Goa News Clips
by Joel D'Souza & Fred Noronha
The water shortage: In recent years the government has initiated umpteen schemes to augment the water supply, to tide over the perennial water shortage. However, due to increased urbanization and other factors, Goans have not been able to receive adequate water supply, and the water shortage could not have been more acute than this year for man, animal and plants. The acute shortage faced by the Opa Water Works has compelled the government to implement a scheme to pump water from the Selaulim irrigation project into the Kalay river. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar assures us that the water works taken up presently, to the tune of Rs.47 crore, will augment the water resources within the next two years.
Advent of the monsoons
Goa generally gets the first taste of the rains with the pre-monsoon showers in April and May, followed by the full blast of the monsoons by the second week of June. For the 2003 monsoon to show up and relieve us of the sweltering heat, we had to wait until June 10. But even two days later Goa has not witnessed the expected, heavy downpour despite all the thunder and lightning, (particularly in the early hours of June 12). Faced with dried up wells and PWD taps, people in several areas in Goa have to rely entirely on PWD water supplied through tankers. The earlier the proper showers ensue, the better if would be for all, the agriculturist included. According to K V Singh, Meteorologist, Government of India, if the trend observed over the last couple of years persists, Goa will once again experience below normal rainfall.
Back to school
Many of them wearing smart, new uniforms the students of about 1,267 primary schools, 443 middle schools and 367 secondary schools in Goa resumed their daily chore on June 9, after a long, 43-day summer break. There were rumours that the re-opening date for schools would be postponed due to the delayed monsoons. But this did not happen. The school student community (from Class I to X) in Goa is nearly 2.30 lakh strong.
In all, 10,257 students were successful in clearing the SSC exams of March-April 2003, registering a pass percentage of 61.99 percent. Of late, the girls seem to be consistently recording a higher pass percentage than boys. This year their pass percentage was 59.35 while the percentage for boys was 54.87 per cent. Failure in SSC exams virtually mean failure in life for several children, some of whom even resort to suicide unable to face their parents and peers. This year, however, there have been no such reports so far. In most of the rural schools, there were murmurs that the students scored very low marks in English. Nowadays, however, getting through the exams is not enough if one does not score a sufficiently high percentage. One report says that the cut-off percentage for admission to the science stream today stands at 84 per cent at Margao Shree Damodar Higher Secondary School of Science.
Film Festival Centre
The latest in the happy series of good news for Goa is the decision of the Central government to locate permanently the International Film Festival of India centre in the State. The project, according to the Tourism Director, N Suryanarayan, will help boost tourism in Goa in a big way. He said that Goa will also get the much-needed infrastructure like high quality modern cinema theatres, a convention centre, etc, which will make it possible for Goa to host mega national or international events. Goa already has the credit of hosting 706 conferences/meetings/conventions including some international ones in the year 2002. Besides more domestic and international tourists Goa will henceforth also attract businessmen, film-makers, producers and other professionals. If all goes well, the emergence of a film city in Goa may not be far off, according to Suryanarayana.