RAJAN PARRIKAR | If you want to lose weight there is a fundamental law you have to abide by: the caloric intake has to be less than the caloric expenditure. There is no way around it. To this law must be added an important directive: You CANNOT out-train a bad diet. Spend all the time you want at the gym, but if you have no diet discipline, it will come to naught. This little detour has relevance to Panjim – and indeed, Goa, as a whole – in light of the plans now afoot to remake it into a “Smart City.”
It doesn’t seem to occur to our politicians or the professional consultants they hire, or even to many of our well-meaning Goans, that the single reason we once had the good life in Goa was that our space was shared by relatively few (translation: there were fewer people).
When Panjim MLA Kuncalienkar points the finger at “activists” for impeding projects that, in his view, would alleviate our infrastructure problems, he conveniently forgets to mention that his erstwhile boss Manohar-ji Parrikar-ji and his political cohort were in bed with the builders, and facilitated the flood of thousands of outsiders into the city and its surrounds. The massive scale of construction frenzy in and around Panjim, and the tremendous stress placed on existing resources, is evidence of it.
So the politicians make a bad situation worse to enrich themselves and their cronies, then they want to “fix” it with “Smart Cities,” and when people object they are accused of being obstructionists. A house designed for 5 cannot accommodate 50 without dire consequences. No amount of retrofitting will solve the problem. Beginning around 2000, people from the rest of India flooded our space and trashed it. Now please re-read my very first paragraph above.
To summarize: Panjim and Goa have far exceeded their carrying capacity. Yet nobody wants to address the elephant in the room: the uncontrolled influx of the rest of India into Goa. Life will only get worse for Goans. Take that to the bank.
Children of Privilege
As mentioned in my earlier column, the aforementioned MLA Shri Kuncalienkar expressed concern for the future of his child and pointed the finger at “activists.”
Let’s pause here: In the whole of India, can anyone name a single politician whose children have gone on to become anything but a highly privileged lot? The one thing that Indian politicians excel in is making sure they leave behind a mountain of loot for their spawn to gorge on.
Let’s rephrase Kuncalienkar-speak: it is the children of the ordinary Goan who will pay dearly for the culture of corruption engendered by his boss Manohar-ji Parrikar-ji and fellow politicians. His own child will do just fine, I am sure.
Third World Thoughts
A common refrain I hear is that people like me oppose projects because we want to deny Goans the fruits of modernity while ourselves enjoying those comforts in the developed West. All I can say is, like their deity Manohar-ji, these bird-brains are mired in the Third World gutter.
Do I oppose fraudulent schemes like Mopa (a real estate scam) and other grandiose designs Manohar-ji and his cronies want to foist on Goa? Guilty as charged, and proud of it. Shouldn’t Manohar-ji and Shri Kuncalienkar be first focused on tending to the most basic issues such as these blog.parrikar.com/2015/11/04/smart-city/ ?
Where I live, we enjoy world-class basic infrastructure, clean spaces, safe roads, superb medical facilities, reliable power and water supply 24 hours. I want Goans to enjoy the same. But those are uncool things in the fevered imagination of Manohar-ji and Shri Kuncalienkar. After all, why spend one crore improving the lot of the ordinary people when you can waste hundreds of crores of taxpayer money on pies in the sky that feed the party coffers?
No Thanks or Please, Hum Hindustani
One of the features of being Indian is that the words “Thank You” and “Please” shall never part your lips. On my Lufthansa flight the Indian next to me was a prime example. “GET ME wine.” “I WANT chicken now.” The stewardess displayed extraordinary grace in the face of this disgusting lout. He isn’t an isolated instance. This is what being Indian is all about. The same behavior I notice during breakfast at a Panjim hotel. The manner in which Indians treat the wait staff is abominable.