PANAJI: Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant touched upon many pressing issues in popular television programme Head-on on Prudent TV on Monday.
The CM addressed issues like the collapse of the Kala Academy structure, Banastarim accident, Fr Bolmax statement on Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the 'so-called 18 scams' exposed by the Opposition on the floor of the House.
Monsoon session of Goa Assembly
The monsoon session of the Goa Assembly was a long session compared to the past ones, because due to Covid long sessions could not be taken earlier, said the CM. “It was the demand of the ministers and I think it was a good and satisfactory session, with the opposition as well as the ruling party ministers performing well,” he said and reasoned that he was not very protective towards his ministers this time because they were capable of giving replies to the questions. “I offered support only wherever anyone fumbled on figures or financial explanations, or on government policies,” said Sawant.
On claims of the opposition of exposing 18 scams in 18 days of the session, the Chief Minister stated that any small issue is blown up as a scam. “Opposition is habitually blaming the government. Vijai (Sardesai) boasts that he has done something extraordinary in the House, but our government is not involved in any scam, and I have clarified all issues on the floor of the House,” said the CM.
Kala Academy to open from October this year
Stating that Kala Academy will start functioning soon and will be opened for public from October this year, except the open theatre where work will start after tenders are invited, CM pointed out that the structure was built 43 years ago and the rods in the slab were rusted, so it collapsed. “It is true that there were two reports before work started and neither of these reports mentioned of the rust. The third report is yet to come from Delhi. Whosoever is responsible for not submitting the report about the rust will be penalised and action will be taken against him,” he said.
Asked why Art and Culture minister Govind Gawade is given clean chit on Kala Academy collapse and delay in the construction, the CM said that it was the cabinet decision and not his own. Kala Academy asked PWD to give contractor and PWD suggested, hence the minister is not directly involved in this and therefore he is not to be blamed.
About police lethargy on the Banastarim accident and the role of the police in such cases of accidents and drunken driving, the CM said that it is sad that three innocent people lost their lives in the accident for no fault of theirs. “There needs to be a detailed look into the issue. The other three victims are in the hospital, I have visited them. However, it is not fair that for every small thing, the government is held responsible. How can we arrange for alcometers on every road?
If tourists and Goan citizens observe the rules, such incidents would not happen. One must control rash driving. How many police personnel can we deploy. We cannot blame the police for everything. The citizens and tourists should act responsibly. The police are doing good work and their good work also should be highlighted," the CM said.
Recent incidents causing stir in Goa
About the recent issues of Chatrapati Shivaji statue and Fr Bolmax statement and the tense situation in the State, and if it is a time bomb ticking, Dr Sawant said Goa’s image is that of communal harmony and ‘sarva dharma sama bhava’ behaviour. Someone is trying to disturb this image and the peace in the State, and the government will soon find out who or what these forces are. The investigation is on and the Intelligence would find out whether this is organised and intentional. We are working on it, said the CM, adding, Goa is a tourist State and we have to maintain peace and harmony here.
Asked about the ruckus over his statement on wiping out the Portuguese traces, the CM said that he is very clear on his stand. “We have to come out of the colonial mindset. We are still dwelling in it. There were so many kings and dynasties, Chatrapati Shivaji, Mauryas and Kadambas and why should we remember only the Portuguese,” he asked.