Maya “Bush”: Goa Sting Operator Who Gave Up Anonymity

The multiple exploits of Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, the journalist who exposed Goa’s paid news racket, pulled off a prank by planting a fake Nazi story in several well-read dailies, and has held up a mirror to the media in other ways. He is known in Goan media circles as Bhushan, or The Bush. He has written an hilarious article titled  ‘Pimples on Paradise’ about the various corrupt activities of media in Goa in

“Bhushan gives the home minister too much tension. He gives the chief of police too much tension as well. He is too straightforward.”

Mayabhushan Nagvenkar

I live in Goa. In a small corner in that paradise.In that corner, where I live, there aren’t any dancing virgins. There’s only journalists. And crimson trails of torn professional hymens.

And the story I have to tell is not new. It isn’t even a big story.Like the one which spilled out with the Nira Radia tapes. There’s no Barkha Dutt. There’s no Vir Sanghvi. Not even a relatively low-brow, shrill Prabhu Chawla.

The story is about a small place. The heroes here are a lot smaller in scale. So are the villains. But the stories from this small place are as interesting as the ones which come from the big cities. Trust me. The sweet, warm smell of purification reeks the same everywhere.

As the author of this piece, I will reserve stories involving me for later.

The first story’s a comparison between two opposite journalistic poles.

This is the story of Ash. And the story of Pats.

Ash has been a journalist for nigh two decades. He’s conscientiously worked on the newsdesk and reported extensively in Goa. He’s anchored newspaper editions for all three local newspapers in Goa.

Ash has been a journalist for nigh two decades. He’s conscientiously worked on the newsdesk and reported extensively in Goa. He’s anchored newspaper editions for all three local newspapers in Goa. But then he went on and did three things over the last few years – not necessarily in the order listed. He became a founding member of a newspaper employees union seeking fair working conditions. Later, he contested civic elections after putting in a legit leave of absence. Third, he befriended me.

Result: He has been virtually unemployed for the last four of the eight years. There are four daily English newspapers in Goa. One monthly news magazine. And several other news, feature and lifestyle magazines. But no jobs to be had for him. In my honest opinion, he has the professional wherewithal to fit into any newspaper set up across the country.

The one reason which editors and newspaper managements in Goa give him for rejecting his job application, is his ‘voluble’ support and perceived involvement in an anonymous media critiquing blog I ran by the name of Penpricks. And he wasn’t even part of it.

Directorate of Official language organized a book release function on 31st May 2010 at Maquinize Palace, Panaji at the hands of Shri Digambar Kamat, Hon’ble C. M./Minister of Official Language in the distinguished presence of renowned music director Shri Ashok Patki, following three books were released in the function, one of which was “Vikas Khara Khota” written by Goa’s most prominent, resourceful, respectful and seniormost journalist, editor Shri Raju Nayak (extreme right) in Marathi
(note: This picture is not suggestive of any imaginative character in the article. It is only published here to show how Goa governments has been encouraging prominent literary personalities from all walks of life to promote art & culture.

Now, Pats has also been around a bit. He’s on the vernacular end of things. His honest cherry popped early and was perhaps replaced by a big red plum. He was caught using a ruling Congress politician’s credit card for wardrobe shopping. Took paid-news suparis regularly. Bought a few mining trucks. Started real estate projects. Until one fine day he was asked to leave by his newspaper management, when they discovered that he hadn’t withdrawn from his salary account for several years. Within a month he was snapped up by another vernacular newspaper and his cycle of corruption renewed once again.

The second story has no central characters. There were just too many of them during the run-up to the assembly elections in March this year, for any one in particular to take centre stage. Early during the campaign, both the Congress and the BJP came in with war chests to cultivate the media. Well, there’s still no confirmation of the exact monies doled out to the media here. But then there’re things you see for yourself. While one political party offered journalists covering the polls tablet phones along with money, another party simply offered cash on the barrel. So if you see media folk in Goa who suddenly flaunt a tablet phone and tell-tale signs of a sudden flush of cash, chances are you may have just spotted a bad egg.

The deal struck between journalists and newspaper managements and poll contestants these last elections was relatively uncomplicated, but also had a sheen of innovation.

Conventionally, the concept of paid news involves payment of money for publishing of favourable content. During the March elections however, the paid-news deals involved not just writing favourably about one candidate, but also blanking out news involving his opponents. Paid-news emerged as an evolved and a matured entity this time round.

Those interested in looking up lop-sided reportage, could scan the poll coverage in the Herald for a comparative analysis of assembly constituencies like Fatorda, Curchorem, Quepem, etc, where the coverage has been extremely ‘unusual’ to say the least. There were other newspapers who did it too, but none with the élan of the above-mentioned newspaper.

And then there’s this little story about me.

I’ve been a working journalist since 1997. I have worked for The Asian Age in Mumbai, Herald in Goa, Tehelka in New Delhi and have also been part of a band of journalists who produced investigative news software for television channels. And then I’ve done some writing on and critiquing of the media in Goa over the years. There’s the story about editorials for sale. Then there was the fake story about a holocaust varmint Nazi being arrested by a fictitious secret German police unit floated by me which was published in several newspapers across India and the globe. Then there was another story about newspapers publishing sex advertisements promoting prostitution, where instead of listing the pimp’s number, I inserted phone numbers of the same editors whose newspapers published these lewd and solicitous adverts. There was also the story of how the Goa Editor’s Guild (GEG) set out to gag the media critique blog, by listing the item on the agenda of an official Guild meeting. And then another one establishing paid news in these assembly elections in Goa.

Result: I’ve had to do my bit of scrounging. I have been at the bottom of the barrel for a spell. In the course of exposing the above-mentioned stories, I’ve been out of a job for a long while. There was no money coming in so I resorted to all sorts of odd writing jobs, since writing is the only paying skill I possess. I did some cheap sweatshop commercial-writing by pitching to postings on craigslist. I’ve written and rewritten about yoga mats. About turd-cleaning devices, which help you clear dog poo off the floor, without leaving stains. I’ve even written tasty little descriptors for websites hosting porn films and sleazeclips, sometimes making $2 for 500 words.

All this, until a friend and fellow journalist Fredrick Noronha voluntarily and graciously gave up his job writing for a news agency from Goa, so that I could pitch for it.

So now every story told through the ages has had its morals. And I am still looking for the morals in mine.

But like I said earlier. The story is the same everywhere. Journalistic corruption is not special to Goa. Dammit, it’s not even as big as the big metros. So why did I do the things I did and say the things I have over here?

Things come across a lot clearer in smaller places. There’re fewer people. Fewer buffers. Fewer layers of camouflage. There’s lesser intrigue. The smaller journalistic microcosm of Goa is representative of the profession’s ills and helps one understand the depravity of the broader journalistic setup in India in an easy way.

A shot of Goan feni in a Goan tavern works as well as the finest scotch in Delhi’s tony, well-heeled clubs. But what would cost you ten bucks here could cost you a few hundred quid in Delhi, with perhaps a Bangkok junket thrown in for good measure.


Lokmat Editor Raju Nayak “flexed muscle” against RTI activists

Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, Goa correspondent of The Pioneer, New Delhi reports from capital Panaji:

Editor of Marathi daily under court scanner for ‘scuttling’ graft probe

An editor of a popular multi-edition Marathi newspaper has been involved in using threats and complainants to scuttle legal proceedings in a case involving misappropriation of public funds, a Goa court has said.

The startling observations were made by special sessions judge Nutan Sardessai in her order allowing complainants Kashinath Shetye and Ketan Govekar, incidentally both Right to Information (RTI) activists, to intervene in the anticipatory bail case of an ex-committee member of an educational trust that has been accused of misappropriating Rs 21 lakh of public funds.

“The powerful and politically connected persons of the School Trust/Society and the editor of Lokmat, Raju Nayak, either flexed their muscle to instil fear in their minds or otherwise tried to entice or lure them with promises of rewards in the event they comply in order to scuttle the legal proceedings,” Sardessai said in her order, which has come as a shocker for the media fraternity here.

“The problem of misappropriation of public funds in Goa is on the rise, a threat of immeasurable gravity, threatening the future of the Government and the society and much more so when an educational establishment, teachers and officials of the police of the State are inextricably entangled in corruption to protect them and to facilitate their functioning. The interveners are receiving threats periodically on phone to withdraw the application. Even the editor of Lokmat, Raju Nayak is involved,” Sardessai further said.

The order also states that two complainants had not only been threatened and induced, but also harassed, put “under private surveillance” and were “constantly followed”.

“The authorities concerned for extraneous reasons and/or for illegal benefit/gratification from the proceeds are turning a blind eye to the illegalities and also to their complaint. The police are pressurized into inaction which is apparent from their refusal to act since 2009 and hesitating to arrest powerful politicians who are in fact the primary accused in the matter,” the court further said.

Sawant, an ex-committee member of the trust running the Shri Durga English School of Pernem, 30 kms from here, had filed for anticipatory bail after a criminal complaint accused trust officials of misappropriating Rs 21 lakh from a Rs 36 lakh Government loan.

Lokmat is a popular Marathi daily which runs several editions in Maharashtra, including one in Goa.

When asked for comment on the court order, Lokmat’s group editor Dinkar Raikar did not respond.

Hopeless Goan farmers believe Sesa Goa is to be more feared than terrorists

Bevanda Collaco

BEVINDA COLLACO (Goa, 2012-05-15)

No one is waiting with more anticipation for the monsoons than the people living around the giant Sesa Goa mining dump at Advai Nullah in Sattari. There are those who live in the direct path of the muddy torrents that will stream down this giant dump bringing silt and floods with it. They are already calculating how much compensation they will demand – and get – from Sesa Goa. Affected farmers say Sesa Goa should be ecstatic about the devastation the dump will cause once it collapses, because the ruined land can be used for further dumps. The farmers who have been running from pillar to post being ignored by government agencies and civil society of Goa, are now waiting and watching with sardonic humour for the silt from the giant dump to rush into the Mhadei river and then into the Mandovi. It is not a small amount of silt. Civil society will then have to sit up and take notice that damage to the pristine forest areas of the hinterland will have a domino effect on the entire state.

MONSTER DUMP 1.7 km long and 90 mts high
MONSTER DUMP 1.7 km long and 90 mts high

MONSTER DUMP 1.7 km long and 90 mts high

The Sesa Goa dump is the largest OB (Over Burden) Waste dump in Goa at Advai, in Sattari taluka. The dump is actually an almost 90-metre high hill which is 1.7 km long. This dump has blocked the natural stream or Advoi nullah which used to flow perennially and water the fields and orchards in the area. Now it flows during the monsoons thick with mining reject. It dries up completely in February. The dump consists of clay soil on which nothing grows except acacia which sucks up all the water in the area and destroys other trees in the vicinity. This, claims the troubled farmers, is also the game plan of the mining company, since once water in the area is depleted, the forest cover dwindles.

CONVERTED ADVAI NULLAH Now used as a series of settlin ponds

CONVERTED ADVAI NULLAH Now used as a series of settlin ponds

On the way to the Sesa Goa dump one sees the Chowgule dump partially covered by Acacia plants. An entire section of the Chowgule dump collapsed on itself.

CONVERTED ADVAI NULLAH Now used as a series of settlin ponds

CONVERTED ADVAI NULLAH Now used as a series of settlin ponds

When earth is dug up for mining, one part contains mineral ore while six parts contain mud which has little or no value. That mud has to be dumped somewhere. It cannot be dumped in the mining lease area, since the area has to be exploited to the last centimetre, so the mining company looks for land to dump the O B Waste. Sesa Goa’s Sonshi mine, which is 8 kilometers away from the Advai Nullah signed an agreement with the Revenue Secretary, Government of Goa to dump its O B waste in government land, under survey number 35. The government land was leased to Sesa Goa for a princely sum of Rs 10,000 to Rs 12000, say the farmers. The agreement expired in October 2011 and no one knows whether the contract has been renewed.

Survey No 35 was not enough for Sesa Goa, they extended their dump to survey numbers 32, 34, 35, 36/1, 36/2and 38 which are government properties encroached upon by others for cashew cultivations and other agricultural purposes. The dump has already spread into protected forested area. The mining giant is currently hunting for more parcels of land to dump its rejects in.

Survey No 1 in Codiem is protected forested area. It contains a tract of lush green forest (see photograph). If they are not stopped, this forested area too will be buried alive.

Sesa needs more land for dumping

NEW DANGER : Lush Green Forest in Codiem ready for burial (by SESA)

NEW DANGER : Lush Green Forest in Codiem ready for burial (by SESA)

Considering that for every seven parts of earth that is dug up, one part contains ore, the rest – six parts – is reject. Sesa Goa is going to need much more land for piling up its OB Waste. In 2005-06 Sesa Goa applied for permission to mine 12 lakh tones of ore per annum. This was increased to 20 lakh tonnes in 2007-08 and 30 lakh tones in 2008-09. This was when A Raja headed the Union Ministry of Mines. A Raja is the same gentleman sitting in Tihar Jail for the telecom scam. Which brings one to the conclusion that while digging a mine can and does inflict serious damage on the land, the dumps inflict even more damage. Especially when they keep adding ‘benches’ or tiers. In October last the dump was 72 metres, two benches have been added bringing the height of the dump to more than 90 metres.

The farmers have accessed documents of Sesa Goa from the Mining Department. Sonshi mining lease covers an area of 62 hectares. Their first dumps for collecting the waste covered an area of 21 hectares, but these dumps are getting filled to capacity. They are now planning to take up three survey numbers in Codiem. The company is looking for 50 hectares more for dumping reject. They would then have effectively destroyed 62+21+50 and even that is not enough. How can it be? Sesa Goa’s annual turnover is more than the entire Budget of Goa.

Safeguards look inadequate
Sesa Goa was ordered by the High Court to stop dumping any more material on the dump. Sesa Goa informed the Court that they would safeguard the dump by contouring it and covering each bench with geotextile to prevent landslides and damage to the surrounding forest land. The geotextile sheets seem woefully inadequate and some of the lower levels of the giant dump have already developed fissures. Sesa is building a concrete wall around the dump to hold it in place, but would prove less than useless against the enormous height of the dump, or the slope which is 55 to 60 degrees. The concrete wall will not hold the enormous mass of loose mud.

The mining company has begun constructing a concrete wall around the base of the dump. This is too small to contain the mass of unstable mud. Sesa Goa has constructed a temple some distance away from the dump. They are taking all precautions to keep the temple safe by constructing a wall around the temple.

To make matters worse the Advai Nullah area which used to be thickly forested, gets the heaviest rainfall in the district. This begs the question: Did the pundits of Sesa Goa deliberately select this area over the Advai Nullah to spread destruction far and wide. The farmers predict that not just all of Sattari taluka will suffer once the dump collapses, the Mhadei and Mandovi and those who depend on the rivers will suffer too.

BURIED ALIVE! This is how you bury a forest

BURIED ALIVE! This is how you bury a forest

Trees were buried and more are at risk
Since getting permits to fell trees in Government forest land is impossible since trees are not allowed to be cut in Government forest land. There is no law against burying the trees though. Sesa Goa merely dumped the mud over the trees, burying them and raised the dump to a height of almost 90 metres. The trucks drive up on roads tamped on the contoured ‘benches’ and we saw that they were still dumping soil on the dump. They have already started extending the dump into a local farmer Tendulkar’s property. Tendulkar had already leased or sold land to the mining company, he now owns several trucks for transporting ore and has built a spanking new bungalow in the path of the floodwaters if or rather when they arrive.

Sesa Goa has bypassed the Government of Goa and acquired land from Other Rights Holders whose names are included in Form I & XIV. Under the Right to Information the complainants learned that the mining lease is in the name of Cosme Costa & Sons, but the documentation says that the ore is sold at the pithead to Sesa Goa. The Environment Plans and other documents have been submitted by Sesa Goa.
WORRIED AND DEJECTED the last warriors fighting to protect their land

WORRIED AND DEJECTED the last warriors fighting to protect their land

Not only has Sesa Goa killed a 1.7 stretch of forest at Advai, the company also diverted the perennial nullah by digging out a nullah using heavy earth moving machinery to divert the water. But the springs were in the original Advai nullah now covered with mud. The farmers in the area were dependent on the water from the nullah for irrigating their kullaghars (betel nut plantations) banana, cashew and coconut plantation. Once the water dried up, they learned that the ground water too had depleted to such an extent that they could get water only by boring a well 70 metres deep. Desperate now for redressal, 30 affected farmers had taken the case to court in 2000. Judge Ferdino Rebello presided over the case. In 2003 the judge gave the order that no more mining reject could be added to the dump. Nothing much was said about restoring the nullah. You will see how this is significant.

The farmers asked their lawyer to get an order for its restoration, but their lawyer told them that there was no need too. It is significant that the lawyer is presently working in the legal department of Sesa Goa. Of the 30 complainants, only two families – the Desais and Sawaikars continue to fight against the monster dump that had destroyed their nullah. What happened to the rest of the complainants? Most of them own trucks and transport ore for Sesa Goa and other mine owners.

No value in the soil of dump
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has a plan to take over all the dumps in Government and forest land, but this 1.7km, 100 mt high dump has no monetary value at all. It has been exhausted of all ore. It is just clay, say the farmers. The reject is mud shorn of all nutrients in which no trees except acacia and scrub can grow. Acacia spells the death knell of forested areas, since the trees are water guzzlers and deplete the groundwater, even while spreading all over a forested area. Many countries have discouraged the planting of acacia trees.

Water scarcity where there was plenty
There was a man named Chari who dug a well just 15 feet deep. In those days, water was available at just 3 metres below the surface of the land. Chari used to supply 15 – 20 trucks of potable water to the mining company to spray water on the surrounding area and roads. Now Chari’s well has dried up and he has to depend on the mining company’s tankers to supply him with drinking water.

SHOCKING CRUELTY what's left of the original nullah

SHOCKING CRUELTY what’s left of the original nullah


The new Sesa Goa made diversion neither carries any water in months. Water is desperately needed.

Reduced to waiting for a mega disaster
The farmers have given a file to the Mining Department, to the Chief Minister, to the Indian Bureau of Mines, to the Forest Department (1.7 km of forest has been buried alive by Sesa Goa and another lush green forested area, see photograph is due for burial soon). But the Forest Department Officials famously stated that they can do nothing about forests in Government lands. Each department of Government refuses to take a decision saying that they have no powers to act against Sesa Goa.

Deputy Collector & SDO, Bicholim Sub-Division has directed the Mamlatdar of Sattari Taluka to carry out the inspection and submit a detailed checklist with plan and photographs. The farmers have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Goa who is also the Minister of Mines to do something about ht illegal dumping of mining rejects in the villages of Vaghurem and Codiem villages. The farmers are happy but not too hopeful that firebrand environment activist Claude Sir (Claude Alvares of Goa Foundation) has taken the trouble to come and see the impending disaster for himself. They know that destruction of fertile lands is inevitable. As will be the choking of the River Mandovi. Only then will the good people of Goa stand up and shout.

(courtesy: Bevinda Collaco &

Goan names: Bendro(parasite), Poko(empty), Bodvo(angel),Kochro(trash),Bokdo(goat), Kolo(fox), kan katro(cut ear)


Land of the Sal Tree: Personality traits also played a part in earning families a

Street names might be alien in Goa, and house numbers hardly
get used.  But family nicknames — literally by the dozen —
are liberally deployed in parts of the State.

A new book on the Bardez village of Saligao lists
six whole pages of nicknames deployed locally —
mostly in Konkani, and bequeathed from father to
son, across the generations.

This centuries old tradition came up because Catholic
converts might have ended up with identical names, and needed
ways to distinguish themselves from each other, suggests Fr
Nascimento J Mascarenhas, the author of ‘Land of the Sal
Tree’, a just-published book on Saligao.

So, households were given nicknames “that reflected either a
peculiar physical characteristic or a personal trait of the
homeowner”.  This led to an abundance of “colourful” family
nicknames, which have also been taken overseas by some who
migrated there.

Some names are unusual — like ‘bot modi’ (broken
toe), ‘kan katro’ (cut ear) or ‘fujao’ (chicken
pox).  Some families got described as ‘caulo’
(crow), ‘goro cul’lo’ (white crab) or ‘cauo cul’lo’
(black crab).

‘Pinglo’ (or, blonde) was the nickname given to a household
with light coloured hair.  Some families got nicknamed after
animals, birds and fish “presumably because of their
perceived resemblance to their non-human counterparts”.

There was the ‘bokdo’ (goat), ‘tal’lo’ (sardine), ‘combo’
(rooster), ‘bebo’ (toad), ‘manko’ (frog), ‘dukor’ (pig),
‘kolo’ (fox), ‘vagio’ (tiger) and ‘soso’ (rabbit).

Personality traits also played a part in earning families a
nickname.  Such as ‘Sourac’ (hot curry), ‘Saibin’ (Blessed
Virgin), ‘Godgoddo’ (thunder) and ‘Kochro’ (trash).

“The deportment of some villagers didn’t go unnoticed either.
There was ‘Dando’ (rod), ‘Raza’ (king), ‘Girgiro’
(propeller), ‘Bodvo’ (angel) and ‘Devchar’ (devil),” notes
the book.

Villagers got named after the work they were
involved in — as hatters (Chepekan), florists
(Fulkar or Fulkarn), lawyers (delegad), evil-eye
removers (dishtikan), ginger-man (alekar),
candlemakers (menkar), coconut climbers (madkar),
among others.

Then, there was Munkoto (firewood), labelled thus because an
ancestor used a piece of firewood to chase away kids whose
game of marbles disturbed his siesta.  There were also some
inexplicable names like Bendro (parasite), Poko (empty) and
Porque (‘why’ in Portuguese).

“A few other nicknames wouldn’t be appropriate to
use in a family-oriented publication.  But they
were used quite freely, and without malice, by
villagers,” says the book.  It adds that a nickname
was never viewed with derision, but instead was a
prized symbol of a family’s recognition and
acceptance as an entrenched member of the village

The book also describes a range of Saligao village issues of
yesteryears, among which are some quaint and rustic
traditions, customs, folklore and even superstition.


Discuss these and other Goan issues by posting your comments

Mopa (Goa) airport is a scam to eliminate Goa – Late Tourism Minister Mathany Saldanha

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Cortalim (Goa) Alina Saldanha, wife of Former Tourism Minister of Goa Late Matanhy Saldanha,  has publicly categorically stated that her late husband
Matanhy was not for or against Mopa Airport.

Former Tourism Minister of Goa Late Matanhy Saldanha wrote in 2008 :

It is now very clear why many politicians and vested interest want the Mopa
airport. Many who are demanding for Mopa airport are ignorant or pretend to
be ignorant, that Goa is going to lose its identity since the builders are
going to build only for migrants from other states. Imagine how much land
is already sold to fly by night vested interest in Pernem alone. Similar is
the case throughout Goa. Read the below report: (Gomantak Times, 30th
August, 2008)

Hill cutting after purchasing land at cheap rates by non Goan builders is
rampant in Pernem taluka. Presently, hill locks in Mandrem, Chopdem and
Korgao are flattened and if this continues there is every possibility of
permanent damage to the forest covering in the taluka.
According to information available, builders brought large tracks of
thickly vegetated land in Pernem during the period from April 2006 and June
This includes 8.16 lakh sq mts of area by Mangala Realtors Pvt Ltd, Vasco
in Alorna, 4.61 lakh sq mts by J M Township, 4.38 sq mts by M/s Christian
Farm Land (India) Pvt Ltd from Bangalore, 3.05 lakh sq mts by M/s N E
Electronics Ltd, Guwahati- Assam, 2.5 lakh sq mts by Leading Hotels Pvt
Ltd, Delhi, 2.57 lakh sq mts by M/s Wide Properties, Panaji, 2.44 lakh sq
mts by Beside Realty Pvt Lmt, Mumbai and two plots of 2.27 lakh  and 2.13
lakh sq mts by Enterprises Value Investment (India) Pvt Ltd company,
Similarly Amrapali Realtor, Delhi (25,587 sq mts), Padmashil Fine West Pvt.
Ltd, Parel (15,980 sq. mts), Messers Rajan Hatiskar, Thane, Maharastra
(108, 842 sq. mts), Pushpalata Samant, Dadar Mumbai (1.1 lakh sq. mts) and
M/s Prasanna Developers (1.16 lakh sq. mts) have also brought land during
this period. Residents fear, the forest areas may completely vanish, due to
the proposed Mopa airport, tourism business and other demand for land in
Pernem taluka.
Goa is already saturated. With further profit ridden development, by
builders, real estate agents and some unscrupulous elected representatives,
Goa soon will make all Goans not only a minority, but strangers in their
own land. Do we want this?
Demand for Special Status, to stop sale and transfer of land to
individuals, companies from other states.
Goans and all others who love Goa, irrespective of religion, caste, region
or political affiliations, UNITE to stop Goa from being eliminated.

Matanhy Saldanha
(Former Tourism Minister)

India’s best library now in Goa


The 180-year old central library of Goa, now named after Konkani literature of 16th century Krishnadas Shama, is just not a new five-storied building but reflects a new philosophical outlook with hi-tech facilities.

The new library complex, which was inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Parrikar on 23 April, is perhaps the best library complex in India at this stage.

Designed by nationally renowned Goan architect Gerard D’Cunha, the building also has a sixth mezzanine floor dedicated to rare Portuguese books while its ground and underground floor houses Directorate of Art & Culture.

The most fascinating among all the features of this central library are the new modern facilities, making the job easy and comfortable.

Its censor-fitted doors simply do not allow anybody to take out any book, DVD or any other material without registering in the fully computerized system. The beep at the door simply embarrasses you.

The books are not delivered at the counter but at the self check-in and check-out kiosks which accept it electronically.

The library even has one such electronic drop box in the open lounge, where any member can drop the book even at odd hours, even when the library is closed.

Carlos Fernandes, the curator, says the book drop facility would also be made available at all its 145 libraries spread in the nook and corner of Goa; no need to come to Panaji to deliver it.

In fact the future plan is to network all the libraries so that book searching would be facilitated at village level rather than making special trip to the capital city just to find out whether it’s available in Panaji or any other library.

Equally fascinating is the ‘book lift’, through which any book could travel from any floor to the member after surfing through the intranet facility made available on computers on all the five floors.

Over 1.68 lakh books, including 236 brail books as well as 2746 e-journals and 1590 DVDs, are available for lending or references. But not a single cupboard is above the human height, making it fully airy and comfortable to move around.

In fact each floor has tables with chairs and even sofas on both sides at the glass walls to read and even discuss while viewing the Rua de Ourem creek as well as the mangroves.

The children’s section on the second floor in fact is the most thrilling experience, which even Parrikar felt like spending time at. The cupboards are colourful and the books are cuddled by teddy bears of different sizes.

There are 12 computers available for browsing and five television sets for viewing movies including 3D movies.

Adjoining this section is a 96-sitter AV room-cum-story telling room, even with a green room for dressing up and make up.

World’s biggest 105-inch television set is installed in this ‘dream room’ to watch even 3D films for 100 kids at a time.

Internet browsing however is just not the privilege of children. It has 51 PCs on the same floor exclusively for browsing while each floor also has PCs for other references.

Research is one area the central library has sincerely focused upon, with a treasure of 29,044 reference books, old newspapers and magazines, 461 microfilms as well as the whole world made available through internet surfing, besides laptop-connecting facility.

“We have made nine special cubicles available, including four closed-door rooms with internet and storing facility available, for research scholars on hire-out basis”, proudly says Prasad Lolayekar, the director of art & culture.

In addition, hi-tech machines are being hired for data imaging of any reference book as well as to print any rare book.

The special state of the art printing machine would compile the whole book, print it and provide a bound copy within no time, provided you pay for it.

Also it has a lecture hall with a hi-tech white board as well as a projector, with a sitting capacity of 100, for research activities like seminars, symposiums, lectures, screening and debates.

But the central library is just not for the ‘haves’, but also for the ‘have nots’.

There is a special study room with 13 cubicles, for those who can’t afford to study at home in a peaceful manner.

It includes those living in a congested house as well as those struggling youngsters who work during day time and study at night.

“This section would be open throughout the night for all the needy students”, states Lolayekar, who has meticulously designed the library even for the underprivileged; just not the privileged.

His next target is to make it the best library in the whole of Asia… (courtesy: Frederick Noronha

Old wine in new bottle: Mining is an addiction, Goans will die if stopped says BJP CM Parrikar


Hartman de Souza  Cavorem, Quepem (South Goa) writes in  HARDNEWS (

Look at Goa, where barely thirty to forty kilometres east of the sea, that sacred day was celebrated by virtue of being a Sunday, and for that reason alone, providing respite from all the illegal mining operations, now being given the go-ahead by a BJP government brought to power to ensure that the mining in Goa will continue.

His terse email to the group bears repeating in full:

“Met with Manohar Parrikar and the Attorney General, Sushant Nadkarni yesterday on the Regional Plan. Though they sat through most of it silently, there were a couple of comments from both of them on mining that were disturbing. The SLC had recommended termination of mines in the buffer zone and phasing out of mines in 3 years and providing alternate employment in a proposed industrial belt close to the mining areas.

“Parrikar said mining is like a drug and even though it may be bad, you have to continue it as the people will die otherwise. But he is trying to reduce the amount of ore extracted and in the meantime while a policy is being set he has allowed mine owners to export all the dumps as in any case the damage has been done by extraction. 

There was another, from a Goan woman in the UK, a doting grandmother who was once a regional director with Panos and designed the first State of the Environment report brought out by the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi in the early 80s.

She wrote:

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“My heart sank…I am really disappointed with Parrikar’s level of understanding of mining in Goa and as I keep saying (beginning to sound like a broken record!) he needs to be educated about mining issues. Parrikar needs to hear our voices and opinions on the mining issue.

“To say the mining is like a drug and must continue , shows his limitations and lack of relevant information – who are the “drug addicts” here and what about the victims of that addiction?  Allowing them to sell all the dumps is totally idiotic and shocking; has he forgotten that the dumps need to go back into the pits when they rehabilitate the land? I am really furious and angry about what is going on. Mining is the Bloodline of Goa? Who is he kidding?

“Once again I plead with you guys to have a meeting with Parrikar and tell him what he needs to know.  As things stand he has an excuse of being misinformed, as the only information he gets is from the mining lobby. The least we can do is demand a meeting with him and tell him a couple of truths about mining.

“I feel like taking the next flight to Goa and confronting Parrikar myself!”

From an organization that is swimming in cases filed against the mining companies, came this:

“It appears we will continue to fight because the change in government will only mitigate but not provide a permanent solution. The Attorney General we all know was representing Sesa Goa in the High Court for a couple of years. He has openly defended mining in interviews.

Read full article :

courtesy: Hartman de Souza  & HARDNEWS