Saving Salu is not easy, so vote wisely

February 3, 2017

kenelm1KENELM 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:

  • He has to be assisted with modern methods of farming to grow a bigger variety of vegetables throughout the year. Many of these schemes exist on paper but the path to obtain them is riddled with paperwork and corruption.
  • If Salu increases his produce, he needs access to a processing and storing unit. None exist to support small scale farmers.
  • He could be helped with reviving traditional methods of storing our ample monsoon water through the traditional little lakes that have now all but disappeared.
  • Using the same amount of water through drip irrigation, he could cultivate another couple of rounds of crops through summer, something that was not traditionally done.
  • The vast amount of vegetable and organic waste that is generated from agriculture as well as waste from markets could be processed into compost through common or individual composting sites. This is presently burnt or adds a few more tons to our already collapsing garbage disposal systems.
  • When they see the potential in agriculture, Salu’s children or perhaps even new partners interested in living in Goa would be keen to study agriculture and take it up as a career.

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 !

2 comments on “Saving Salu is not easy, so vote wisely”

  • When I went down to Goa last December, I wanted to buy some fruits like Papaya, Munddouchim Bananas etc. When I saw that the business had been taken over by non-Goans, well almost as I saw there were some villagers on one side of the area, I bought some of the above fruits from them knowing very well that inspite of their claim of the fruits being from their orchard, they were from Belgaum. (Sad to say I had to throw away abut one third of them.) All this from my deep rooted desire to help our Goans.

  • Joaquim Mishra says:

    Well written I must say Mr.Lopes If only you were contesting in the 2017 elections Go a would definitely see a change and be corrupt free from all evils.

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