Panaji, Mar 9 (IBNS) The people of Goa desperately needed a change from a series of scams the ruling combine Congress-NCP-MGP had allegedly committed on the public exchequer for about seven years, until the last assembly election saw a changing of the guard.
Goans on March 3, 2012 walked to the polling station in large numbers recording a turn out of 81.43 percent, first ever in the history of polling in the State.
The change was welcomed with euphoria and hope as on the counting day on March 6, BJP swept to power becoming the single largest party by winning 21 seats. The Congress was left red-faced with only 9 seats in their favour.
BJP-MGP combine staked its claim in the 40-member Legislative Assembly and formed the government. The first cabinet was formed on March 9, exactly a year back.
Manohar Parrikar government's first birthday has been full of challenges which he says has been spent clearing the mess of the past ruling and fulfilling BJP's election promises to the people.
The work began with the closure of state's largest revenue generating industry ~ mining resulting in recession.
The temporary ban imposed by the state government in September 2012 was based on Justice Shah Commission's report exposing illegalities and irregularities to the tune of Rs 35,000 crores.
The state plunged into deeper crisis when the central ministry suspended environmental clearances of all mining leases.
Subsequently, a Goa based green NGO filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking that massive revenue loss to the state be probed.
The government has conceded that state's treasury suffered Rs 800 crores loss due to mining closure; however, stamp duty collection has generated revenue of around Rs 148 crores so far.
The total number of people affected by mining closure has been close to Rs 3.5 lakh.
Mining overpowered finalization of a fresh Regional Plan 2021. In its manifesto, BJP had promised to formulate eco-friendly RP keeping in mind Goa's identity and scrapping the controversial RP 2021 notified by the earlier government.
The third issue is the failure of law and order. Parrikar's high expectations from the Goa police, also as home minister, shattered even as the department is tangled in several scandals including sexually exploiting prostitutes.
While attempts to sanitize the department have not borne fruits, crimes like rape, murder, theft cases shot up.
The alleged rape of an underage student in the school premises created flutters in the state questioning the safety of minors even in the schools. The rapist is still at large even after two months of the incident.
Parrikar's own party admitting 'continuing corruption' in the present ruling has baffled the government. BJP State Executive Committee has said that bitterness among the people was due to corruption, and resolved to crack down on the ill doers.
The chief minister has expressed confidence to prove himself in the second year while labeling his initial performance as "satisfactory".
"There were certain issues in the first year which did not go as per my liking like the mining ban which created bottlenecks for me. But I am sure, the corrupt congressmen involved in the mess will be brought to book," Parrikar said.
The ruling coalition has already begun filing corruption complaints against former ministers and bureaucrats. Illegal allotments of plots, PWD tender scam are few among many cases lodged at various related investigating agencies.
People have also seen the brighter side during the last year with the hike in the Dayanand Social Security pension from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000, monthly honorarium of Rs 1,000 to housewives.
The most expensive election promise was the Ladli Laxmi scheme which gives women Rs 1 lakh for wedding expenses. The implementation was delayed but Parrikar says he kept his promise.
The government has not shied away from openly criticizing the Centre on certain issues like the non cooperative attitude of the Centre in solving the mining crisis.
(Reporting by John Edwards)