Photo Credits: The Goan
Goa's tryst with the National Games can now be legitimately penned down in the annals of Indian sports history, now that it can be counted, after multiple false starts, among host States of this prestigious event and 'mother' of all sporting competition of the country.
But before we count our laurels and pat ourselves on our backs for the fairly successful hosting and the impressive medals tally which placed Goa ninth overall, let's take time off to recall a little trivia about Goa's tryst with the National Games.
It happened somewhere in 2007-08 that Goa or GOA (Goa Olympic Association) bid for the National Games and won it, much in the same astonishing way that Goa came to become the permanent host of the International Film Festival of India. It was also around the same time that GOA bid and won the rights to host the international Lusofonia Games which eventually were held here in Goa in 2014.
Both these bids were pitched by the GOA when it was headed as president by current WRD Minister Subhash Shirodkar. The current Honorary Secretary of GOA Gurudutta Bhakta was also its Honorary Secretary then. So, shouldn't part of the credit rest on the shoulders of the diminutive and soft-spoken politician?
Interestingly, unknown to many is the fact that Shirodkar was also responsible for forming the Goa Cheerleading Association, the body governing an interesting sport which is fast gaining traction worldwide although many would associate it to merely a flashy dance act on the sidelines of sports arenas across college sports competitions in the USA.
Film City: Is it 5K or 10K jobs?
Suddenly, the proposal mooted by the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) to set up a 250-acre 'film city' in Goa is hogging wide space in media coverage.
Still just an idea with no concrete plans drawn, the film city proposal however already has our politicians starting to count the number of jobs this project will throw up for Goans.
With signs that Loliem could be where the project will be set up with the local Communidade offering its land, Speaker Ramesh Tawardkar who represents Canacona was gung-ho and opined that it will provide 10,000 jobs to Goans.
He was not alone. Social Welfare Minister Subhash Phal Dessai joined the party but his math didn't match that of the Speaker. The minister claimed that the 'film city' would throw up 5,000 jobs.
The project is still in its very nascent, planning stage and may take, by conservative estimates going by the examples of the Convention Centre and the IIT-Goa campus, at least a decade to reach fruition. But then our politicians love to count their chickens not just before the eggs are hatched but even before they are laid. Don't they?
Babus reined in?
Politicians often take the stick from the public for governance lapses but those who wield the actual executive power in the government are technically the bureaucrats.
In a Goa under the Pramod Sawant dispensation, however, the 'babus' seem to have gone in a shell and operating incognito, aloof from the public glare and insulated from the media. From top to bottom, Goa's bureaucrats including heads of departments and even some of the IAS cadre secretaries have gone mute and refuse to speak, on record, even on simple and routine matters related to day-to-day affairs affecting the public.
Take the case of one such department whose head we called to ascertain the technicalities of certain civic matters. Within seconds into the telephonic conversation, the top 'babu' of the department abruptly cut the talk and advised us to speak to the minister.
Worse, our unsuccessful efforts to speak to his predecessor who is now well into his second year of retirement, surprised us even more. The retired babu, to his credit, did give us the explanation we were seeking. However, minutes later he called back to specifically say: "Do not quote me on anything I have spoken."
Why would a seasoned and now retired bureaucrat be shy of being quoted in print for a routine legal matter of public importance? It clearly signals a reign of terror whipped up among Goa's babu-dom by the political executive, isn't it?