PANJIM: Till what class has Churchill Alemao studied to know about ageing and senility, asked former chief minister Wilfred de Souza on Thursday, in response to media reports quoting the PWD minister as calling him senile.
Addressing a press conference to give a point-by-point rebuttal of Alemao's charges against him in Margao on Wednesday, de Souza said that if being above 80 is senile, then what about the prime minister of India and senior BJP leader L K Advani.
Alemao reportedly called de Souza senile in response to his charges that Alemao was responsible for the medium of instruction fiasco in Goa because he had sided with Shashikala Kakodkar in 1990 in denying grants to English medium schools. De Souza was the then opposition leader and had proposed grants to English medium schools, but Alemao, who had deserted the Congress government and supported the MGP to form the PDF government, had opposed the move.
Stating that age does not count for being in politics, de Souza insisted that being a man of medicine, he is "better qualified to speak on these things".
He shot down Alemao's justification that he had sided with Konkani because the Diocesan society wanted it. Showing copies of the assembly debates of July 1990, de Souza said that all along in his entire speech, Alemao had said, "We have decided not to give grants to English medium schools", "We have done this" and "We have done that". De Souza said the "we" referred to Churchill Alemao and Shashikala Kakodkar and nowhere, did Alemao refer to the Diocesan Society. "Now suddenly, he (Alemao) wakes up and puts the blame on the Diocesan society," de Souza said.
The former chief minister said Alemao had spoken only one truth-that he (de Souza) had asked Alemao not to undertake the repairs of the Saligao market. De Souza said he had drawn up plans to build a brand-new market in Saligao at the cost of 90 lakh through well-known architects Dean D'Cruz and Tulio De Souza. These plans had been forwarded with the chief minister's approval to the Goa state infrastructure development corporation (GSIDC) and the corporation was pursuing the matter. "I wanted to avoid duplication of work. But I know why Churchill Alemao wants to repair the market through the district rural development authority (DRDA). That is because he will not get anything if the project is done through the GSIDC. He will certainly get something if it is done through the DRDA because that department is under him," de Souza said.
The former Saligao MLA insisted that the government should give grants to English medium primary schools in Goa. He said it is not a matter of whether one group wants it and another group does not. "It is purely a question of law. One is the Goa official Language Act, which states that the government cannot discriminate in giving grants to educational institutions only on the basis of language. The other is the central Right To Education (RTE) Act which says that children should be given free and compulsory education. Most children in Goa have to pay for education because they go to English medium schools. This violates the RTE Act," de Souza.
When asked about the fear of some that giving grants to English medium schools would wipe out Konkani, de Souza said, "For 451 years, the Portuguese ruled Goa. They allowed Marathi schools and English schools, but never allowed even a single Konkani school. But Konkani was never wiped out because it is in the blood of Goans."


Anand Desai Mopa said...

Will the illiterate understand your questions?

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