By Adelmo Fernandes
Recently Goa won the Best Small State award for citizens’ security at the IBN Diamond State Award presentation ceremony, organised by IBN7- Outlook. Ironically, this award has come at a time when the state has seen a spate of robberies. Houses in Benaulim, Nuvem, Colva and Margao have been burgled. The worst-hit were the jewellery shops in the commercial capital. A jeweller was even waylaid and robbed of valuables and cash. Then there was the bomb blast in Margao which, because of divine intervention, did not end in a major cataclysm, though it had the potential of causing damage of catastrophic proportions.
As a matter of fact, it was reported that Goa won six of the eight awards up for grabs. These included awards in the category of health care and environment among others. It was reported that at Cansaulim patients were advised not to stay in the hospital at night because the toilets were not functioning. As regards the environment, the Goa Government seems unable to find a solution to the garbage problem which is raising a stink.
This brings us to a very important question. How did Goa get these awards? Well, my guess is as good as yours. This was probably possible because there was absolutely no competition in the small state category. By the way, how many states fall in this bracket? Was Goa the only state in this category? Probably.
Be that as it may, Goa should not lose heart, given that an international figure also got an award which many felt was one award too big, too early. US President Barack Hussein Obama won the Nobel Prize for Peace for the year 2009. This startled not only the world but Obama himself.
But there is a positive side to winning awards you do not deserve. The award lays down a standard which the recipient will be forced to live up to. So the Goa Government will have to pull up its socks as far as citizens’ security, health care, environment, etc, is concerned. Whether those in power will do it is the multi-billion-rupee question.
Awards are always welcome. An award could be in cash or by way of a trophy. This is invariably accompanied by a certificate. Many may consider a certificate more important than the award itself. Armed with a certificate of excellence, it always easier to get that that prestigious job placement. We have been receiving awards right from our school days, be it in academics or sports. It is a prestigious thing to win an award. Many homes display the awards their children have won in the showcase in the living room. Awards are not meant to be kept hidden. There are meant for people to see. The print and the electronic media has joined in the bandwagon by announcing awards in various fields. We have awards in the field of entertainment, science and technology, and business among others.
But then, like everything else in life, there is a darker side to awards. Choosing a deserving candidate can be very tricky. Several factors could have an influence while choosing a candidate. Having godfathers in the right places can help in ‘achieving’ an award. Money power also plays an important role. It could be said that some awards come with a price tag. In such a situation, undeserving candidates hog the limelight, while deserving candidates are left to lick their wounds.
Here are some awards which the state of Goa would well deserve:
1. An award for the politically most unstable state in the country. We have lost count of how many Chief Ministers we have had over the past decade. Politics in our civic bodies is a game of merry-go-round (more the merrier) as there is rotation of chairpersons after every six months. Even then a chairperson could be shown the door even before his six months in office are over.
2. Goa is a deserving candidate for road infrastructure. Our roads can at best be described as more of dirt and less of road.
3. Goa could well get an award for building bridges which do not last for more than a decade.
I’d better stop here, as the list seems endless.