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Panjim
Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Goa Liberation@60… By Rohan Khaunte

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As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Goa’s Liberation from the foreign yoke, it’s also time for an introspection as to what Liberation means to the common man of Goa.

Much water has flown through the Mandovi as the river itself in time has been straddled by not one but 3 bridges signifying infrastructural development in Goa. Our quaint little state with its primarily agricultural & fishing economy has blossomed into an International Tourist Destination. Mining & Pharma companies have been economy boosters and we stand a fair chance of becoming a Knowledge Hub also.

Amidst all this progress the glaring reality is that the fruits of Liberation are yet to filter down to every section of the population. While the little town of Panjim has grown beyond itself into the state’s economic & administrative capital and other towns too are bustling with economic activities and prosperity, there still remain the fringe areas and a neglected population that’s still 60 years behind. Places and People where electricity, water supply, sanitation, education and the latest hallmark of development, the Internet is still a luxury. People still trod miles to reach a health centre and walk great distances to sell their farm, poultry and diary products to earn a livelihood. These marginalised people are still being exploited and continue to be deprived of their basic rights. It’s only when the fruits of Liberation reaches each one of these people that we can jubilantly celebrate our Liberation.

Successive Governments cutting across party lines have always focused on the larger picture and large scale projects that have repeatedly pushed into the shadows the already marginalised sections of society. We have failed to be a model welfare state and continue to follow the same path even now by promoting the likes of Infra Projects at Mollem.

We’re ignoring the huge potential of our natural beauty and bounty which has promoted Goa to a place of Pride in the Global Tourism Circuit. We seem to be taking a nature destructive path rather than follow a nature friendly mode of development. Environmentally Sustainable Development is the only way to a long lasting welfare oriented economy and societal development.

Goa has all the basic potential to bloom into a vibrant Tourism, Marine & Knowledge Economy like Singapore. Visionary Leadership and Goa specific planning & projections that safeguard our Environmental potential is the need of the hour. Welfare measures to enable the marginalised segments of society to walk the path of development shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone else should be the motto of our progress. So long as the divide remains and so long as a people suffer deprivation of basic rights & amenities, true Liberation is still not an absolute truth.

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