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

Claude Alvares ko gussa kyo nahi aata !!!

Goa’s star resort Cidade-de-Goa vs. Goa Foundation – ‘Batting’ for 20 years (& counting)

Axe Hanging on Goa’s pride Cidade De Goa Resort & Spa

Dr. Claude Alvares, Director Goa Foundation: This is not a fight for environment between me and Cidade.

Dr. Claude Alvares, Director Goa Foundation: This is not a fight for environment between me and Cidade.

Journalist, Author, Academician, and Environmental Activist Dr. Claude Alvares from Goa is one soul never satisfied. An activist who really bites Dr. Claude has been chasing a five (or seven) star holiday resort in Goa since a couple of decades now and yet not quenched. He has bitten the hotel promoters on their (unabated) mining front as well.

Cidade-de-Goa, a starred hotel owned by one of the many influential (read controversial) miners and a local cable news channel, is built in such a manner on the Vainguinim Beach that from every room you can step onto the beach.  Now this particular patch where lies the picturesque suites of the hotel may not at all be affected, if it has to demolish all the existing structures coming in this 4000 disputed area.

So, where lies the problem? Is it the unshakable ego which is encouraging the influential philanthropist miner to deny the people of Goa to access the beach or is it that, beneath the disputed property lies a gold mine, which Dr. Nandakumar Kamat, another globally renowned environmentalist,  speculates to be in abundance in North (especially in & around this hotel) Goa??

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None of the successive governments have gathered enough political will to act in this matter as this hotel serves all equally well irrespective of any party affiliations or nationality. If news reports are to be believed, many suites in this hotel have hosted thousands of coup attempts, intra-party or otherwise, government formation negotiations, witnessed many receptions in the honor of visiting delegates of all political parties, their leaders, other influential global citizens and government functionaries of  India and the world.

If the Supreme court judgement goes in favour of Goa Foundation, will the beach front property of the hotel will have to be demolish or just some part of the back-office?

Claude says:

If the Supreme Court rules in favour of the petitioner, only 1000 area comprising of the administrative block ( backoffice of the hotel)  will have to be cleared for the public to access the beach, but since a building is constructed on the disputed portion around 4000 sq.mts. Floor Space  will be down the earth.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Manohar Parrikar and Parivar had in past objected to the amendment rushed by the then Congress Govt. to undo the Supreme Court Judgement to demolish all that come in this 4000 sq.mts.  His senior party colleagues read long studied paper in the Goa Legislative Assembly about the hotel dispute. Now, the whole “company” is in power in Goa and can again rake up this issue  in public interest, but they would have to do this at the risk of damaging their friendship with the captain of the hospitality industry in Goa.  Claude is still hopeful, as the axe still hangs on the opposite head.

When contacted Claude about his Cidade de Goa pursuit, upset but hopeful about the whole affair, he said:

“ It will be difficult & embarrassing  for the Manohar Parrikar govt (even if he wants to favour Cidade de Goa), again to resort  to one more amendment to restore the disputed portion of the hotel after the forthcoming outcome of the Supreme Court case.  Nevertheless, Goa Foundation ( Claude is a Director) will take this case to its logical end in public interest.

This is not a fight for environment between me and Cidade. Many people critical of Cidade are also involved. Many people fought to get the access to the beach restored: we (Goa Foundation) only represented their case. I do not like things personalised.”

Recently Claude Alvares reminded everybody once more about the whole episode by posting the details of the dispute on his facebook page. He wrote:

“ Remember the Cidade de Goa case? We fought the case for ten years in the Bombay High Court, won, then fought the appeal for another ten years in the Supreme Court and won. The High Court and Supreme Court both insisted that the public pathway to the beach would remain forever open. That we have now got. But the Courts also asked the owners to demolish some 4000 sq.mts of hotel premises built illegally. Government of Goa (whore) rushed an amendment act in the assembly and undid the SC judgement. So we inaugurated a fresh run of litigation. The SC was to hear the matter on 17.4.2011. Went to Delhi. Came back with nothing since the case came up before another bench which said it should go back to Justice Singhvi’s bench in July.”

His sister Angeli Alvares, a bird lover and a communication specialist with the UN, consols her brother  by

 Let it be Claude…With so much poverty in our country, it seems too wasteful to demolish 4000 sq mts of a hotel and they’ve been settled in for so long. Nearly everyone in Goa has some illegal sections to their house…..better if you ask for a fine amount and use it for saving the environment or getting some of the trash all around Goa removed!The politicians all go to Cidade to have free drinks on the house and so you’ll be wasting your precious time against this convivial wall.”

Joel Morais, a friend comments:

That’s real INDIA. Jai Hind.  Let us get set ourselves to celebrate another anniversary of India’s Freedom.”

Paganini Fernandes, a social activists in Goa says,

We are famous for this phenomenon. Allowing an illegality to happen, it takes long and then that becomes entrenched or takes root. The humanitarian aspect is focused, how to displace people and the government afford to accommodate, and so many lives depending on that illegality. But in this particular case, does it not amount to a clash with the judicial process? Does that amount to a contempt of the SC? A layman would say carry out the directions of the court and then amend whatever you have to amend…finally which is the supreme authority? Probably something on those lines will also happen.

Kumar Kalanand Mani, owner of a Gandhian NGO “Peaceful Society”, also sympathies with Claude. He comments,

 Justice delayed, justice denied. So painful.

Confident of the outcome and consequences of the court dispute in this regard, Jos Peter D’Souza another friend passes an interesting but rational comment:

 Hey Claude, I remember the day of the SC judgment ordering the demolition. I was in the HC bar room with Norma (your better half). I also remember telling her that morning not to celebrate, nothing is going to come down. Though, frankly, I was expecting a famous ‘review’ petition.”

David Hogg, CSO of Naandhi Foundation, extends his moral support. He says:

I think you need to keep persistent pressure and never give up. I recall loudspeakers in kodaikanal where even when CPAK won a HC order the church, in collusion with the mosque, kept violating the law. But new more enlightened police officials got posted and conespeakers were banned. The situation now is vastly improved. Dogged persistence pays…That said demolition is tough even with court orders – the Hotel Pleasant Stay of Jlalitha fame still stands, degrading, uninhabited but undemolished…



Victory in Goa, Party in Mumbai !! What’s cooking Mr.CM !!??!!

Dinner Extravaganza: Parrikar's (BJP Goa's) Victory celebrated in Mumbai !?! What's cooking, Mr.CM???