| NOVEMBER 18, 2022, 12:47 AM IST

The alternative recourse  

Regimes may use their might to suppress stuff they don’t like. But in this day and age of the internet, there’s always a way out -- blogging.  

Last week, the Goa government had controversially cancelled the DD Kossambi Festival of Ideas at the eleventh hour, reportedly because the BJP leadership in Delhi felt that the speakers chosen to deliver lectures at the five-day event were too left-thinking in their ideology for its liking.  

The festival was to be held from November 10 to 14 and Goa’s own Jnanpith award winner Damodar Mauzo was scheduled to open it at the Ravindra Bhavan in Margao. But just a couple of days earlier, the State government announced its purported postponement citing undisclosed “unavoidable circumstances”.  

Unmindful of the government’s move, meanwhile, one of the speakers, Devdutt Pattnaik, the famed Mumbai-based mythologist and author, speaker and illustrator tricked the situation and went ahead delivering his lecture on ‘Gods of Goa’.   

Pattnaik used his handle on the video-logging site Instagram to do it on Saturday last, the same day he would have done it, if the festival was to be held. It’s another matter whether Pattnaik would have broached the controversial, contentious and debatable issue of temple management domination by Goa’s Brahmin mahajans by displacing Devadasis with the help of laws made by the Portuguese regime, had he to deliver the lecture physically at the festival instead of via the internet on Instagram.  

Nonetheless Pattnaik’s Instagram move was cool and gives an insight to the power of the internet which regimes across the world are struggling to censor.  

Jetty policy: DoT v/s CoP  

The controversial jetty policy of the Tourism Department, apart from raising the heckles of a number of coastal and riverine villages, citizens and activists has also upset authorities within the government and triggered a turf war.  

The Captain of Ports which is the department which lords over all matters maritime in the State’s inland waters has red flagged the policy sensing the Tourism Department’s intention to wade into its territory. The war is unlikely to see resolution anytime soon.   

The Tourism Department meanwhile is insisting that the ‘jetty policy’ is exclusively meant to regulate only those jetties that are used for tourism related boating activities. It has, in a letter to the CoP claimed that the policy in no way will apply to boats and crafts used to catering to casinos, barges, coal handling vessels but only to boats used for tourism purposes.   

The CoP is in no mood to relent. A little bird has been tweeting aloud along the Panaji bank of the Mandovi river that matters maritime, even in relation to the boats used for tourism purposes, cannot be licenced or regulated by any authority other than the “captain of ports” which is technical and statutory position.  

The back and forth between the tourism department and the Captain of ports over the draft ‘jetty policy’ is seemingly taking a meandering course towards choppy waters.  

Parasite or Paradise?  

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has come in for the stick from trolls on social media over an unlikely issue -- his English accent and diction.  

Sawant, who has on more than one occasion in the past acknowledged his difficulty in communicating in the English language having done his schooling in the vernacular medium, was trolled by many for apparently pronouncing ‘paradise’ as ‘parasite’ in an address he made to a convention of outstation and international entrepreneurs of the plastic industry.  

Turns out that Sawant’s mis-pronunciation of the term ‘paradise’ as ‘parasite’ actually gave the message a witty twist which ironically had many in the digital space even lauding him for speaking the ‘truth’.  

While introducing Goa to the businessman, Sawant said: “Goa is a tourist parasite (apparently instead of saying paradise)......” Netizens were in a frenzy even as some said he did speak the truth, referring to many in the industry, especially the favourite punching bags, the taxi-wallahs, accused of literally behaving like parasites with the tourists.  

English, is indeed a funny language.  

The forgotten dhangars of Mopa  

These days everybody is busy talking about the date of the inaugural of the new Mopa Airport and all seem to have forgotten the plight of the dhangar families who were uprooted from there for the purpose of building the airport.It is common knowledge that the government “rehabilitated” them but in anyone bothered to know whether these dhangar families are really happy with the rehabilitation package and contentedly living in their new environs?  

Seems like no. Inquiries we made with the families revealed that the land and the houses are yet to be transferred in the names of these families, more than four years after they were displaced and ‘officially rehabilitated’.  

And as if that is not enough, the members of each family who were given jobs at the Mopa airport are getting meager salaries which they claim are insufficient to sustain and cover their minimum daily expenses. Also, they are uncertain whether their services at the airport would be regularized.  

The land on which they have been rehabilitated being rocky adds to their woes as they cannot cultivate much and now have to buy their consumables including some foodgrain from the market, which adds to their expenses.  

It also came to light that the families were promised that they would be given Rs 50,000 annually as compensation for losing their cultivable land. However, till date, they have not seen the colour of the money.  

So, as politicians in government will tom-tom the completion of the airport project as proof of development in the State, the question begging answers is: At whose cost?  

(Compiled by Ashley Do Rosario with inputs from Manuel Vaz)
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