The BJP in Goa soon completes four and half years in office. This government has to be assessed on the ‘Goa Vision Document 2012-2017’, released by the Party in the run-up to the March 2012 Assembly elections and its blatant acts of misdeeds over the last four and half years in Power. It has been an unending string of U Turns and reneged promises. Despite having been given a clear mandate, the BJP has been unable to deliver on the ‘Parivartan’ that it promised by way of Good governance and Zero tolerance to corruption. Rampant corruption continues unabated and scams are galore. What has only changed is the identity of the agents, brokers and beneficiaries.
The BJP had promised the moon by way of a Golden Goa and Acche din but has reneged on almost every promise. On March 9th 2012 Manohar Parrikar took over as Chief Minister by unnecessarily burdening the State exchequer with those Rs.11 lakhs squandered on that pompous swearing-in ceremony on SAG grounds at Campal instead of having the customary modest one at Raj Bhavan.
In its ‘Vision Document’ the BJP promised that Annual Performance Reports of every government department would be prepared and publicized. This has not happened. Also promised was participatory governance at village level as envisaged in the 73rd and 74th amendments, which too, has not seen the light of the day. Promised was a new Agricultural policy to make agriculture a more rewarding effort but all that we witness today is the continued sight of fields and hills being converted to concrete jungles. We were assured a new regional plan keeping in mind Goa’s identity, but there is no plausible progress in that direction while a selected coterie of builders are having a field day with constructions mushrooming everywhere without a provision for basic infrastructure of electricity, water, parking, sewage and garbage disposal.
To ensure regular, uninterrupted power supply the BJP had promised that the whole of Goa would have underground cabling in five years and that the State would be plastic-free in three years which has also not happened. The promise that a garbage management system would be in place in 18 months is still a distant dream. The government has miserably failed in its promise of 12 hours-a-day uninterrupted drinking water within two years. Also not appointed is the promised Minority commission. Contrary to the 2012 assurance, the six-lane Zuari Bridge has not been a priority. Let the government enlighten us as to how many Non-Resident Goans (NRGs) it has encouraged and in what manner, for Goa’s development, as promised in that Vision document. The BJP has only played to the gallery on the issue of Special Status but has done nothing to control the alarming and unacceptable levels of migration into Goa.
We were assured that in three months garbage strewn along the roads would be cleared. Apart from a mere cosmetic exercise on some roads, the garbage situation statewide has instead turned critical with even the beach cleaning contract being a multi-crore scam. The BJP has not had the spine to even deliver on its promise of banning plastic bags.
Escalating level of crime is a matter of grave concern while political interference in police functioning is turning Goa into a lawless State. The promise to get rid of the Casinos from the River Mandovi was another cruel joke. The BJP had promised that Professionals and not Politicians would head Corporations and other bodies but to our utter dismay, all the Corporations have been loaded with political cronies, some of whom are woefully tainted.
Various schemes launched to pay doles and build vote banks are in bad taste. Welfare measures cannot be treated as gifts of the ruling party but have to meet the needs of the deserving. Even on the Medium of Instruction (MOI) issue there has been an oscillating volte face. While in the Opposition the BJP had always vociferously criticized the wasteful expenditure of Ministers and MLAs on unnecessary travel, but the current Ministers and MLAs have been jetting around while draining an already depleted exchequer. With so much hype on e-governance, Goa’s bureaucracy is bloating by the day. Despite the current financial crisis, the BJP has been hiring thousands more to accommodate party cadres.
In his first budget speech in 2012 the then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had assured that every Department would implement e-governance within 18 months. Sadly, most government websites are dysfunctional or remain not updated for months. The ‘aam aadmi’ is now paying much more for every government service. Even the fee for a Power of Attorney which was earlier Rs.50/-, shot up to Rs.500/-.
The BJP has not honoured that faith and trust the people of Goa reposed in the party. The actions of the government speak for themselves. We were hoping that the ‘Parivartan’ in 2012 would be for the better. But the tormented common man today moans as we have landed from the frying pan into the fire.
On 8th November 2014 Manohar Parrikar officially passed on the baton to Laxmikant Parsekar but has remained Goa’s de-facto Chief Minister while Goans continue bearing the brunt of a government enveloped in confusion, contradictions and controversies.
With elections due in just over six months the government the Government is on a spree tendering new projects despite a mountain of incomplete ones all over. It will also now be extravagantly dolling out freebies. But this is a sign of bad governance – when a State sponsors fun and frolic more so when its coffers are empty. The government has been on a borrowing spree and cannot sustain such lavish spending. The BJP’s promises have ended up like China-make goods, with neither a guarantee nor warranty.
So now, BJP hatao – Goa Bachao may be the only way forward to rescue a sinking Goa from the current administrative anarchy and to restore democratic values while safeguarding for posterity what remains of our once beautiful and tranquil State.