With elections to our beautiful State just round the corner, Goans are presently spoilt for choice with almost 10 parties being expected to be in the fray.
Faced with the prospect at the moment of having to choose from BJP, Congress, AAP, TMC, GFP, NCP, MGP, MDF, Revolutionary Goans and Goencho Avaaz, the decision that they will take will lead most probably to a fractured mandate as each of these parties have their own strongholds and followers.
Ideally, any Opposition must be united if they need to dislodge the incumbent dispensation. The BJP government had got its chance but messed up the administration in such a manner that many anti-people projects have been taken up.
Let's begin with the decision to proceed with the three linear infrastructure projects at Mollem which violated the Bhagwan Mahaveer wildlife sanctuary and the Mollem National Park.
This project has seen unprecedented and overwhelming opposition by all sections of society which include prominent NGOs, environmentalists as well as sections cutting across party lines as also youth and the almost entire student population in Goa.
Wanton felling of trees and displacing of the fauna will relegate this bio-diverse portion of the Western Ghats into an area which will damage its fragile eco-systems. If a referendum was held at the moment on this issue, it would predict that more than 80% of the Goans would be against these three projects.
The villagers of Shel-Melauli have to be appreciated for launching a sustained and decisive campaign against the IIT project there and emerged victorious, a sure sign that people’s power triumphed against vested politicians.
Goa in general, and the people of the port town of Vasco in particular are suffering due to the highly unhealthy consequences of coal dust pollution. This activity has been going on for a long time now and the
handling of coal by MPT and its transportation through the streets of Vasco goes on much against the wishes of the people.
It is at this particular juncture that the suffering people of Vasco cast their ballot decisively against those that have turned a deaf ear to their woes. Coal handling and transportation through Vasco has to stop.
The Assembly elections are slated for February 2022 and this would be a huge opportunity for Vascoites to express their anger at being cold-shouldered.
The condition of the roads in Goa has been abysmal with pot-holed stretches found across the length and breadth of the State. Our Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has, however, announced that by November 1, all roads would be patched up.
Material like stones and asphalt is being used to patch the holes which I am sure won't remain and will come up in no time.
The fact that the government has woken up to this at the fag end of its tenure only speaks volumes of the work done by this administration.
For five years that the BJP was in power, the common man had to bear the brunt without any solace.
Assembly polls are nearing and the present dispensation is trying to remedy the situation by launching various schemes to woo the common man so as to save face.
The issue of the resumption of sustainable mining in the State could have been resolved if the government had shown urgency and resolve to re-start mining by following the Supreme Court directives which could have alleviated the sufferings of people dependent on mining operations.
This was a dereliction of duty on the part of the government. Time and again after false assurances to the people from the mining belt, the government failed to address the issue.
The Mining Development Front which has pledged to contest the elections in protest against the BJP’s failure to restart mining should voice their opposition to the present dispensation through the ballot.
There are many other issues that need to be projected by the people as having been against their interests and it should be now that people in Goa make their presence felt by fighting for their rights through the ballot.
(The writer is a social activist)