Tuesday 05 December 2023

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Politics | Assembly '02

UGDP opposes beach & school privatisation


Demanding a common minimum programme for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition, the United Goans Democratic Party has expressed reservations over the BJP government's crucial policy decisions like beach or school privatisation.

Both the UGDP ministers, the third legislator who has remained out of power and the party leaders today submitted a 16-point programme to chief minister Manohar Parrikar, to be inserted in the common minimum programme.

Addressing a press conference later, UGDP senior vice president Radharao Gracias also said they had demanded a co-ordination committee of all the three parties - the BJP, the UGDP and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party - to run the coalition.

All the three coalition partners are expected to sit and finalise the modalities in this regard after the three-day Assembly session, beginning from 12 June.

Gracias however asserted that the UGDP will continue supporting the coalition, to keep the Congress away from power, while they do not mind keeping aside certain issues where there is a clash.

The major issue among it is the erstwhile BJP government's controversial decision to close down around 50 government primary schools and then handing over its buildings to RSS-sponsored private organisations to run private schools.

The UGDP has demanded to revert the schools back to the government and re-tender it in an open and transparent manner, if necessary.

The UGDP has also demanded that no common and natural heritage like the beaches, forest cover, lake or waterfall be privatised. The erstwhile BJP government's decision to hand over management of Miramar beach in Panaji had come under fire and the state had to then scrap it as suggested by the one-man commission, after public hearing.

While Parrikar's BJP government had also come under criticism for favouring the majority community in crucial recruitment in the police and revenue sectors, the UGDP has demanded equal representation to all the communities, on merit.

Referring indirectly to Goa's historical language controversy, the UGDP has demanded to maintain the status quo, which states that Konkani is the sole official language of the state while Marathi is used only for the official purposes. The BJP is still of the view that Marathi be granted equal status.

Unlike the decision of the erstwhile coalition government of the BJP and the Congress splinter group formed in 2000, the UGDP has demanded total ban on fishing from 10 June to 15 August. The mechanised fishing boat lobby had opposed it earlier.

Other major demands made by the UGDP are 80 per cent jobs to locals in all categories of industries, no licence to polluting industries, declaring agriculture as the industry, increasing BPL level proportionate to Goa's cost of living and upgrading existing Dabolim air port to international standards.

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