Wednesday 17 April 2024

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Goa to have hi-tech Assembly complex

 

Goa's new Assembly complex, built on a hilltop on the banks of river Mandovi, would be yet another attraction for the tourists now, not simply because of its location but also due to the most modern hi-tech digital equipment being used there.

The prestigious project worth Rs 34 crore, which is likely to be inaugurated by second week of February 2000 at the hands of President of India, is designed to function with a mere pushing of the buttons on the desk, whether it be voting or moving amendments.

"It is an Assembly for the 21st century", says proudly Pratapsing Rane, the speaker. He visualises no problem in handling the hi-tech equipment as seldom any uneducated MLA gets elected to the Goa Assembly who is not familiar with such technology.

All the legislators, right from veterans like 72-year old Dr Wilfred de Souza to the young newcomer like Prabhakar Gaonkar, are thrilled as they have to presently sit in a crammed-up space, situated in the historical Adilshah Palace which also includes the state government's secretariat, with three MLAs sharing one bench in a tiny hall. "It is definitely much more fabulous than even the Parliament hall", says Ramakant Khalap, former union law minister, who is now back in the Assembly here. All 40 legislators have an independent desk with a rolling chair, distanced at around one metre from each other.

The Digital Congress Network displayed on every desk would make the proceedings very easy. Like in the Parliament, you need not use two hands for one vote. Mere light push of a button can caste your vote for Yes, No or Abstain. Besides the large screen behind the speaker's chair, it would also be shown on the display board of each desk.

Rane is now also planning a system which would show the original clause as well as the amendments of a bill on two different screens while the voting results would also be shown deskwise, with names displayed on the board, simplifying the method of division voting without head count.

The DCN also consists of arrangement for simultaneous interpretation in three languages and also the public address system. After the incident in the UP Assembly hall of hurling microphones, Goa has brought 'unremovable' microphones which may not injure even if one manages to remove and throw it at anybody.

With almost six visitors' galleries at his disposal including the VIP gallery for altogether 300 persons, Rane plans to categorise them for the people from the fields of industry to NGOs and welfare organisations. "I want to make it a real participatory kind of government", he states.

The video archival system with six cameras would also help reaching its live proceedings anywhere in the world. In fact the main Assembly hall is equipped with over 400 different kind of lights, from spot lights and chandeliers to halogens and metal halides for the black and white as well as colour transmission.

Rane has already instructed the Legislature Secretariat to make arrangements for immediately putting the Assembly debates on the CDs while also designing the huge library hall in a different manner. With ISDN installed at the complex, he is also exploring the possibility of introducing video conferencing facility.

Spacious chambers are not only provided for the speaker, deputy speaker, chief minister and the opposition leader, but it also includes the deputy chief minister and 14 other ministers. Goa would have thus no problem in having a jumbo cabinet of 40 per cent legislators while 27 more offices are also being built for the MLAs.

Cyber café would be yet another speciality of this hi-tech Assembly complex besides two separate press rooms, printing press, gymkhana, health centre, post office and even air and rail booking counters.

In fact Rane plans to hire it out also for big conventions to corporate houses when Assembly is not in session. "It would help us in generating revenue since its per-day maintenance cost goes above Rs 40,000", he observes.

No doubt Goa is running with the pace of technological advancement as far as the material needs of the Indian democracy are concerned. But by having 12 chief ministers in merely nine years in the most unstable state, one wonders whether the democratic functioning would also have a smooth sailing in the tourist state.


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