Quo Vadis Commissioner for Disabilities: Yet Another Commission being Smothered!

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

It seems that India enacts laws to set up Commissions, or constitutes Commissions for human rights, or for specific sections of society, only to tick off the same on the obligation list under International UN Conventions. Because the Commissions are smothered from the word go. No proper office space, no appropriate adequate staff, no appropriate and clear budget, no certainty for staff, no space for autonomy, and a deliberately-feigned ignorance of the kind of work Commissions are expected to do. The Disabilities Commission is the latest of Commissions to be targeted in this smothering game and it has in fact led to the resignation of the Commissioner for Disabilities.

 

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State of Education: Exams and Merit

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

This year’s Goa Board examinations witnessed many HSSC and SSC students complain that the physics and science question papers respectively were too tough. Many parents and students wrote letters in the press, pleading with the Goa Board officials to be lenient during evaluation. The anxiety that students and parents shared alike was so much that it also resulted in an online petition.

 

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Blaming Rape on Colonial Rule

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

The outrage over the Kathua and Unnao rape cases has its problems. The major one is that it leads one to believe that these crimes – and their fall-out – are something new, when in fact they are the norm in India. Rape has been used historically all over the world to terrorise, but continues so in India, where rapes of the vulnerable – women and men, children and adult – are routine. Plus some rapes are not even considered crimes by the law, like marital rape. Many rapes are also not even reported because the rapists are relatives and other known people, and the new death penalty will only worsen this. Besides all this, the armed forces of the country are routinely accused of horrifying rapes, including Kunan-Poshpora of 1991 and many others in Kashmir, and the 2004 Manorama case in Manipur, about which justice has rarely, if ever, been done.

 

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The Janave Across Goan History

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

In the popular imagination, Goan history generally begins with the arrival of the Portuguese, followed by conquest and religious conversions. This four-and-a-half-century long period contains periods of oppression and cultural efflorescence, but mostly unbridled oppression. However, this changes once the Indian army marches into Goa in December 1961, leading Goa and its people, from the centuries-long darkness that they suffered, into the light of unfettered freedom. What the average Goan knows about this narrative is filtered through the lenses of a good amount of political machinations, besides family lore and myth. These unreliable and fragmented memories lead to a skewed understanding of Goan history and identity. The hold of this narrative is so complete that one finds it pervading in all walks of Goan life. Using Kalidas Mhamal’s installation “Caste Thread”, this essay will talk about the popular narrative of Goan history and its tenacious hold on the people of Goa.

 

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Jobs and Feel-Good Politics

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

In a move that will surely not go down well with the private companies in Goa, the government has issued show cause notices to 22 firms for participating in a trade fair in Sawantwadi. The rationale for the notices served by the Department of Labour and Employment, on the instruction of Labour Minister Rohan Khaunte, is that private companies operating in Goa should hire Goans – or at least should give preference to Goans first. In order to tighten the screws on such companies, the government is also mulling a move that would make it mandatory for private companies to obtain NOCs from the Employment Exchange to hire non-Goans, and also link jobs in private sector to the controversial Aadhaar card.

 

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The Race Was Well Run: A Tribute to Floriano Almeida

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

The day was 11th March, 2018. Floriano Almeida, who was Goa’s athletics champion for around a decade and a half from the mid-1960’s, breezed out of this world. Floriano had won every medal and cup for 1500 metre, 5000 metre, 10000 metre races and mini marathons in Goa that he participated in from 1965 onwards. He had even represented Goa at All India athletic meets at Madras, Uttar Pradesh, Bangalore, Punjab and Rajasthan and the Mormugao Port Trust at All India Ports athletic meets at Madras and Calcutta and by 1977, at Madras, he secured first place and the gold medal in the 5000 metre race category, and was awarded a bronze medal in the 10000 metres the following day.

 

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Floriano Almeida — Another Kind of Goemkarponn

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

As Planning and Development Authorities (PDA) are sought to be imposed on Goan villages, in opposition to which fervent calls are made for the preservation of villages, curiously both are using the hashtag of Goemkarponn. The life of the recently deceased athlete Floriano Almeida (1947-2018), Goa’s undisputed long distance runner for over a decade and a half from 1965 onwards, may just about offer another kind of Goemkarponn, to reflect on. A Goemkarponn shaped by the sports spirit of yester years that can point to equitable realities for villagers, while also repelling exploiters who are making our villages a real-estate playground.

 

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Disastrous Planning: Development and Goa’s Future

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Goans are constantly bombarded with large-scale infrastructure schemes and this has become routine. If there is a successful protest mounted against the expansion of coal handling in Mormugao/Vasco, then the battle-ground shifts to Mopa, from there it shifts to the mining areas, and currently we are at this juncture where something called “vertical development” is promoted through the controversial Regional Plan 2021 (RP-21). As protests have already begun against the revival of RP-21, it would be useful to check out what exactly the plan seeks to achieve.

 

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Beauty is not the Issue

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

An important victory was achieved by the Goan people against their own government a couple of days ago, when the villages of St. Andre and St. Cruz were removed from the controversial Greater Panjim Planning and Development Authority (PDA), thus forestalling the intensive real estate development that the latter entails. This victory comes on the back of a few other significant wins against the perverse development being foisted on us, with the courts stopping both mining and the moving of mined ore, the Pollution Control Board halting operations at Mormugao Port for lack of environmental clearance, and, of course, the Bombay High Court’s judgement last year, against Parrikar’s shifting of Goa’s National Green Tribunal bench to Delhi, in which Justices G S Patel and N D Sardessai waxed eloquent on Goa’s beauty  – ‘ridiculously brilliant sunsets’ et al – and called it a land worth fighting for.

 

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On Those Who Do(n’t) Depend on Mining

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Irrespective of whether one does or does not depend on mining, one will suffer from the ill-effects. If one isn’t involved in the sector, the dust, pollution, and the destruction of the ecology will nonetheless affect one’s daily life. If one is a service-provider – such as a truck owner/driver, machine operator, and barge owner/worker – in the mining industry, the rampant illegalities (and even legalities that keep changing) in the sector bring in a lot of uncertainties. Thus, whether one depends for sustenance on mining or not, in Goa all are ‘mining-affected’.

 

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