2024: A death and a 'resurrection'

Ashley do Rosario | JANUARY 04, 2024, 11:53 PM IST

Early in the New Year, in fact on day one itself, Goa woke up to a freak tragedy: A 21-year-old Ayush Halarnkar, falling to his death alongwith his Enfield 'Bullet' motorcycle into one of the many pits dug up by the contractors of the 'Smart City' at Mala. 

In contrast, a couple of days later came the happy news of a 'resurrection'....well almost, if not actually: A man from Agacaim, Milagres Gonsalves, coolly walking into his home, more than two months after he was dead and buried by his family at a funeral attended by relatives, friends and neighbours. 

  First, the tragedy. As if the lessons learnt from the many accidents and incidents which occurred at the work sites the first time weren't enough, the contractors and the relevant authorities made no amends and safety both of workers as well as the general public continued to be ignored.

The pits dug by the contractors to build the underground sewerage chambers are nearly a floor deep and falling into them unawares, like Ayush probably did with his bike, is sure death. Yet, other than the wooden casting lining the walls of the pits, no barricading of note was in place up until the unfortunate incident that cost Ayush his life. The warning, flickering lights mysteriously appeared at all these work sites where pits and trenches have been dug, only about 48 hours after Ayush's fall to death. Better late than never, perhaps.

Switch to the happy news of the 'resurrection' at Agacaim. Milagres shocked and surprised all and sundry when he coolly walked into his home a little over two months after his family had known him for dead and held a funeral to bury him.

Known to suffer from psychiatric ailments, he had gone missing and in that period an unknown corpse found came to be identified as him by the family, including his wife. 

Milagres may be back home hale and hearty, but the question now remains unanswered is the identity of the person buried at the Agacaim cemetery. The whole episode brings back to memory the mix up of 2018, wherein CCP cremated the body of young Aldona footballer Januz Gonsalves as that of an 'unclaimed body' and his family was tragically left with no body to hold the last rites. The cops and the authorities could do well to update their SOPs in dealing with the corpses lying in rest at the GMC morgue.



Extensions trigger a hue and cry

Extensions granted to top bureaucrats by the Pramod Sawant government have prompted protest from various quarters but pertinently from the Goa Government Employees Association.

Last week, the State government's personnel department granted a year's extension to Uttam Parsekar, the principal chief engineer of the Public Works Department. It was his second one-year-extension and he will continue to head the PWD untill January 31 next year.

Parsekar was not alone. The government also granted a year's extension to the Director of Planning and Statistics, Vijay Saxena and Subhash Borkar, the principal of Government Polytechnic, Bicholim.

Extensions to babus beyond their superannuation has been an issue that has been hotly debated not just in Goa but across the nation with governments being accused of cultivating favourites among the bureaucracy and granting them extensions in tenures. 

Most recently, it was one of the many bones of contention in the standoff between the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi NCT where the former granted the Chief Secretary a six-months extension after he retired. The issue landed in the Supreme Court which after red-flagging several issues eventually cleared the extension.

In Goa meanwhile, RTI activist Sudip Tamankar has now moved the High Court against the practice of granting babus extension in service beyond superannuation. The proceedings will be keenly watched.


Rising Rottweiler attacks: 

'Bhivpachi garaz na'?

Cases of pet dogs attacking humans have been occuring frequently, the most recent case being last week at Cacra village where a prominent citizen was attacked by a pair of pet Rottweilers belonging to a former bureaucrat. This incident comes close on the heels of yet another pet Rottweiler attacking a ten year old girl in Caumurlim-Tivim on December 18 last year. 

Again in August last year, there was yet another incident in Taleigao where a pet Rotteweiler of a former PWD engineer escaped from the gated colony and attacked a brother-sister duo aged under 12 years who were passing by. That incident had prompted Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to warn pet lovers to be cautious while suggesting that "certain foreign breeds" of dogs will be banned in the State. 

There seems, however, no action other than words from Sawant or his administration to initiate any move to identify the breeds and then ban them.  'Bhivpachi garaz na' perhaps?

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