Sunday, March 23, 2008

One stroke solution for Mopa and Garbage

One stroke solution for Mopa and Garbage

Tongue in Cheek
By Cecil Pinto

With the Mopa airport and the garbage issue hogging most of the news space I thought of a solution that would keep everyone happy. Specially the newspaper readers, who would prefer photos of that lovely Priyanka Bidye from the Konkani movie "Aleesha", rather than photos of piles of
accumulated garbage. I called a meeting with my friends Deshprabhu,
Churchill, Mickey, Mathany, Willy and Rane to convince them of my idea.

"See my idea is very simple. We let the Mopa airport come up as planned.
The only clause will be that the Government acquires an equal amount of
land at Mopa itself and uses it to for dumping and incinerating garbage."

While Deshprabhu and Rane were still reeling from shock Churchill was quick on the draw, "How will that help my... I mean the hotels in South Goa? Why will tourists come to South Goa when the airport is so far away?"

Jitendra snorted derisively, "Hotels, shmotels! You think tourists come
only to hotels which are close to airports? In that case Bogmalo would be
the most crowded beach in Goa. They go where they have planned to go. You think they care whether it's a half-hour ride or a one-hour ride from the airport?"

Rane joined in, "Indeed yes. The cheaper British charters will keep going
to the Calangute belt, however concretised it may be. The Israelis and
ravers will go to Anjuna from any airport. The rich Russians will go to
Cavelossim. The nirvana seekers to Palolem. The sun worshippers to Morjim. The Indian businessmen to Panjim. "

Mathany interjected, "Yes! The students from Tamil Nadu will keep drowning themselves in Colva and the young Indian lovers will continue committing suicide in Margao."

Churchill raised his voice, "These last people you mentioned don't come by
plane. They come by road or train. Whose side are you on anyway?"

Mathany calmly replied, "I'm in the middle. Even my constituency is in the

Mickey scoffed as he adjusted his bandana, "Yes! We all know how your ship sails with the wind."

Willy decided to use the opportunity, "Talking of ships we also know of
somebody who said that either the River Princess would go or he would. Ha!"

Deshprabhu was quick to jab, "Yes, dotor, we can see how you have been so
quick to solve the problem. Ha!"

By now Rane decided to exercise his authority. But since he seemed to
command none, he just said, "Boys, boys, let's stop this squabbling and
look at the solution". He turned to me and asked, "And won't the stench of
the garbage be a disgusting welcome for the tourists?"

"Well, consider this. Every passenger arriving at Mumbai airport is greeted with a top view of slums and then the stench of the city. And it never stops. At least at Mopa it will be just for a few minutes till they get out of the airport. Half an hour maximum if the custom officers are in an extra greedy mood. Unless of course the tourists are going to Vasco. Where they will get the smell again anyway. Vasco smelt bad even before the garbage problem. But seriously, the garbage dump can be located upwind of the airport. And be covered with a giant pandal. During Parrikar's tenure there were pandals being built for every conceivable occasion. All those pandal contractors now have no work. They will now get employment"

"What about transporting the garbage from all over Goa to Mopa. Have you calculated the costs involved?", asked Churchill, "You think we are going to use bullock carts to transport the garbage?

Mickey whispered in Churchill's ear, "Talking of bulls, just remember to
phone me later."

I decided to pursue the matter further, "Maybe we could use tourist taxi
cabs to transport the garbage?"

Everyone looked at me aghast.

"Well they have been transporting English charter trash for so many years
anyway. Ha! But jokes aside. See there are much too many tourist taxi vans
around. Specially in South Goa where they're terrorising the tourists and
hotels and forcing them to rent their vans. Can't blame them as they have
taken bank loans and have dreams of building RCC bungalows from their taxi earnings. That's never going to happen. So at least transporting garbage will give them a steady income. And once they get absorbed as permanent Government servants they can go back to their old ways. Have countless teas, play cards, gossip and not do diligently what they are paid to do - like most other lower level government servants."

Mickey had an idea, "And maybe we can even use that grand Skybus or
Monorail or whatever to transport garbage too?"

Deshprabhu, who had been pensive for a while asked, "Forget everything
else. Will the landowner, sorry landowners, in the area be adequately
compensated for their land being acquired for a garbage dump?"

I hesitated, "I had not thought of that but I see no problem. Why should
they be given anything less than the airport landowners?"

Jitendra beamed, "Then I see absolutely no reason why we should not go
ahead and..."

Rane broke in, "Maybe we could sell excess garbage dumping capacity to

Now it was Willy's turn to beam, "I sold excess electricity once. I know
how to work out the deal."

The South Block seemed to be at a loss. But Mathany spoke up, "I will lead
an agitation of farmers who will be affected by this plan. I've not led an
agitation for such a long time that I'm getting bored."

"But there are no farmers in Mopa", wailed Deshprabhu.

"I'm talking about poultry farmers who use the garbage and manure for their fields. What will they do if you're taking it all to Mopa?", said Mathany.

"He has a point there" said Rane, "I think poultry farmers have to equally
compensated for loss of garbage."

Mickey butted in, "Talking of framers, what about farmers who rear bulls
for animal performances? How are they being compensated?"

Rane replied, "We are thinking of a pension plan for bull owners. Depending on how many years they have been doing this illegal activity. More years - bigger pension. So we are encouraging old bull owners to retire from bull fighting and making way for new blood. If you can't buy them off at least pension them off!"

Mathany enqured, "What about our people flying in from the Gulf? Why should they be inconvenienced?".

"Huh?", said Wilfred, "And for so many years our Gulfees from Bardez had to travel all the way from Dabolim. That time nobody complained? Anyway I suggest that the Dabolim airport be used exclusively for Shipees and Gulfees. And the state will provide a free taxi service for them. They bring in more money than tourism anyway. And we do absolutely nothing for them."

"Why are we speaking in English?", asked Churchill.

"Because this is an English magazine!", answered Deshprabhu.

"I don't care. I'm going to speak in Konkani", roared Churchill.

"But in what script?", asked Mathany.

"I always speak Konkani in Roman script", said Mickey.

Rane muttered something in Konkani. It is not printable here. Not because
it was not fit to print, but because he said it in the Devnagri script and
I can only type in Roman script on this keyboard.

(Please note that all names used above are fictitious and if there are
people with similar names it is purely coincidental. Except of course for
Priyanka Bidye!)

The column above appeared in the October 2005 issue of Goa Today magazine.

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