offer good candidates to the electorate who will at least remain loyal to the party and not indulge in party hopping. At the same time she suggested that the rulers come out with a holistic vision for Goa instead of fragmented version catering to specific sections of society.
Mohandas Lolienkar traced the liberated Goa’s history in three stages with the first being the era when Dayanand Bandodkar was the chief minister, which he said was the golden era for the marginalized sections who got various benefits like education and also land through the land to the tiller act.
However, the morass, according to him, set in the 1980 and more particularly after Goa attained statehood. In a scathing attack on the Congress he said the party had taught corruption to the society and further said that the Congress Party’s diktat to its members was “steal, but do not get caught”.
To support his statement about the change in the 80s he said the economic status of MLAs prior to 1980 and post 1980 should be compared and who has benefitted will be open for all.
“Why is everyone talking about the poor person asking for Rs 500 at the time of elections? Why is nobody talking about the rich and the mighty that are given mining leases and contracts to sustain themselves for years? Isn’t that corruption too?” he asked .
Convenor of Youth for Goa Melisa Simoes regretted that Goa was changing rapidly and not for the better. “Concrete jungles are replacing our hills and forests and fields and worst is that corruption has become a way of life,” she lamented.
Speaking for youth, she said they were aware of what is happening and are upset about it wanting to change it. However, she regretted that they do not know how to do it
Sunil Shetye, representing the youth of Goa said materialism is the root cause as everything in Goa, right from education to employment and even elections, is centered on money.
M K Shaikh representing the Indian National Congress valiantly defended his party but was forced to concede that things have gone wrong. His defense that the Congress has acted against its party leaders found guilty of wrongdoings was shot down by pointing out that action is only taken when the courts intervene and not suo motto. It was also pointed out that the Congress did not take any action against Francisco Sardinha who was indicted in the marks scandal.
“Being a Goan, I am upset with what is happening,” he pleaded when various speakers while vouching for his integrity urged him to speak up for the Goan population to his party leaders.
R S Mardolkar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party opined that Goa has suffered because of non-implementation of the various laws and rules in force while Ventakesh Prabhu Mone of the Nationalist Congress Party sought to blame the citizens who he said demand money from candidates at the time of elections.
None of the political party representatives answered the question “Do you have a vision for Goa” succinctly. MLA Damodar Naik representing the Bharatiya Janata Party said his party had shown the “trailer” during his brief rule while M K Shaikh said his party wants a secular Goa where everybody lives in peace and harmony.
R S Mardolkar said his party’s vision for Goa was the upliftment of the bahujan samaj while Venkatesh Prabhu Mone conceded that whatever plan they prepare for the State had to have his party High Command’s approval.