KENELM SANTANA LOPES | After dropping my wife to school, I stop at the Panjim market to pick up fresh fish and vegetables. At the entrance of the vegetable market is a Goan man called Salu who sells local produce from Taleigao, early in the morning. After a while, he leaves someone else to manage the selling of the vegetables that remain and then heads to his regular job. A very happy and chatty person.
Salu works hard at growing vegetables. He has done better than most, as he has a place in the market while many other Goans are reduced to selling on the roadside. He has to manage both his agricultural activities and his daytime job as the former does not bring him sufficient income.
To bring him sufficient revenue:
But none of what should help him happens………
Every manifesto these days has been promising development. The sad irony is that no one has a clue of what is the actual development that they are promising.
A fair and sensible understanding would be that we would say that we have ‘developed’ when we moved from our current quality of life to a happier and higher quality of life. So how does the supposedly brilliant vision of development of our politicians help Salu ?
They would build roads and flyovers through his fields with little regard to his water distribution system.
They would acquire his land apparently for some airport or bus stand and pay him a sum of money that would exhaust itself in a couple of years leaving him unemployed and in poverty.
They would promise him jobs but when the jobs come he would find himself unqualified for them and those that made the promises had forgotten them.
They would encourage building of large malls owned by non Goans that sell produce imported from neighbouring states and even as far as China at double the price and half the nutritive value.
Meanwhile, in the name of development, industrial promotion boards would acquire even more land and change the zoning so it can benefit their cronies and capitalist friends who want to build large hotels and industries on cheap land by destroying the environment.
The rapid urbanization would drive costs of land so high that Salu would no longer be able to expand thanks to the crazy prices of even agricultural property.
In a few years, Salu would find his agricultural activities unsustainable and lose that income. The cost of living having shot up, he will find it difficult to maintain even his old lifestyle. He would live in a polluted place with little greenery and miss the years he spent tilling the land.
A few days back a popular politician came and offered to make Salu more ‘comfortable’. Building more infrastructure to support builders, industrialists and unregulated urbanization will not move him from his current state of life to a happier one. In fact, the only ones who will be happy are those who will exploit him.
Salu does not needs development models that make him more ‘comfortable’. He needs the implementation of ideas that make him happier.
Remember Salu is a real person who you can go meet and patronize at the market after reading this. There are many other Salu like figures among the fishermen, the potters, the handicraft guys, the performing artists, etc.
To save Goa, save them from the lack of wisdom in governance.
Vote wisely !