Bigger than IT was Parrikar's ego

By Ramakant Khalap
30 January 2010 11:32 IST

"Indian Talent in particular and Information Technology in general are going to catapult India to the Super Power status in the near future". This is the prophecy of Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, India's foremost scientist, who is also a proud Goan. Born in Mashel or Marcel in Ponda Taluka in penury, Dr Mashelkar rose to dizzy heights in Science through hard work, integrity, honesty and commitment to lofty ideals. He was recently in Goa and spoke on the topic "Shaping India's Future through Indian Talent" as a part of the Silver jubilee Lecture series being organized by the Goa University.

My association with Dr Mashelkar is about two-decade old. At my request, he had accepted the mantle of Chairmanship of The Info Tech Council of Goa in the year 2000, when I was the first Minister for IT in Goa. Dr Mashelkar roped in stalwarts in the Information Technology field as members of the Goa Info Tech Council. These included the likes of Mr K. Narayan Murthy of Infosys, Mr Rajendra Powar of NIIT, Dr Vijay Bhatkar ( Param Computer fame) of C-DAC, Prof. Inderesan of IIT Kanpur, Mr Devang Mehta of NASSCOM, the former  Director General of National Informatics Center etc.

These gentlemen prepared the roadmap for Goa's IT revolution. Based on their advice, I prepared a Five-point IT programme. I called it PANCHASHEEL of IT. The Panchasheel included (1) E-education, (2) E-governance, (3) E-enabled IT services, (4) E- habitats and cyber city and (5) ICE or Information, Communication and Entertainment hub.

System Requirement Studies (SRS) of all Government departments were required to be done as a prelude to e-governance. Mr. Manohar Parrikar, who was then the Chief Minister of Goa, recommended a firm called Gartner of America for preparation of SRS reports. This firm was represented by a gentleman called Rajyadhyaksha, reportedly a distant relative of Mr Parrikar. Gartner' quote to prepare SRS reports of Government Departments (about 84 in all) was in the range of Rs 2 to 5 crore per department. The total was about Rs 250 to 350 crore. Mr Parrikar was prepared to spend this huge amount on the spacious plea that Gartner is a world renowned company and would do a great job.

I refused and instead requested Mr Chandra Babu Naidu, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh to help me prepare SRS reports. He sent a team of about 35 IT engineers and consultants. Dr Vijay Bhatkar pooled in another team of about 30 consultants through C-DAC. Together they did the job in about 3 months at a total cost not exceeding Rs 70 lakh. This perhaps hurt Mr Parrikar's ego. He shelved the SRS reports and also wound up the Info Tech Council headed by such an eminent person as Dr R. A. Mashelkar.

Mr Parrikar also succeeded in shunting me out of the next Goa Assembly with active support from my detractors in my party, the Congress. Even after I was out of the Assembly, Mr Parrikar could have implemented the IT programme and claimed the entire credit for it . But what followed is a saga of corruption of Himalayan proportions. Instead of creating "smart e-schools', Mr Parrikar doled out expensive but poor quality computers to individual school students. For this, he accepted the highest bid of around Rs 20 crore from his trusted lieutenant, one Mr Nilesh Amonkar, against the much lower bids of world renowned e-education providers like Tata's and NIIT of Rajendra Powar.

He also torpedoed the Cyber City project at Mandrem by setting up his MLA from Mandrem Mr Laxmikant Parsekar, a Science graduate and Headmaster of a local School, who thundered that his Constituency prefers traditional vocations to IT. He incited the local villagers to agitate against my Cyber City and Cyber Retreat projects. The Mandrem plateau has now been sold out to Real Estate Sharks.

The IT habitat at Dona Paula, developed at a huge cost to the exchequer, was sold by a subsequent Government for Rs 3600 per square meter as against the prevailing price of RS 60,000 to Rs 80,000 per square meter. This habitat, whose foundation stone was laid at the hands of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and was named as "Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat", was vandalized by supporters of the local MLA Mr Babush Monserrate. His goons mercilessly assaulted the Congress Youth wing activists, including my son Ashwin. They were demanding early completion of the IT habitat. This habitat now lies in limbo.

E-governance project was inaugurated at the hands of no less a person than our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Sing. Expensive hardware purchased for this scheme is gathering dust in various Government offices. And that is the end of our tall promises to our educated youth. It would have got jobs in thousands to the people of Goa, whom I had promised the government just with a click of a Computer mouse.

One man's ego cost Goa the entire IT programme. If implemented, it would have put Goa on the world IT map. Goa lost an opportunity to be a part of the Indian Talent pool in Information Technology, which is now poised to catapult India to the status of a Super Economic Power.

Blogger's Profile

Ramakant Khalap

Adv Ramakant Khalap is former Chairman of the Goa State Law Commission. Being a veteran politician of Goa, he has served the political arena as the union law minister as well as Goa’s deputy chief minister and the opposition leader in the past. He also takes keen interest in literature and cultural activities while heading several institutions, especially in the field of Marathi literature.

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Previous Comments

To Sriniwas,

We are waiting for the book with evidences..

By the way, everybody has a right to express their views..

If you call dogs to them who has opposed Bhai..

What will you call those who support Bhai ???

Regards.

- Mandrekar, Mandrem | 22 nd February 2010 11:07

 

To Goa,

I personally feel Bhai should not have written anything on Parrikar. Parrikar is finished. He is yesterday's news. His political life is over and so is his party BJP. There is no way he can come back to power. By next election, BJP will have below 50 MPs and below 10 MLAs in Goa.

May be Bhai wrote this blog to point out historical facts as BJP is already a history. If that is so, then Bhai should write a book as Bhai's all statements in the blog are based on facts and supported by documentary evidence. But writing them on blogs simply gives a chance to Parrikar's dogs, who have benifitted by the bones he had thrown to them when Parrikar was in power to bark and actual historical facts remain aside.

A book written based on actual government records like Assembly proceedings and recordings of govt departments will better help Goans to understand the recent history of Goa after independence.

Literature on the rise of Congress after Shashikala Kakodkars govt and rise and fall of BJP is missing. This book will help to see what future course Goa will take in the 21st century.

- shriniwas khalap, new delhi | 20 th February 2010 11:31

 

Respected Khalapji

Why isnt the fact that it was Pratapsingh Rane led Congress which is responsible for d Dona-Paula IT Habitat Mess being highlighted??...why blame Parrikar alone??

Among all the existing Politicians of Goa, Mr. Parrikar remains to be the best bet for the development of the state....he has demonstrated beyond doubt that he has the vision n d guts to develop Goa..his achivements in d Education n Infrastructure Category are remarkable....let us also remember that it was he who actually brought the modern Cinema Culture to Goa through IFFI n Inox...if it was left to Congress we would be still watching Movies wid d stink in Samrat theatre....as for d corruption angle it would be better if d Congress could resurrect it's own house than pointing fingers at Manoharbhai Parrikar...

- Tulasidas, Pai | 11 th February 2010 23:32

 

Dear Mr. Vishnu Kamat,

You have written lots of things about Mr. RDK. once upon a time he was considered as the top gun of Goa’s politics and Assembly. He also enjoyed some bit post during his tenures as MLA and also now he is enjoying “LAL BATTI” posts.

He was representing Mandrem Constituency during his tenures as MLA. The constituency enjoys very important component of development ie. National Highway, but just see till today it is portraying like 3rd world country. Even Sattari is much more developed than Mandrem. I think Mr.RDK is solely responsible for this. Even about MOPA Air port, it is Mr. Parrikar who has come up with the idea and not Mr. RDK. Till date, he has not even clarified his position as far as MOPA air port is concerned.

- Purushottam sawant, Pernem Goa | 10 th February 2010 09:24

 

I am not a Parrikar fan or BJP Man.

Credit for Konkan Railway should go to Prof Madhu Dandavate or Ba.Nath Pai And Not R. D. Khalap.

I remember during our college days people from south were opposing Konkan Railway and now the same people enjoy the benefit. I had actively participated in a morcha during Wilfred D'souza's tenure and I don't remember Bhai's any statement during the time. He was always calculating whether to join or not to join the Congress.

Regarding the chapora bridge, yes the bridge was inaugurated by him with 15 days CM Churchil Alemao but they could not do anything for 10 years.

It was during BJP's time the major work was done.

For Mundkar act, Mr Ravi Naik should be praised and not RDK.

- Raghunath Mandrekar, Mandrem | 07 th February 2010 14:42

 

A tale of the kettle calling the pot black - is it? Especially since the pot, THE EVER BRAGGING MR. CLEAN POT, seems to have been observing 'MAUN VRATA' on the 'KHALAP I.T. DHOOM DHADAKA SHOW. Lage Raho Bhai.

- Shridhar Kamat, Margao | 05 th February 2010 20:27

 

Dear Mr Khalap,

Why are you talking about it now? You could have made good use of this during 2002 election campaign. Also, why didn't you resign? Did it take you 18 months to know how Parrikar is?

So far, Law Commission was headed by Retired Judges. However, the current government ignored all that and made you the Chairman. Why don't you talk about that? Is this behaviour acceptable?

- Giriraj, Panaji | 05 th February 2010 00:16

 

I have seen Ramakant Khalap performing as the Chairman of Mapusa Urban Bank, Opposition Leader, Dy Chief Minister, Union Law Minister and IT Minister. And I admire his work and the pride that he brought to Goa.



Bhai is responsible to bring Konkan Railway in Goa, which was opposed by many people in Goa. They even stoned him and now the same people travel in Konkan railway.



He brought Tilari water to Goa. Tilari work was stopped by Mr Parriker. Today because of Tilari project, Mapusa town and entire North Goa gets drinking water.



Becacuse of Mr Khalap's efforts, Chapora bridge was built, though credit was taken by someone else.

Mr Khalap's opposition says that he destroyed the Mapusa Urban Bank. But that's not true. In fact BJP govt destroyed Mapusa Urban Bank and many other cooperative banks in Goa like Vividha Urban Co-op. Society etc. Mr Parrikar did nothing to save Mapusa Urban and because of Mr Parrikar's negative propoganda, Mapusa Urban lost Rs 90 Crore in just 3 months. This is the biggest crime Mr Parrikar committed against this Bank. If he had honestly helped this bank, then it was easy for the BJP to win back bank elections. But they knew that people are not blind. BJP did not even dare to field their candidates in the Bank election and Mr. Khalap won it with thumping majority. Once again Mr Khalap was elected the Chairmen of Mapusa Urban. Within a span 6 months after that, he brought Mapusa Urban in profit and within a year, the Bank recovered all its losses. Why did Mr Parriker fail to do this when he was the Chief Minister for 5 years with full control of Mapusa Urban Bank?

I still remember because of Mr Khalap's great performance and leadership skills, late Mr Pramod Mahajan said that he is a one-man army. He represented Goa in Delhi and today every person in Delhi including Atal Behari Vajpayee and Sonia Gandhi respect him and admire him. Delhilites know only one leader in Goa i.e. Mr Ramakant Khalap. It was he, who led the delegation to China and bravely confronted China (something India was not doing for a long time) and paved the way to resolve all the issues with that country.

Bhai, as I know him closely, I can write many things about him. His contribution in various fields like Banking, Education, Literature, Administration and Governance, Cooperatives etc is priceless. His fight for rights of Mundkars and downtrodden has helped many people to raise their heads high. We need him to lead Goa and this great Nation..

With this blog, he has once again showed courage to tell the truth and inside stories of Govt affairs, something that many people don't know or don't dare to speak. Go ahead Bhai, we are with you.

- Vishnu Kamat, Margao | 04 th February 2010 22:13

 

If you go through the news archives on Google, you will not find a single news item that indicates that Parrikar wound up the council.

We do not know of the quality of study conducted by the Hyderabad team. I do not think even 1% of quality output could have come after evaluating ALL departments in mere 3 months. We have to understand why Parrikar scrapped the SRS.

- Vijay Colaco, Bangalore | 04 th February 2010 17:43

 

Dear P.K, Vijay, Shekhar, etc……..



Your comments are politically motivated. Please do not bring in the issue of Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank or the work done by Mr. Khalap as Law Minister of India while discussing the IT scenario of Goa. This is sidetracking the issue.

Why can you not discuss dispassionately the reasons for failure of Goa on IT front? Mr. Khalap deserves praise for raising the issue and pointing out the faults of Mr. Parrikar as well as his own Congress Party Leaders. In fact, we need people like Mr. Khalap who had the guts to call spade a spade, whether it is a BJP spade or Congress spade.

- Keshav Mandrekar, Mandrem | 04 th February 2010 15:16

 

Let me congratulate all the commentators who have pounced upon Mr. Khalap for being so forthright. But what bugs me is that in their attempt to find fault with Mr. Khalap and to praise Mr. Parrikar, they are losing sight of important points raised by Mr. Khalap e.g

1)Info Tech Council was headed by R.A. Mashelkar with members like Narayan Murthy, Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, etc. Was Mr. Parrikar right in ignoring their advice and disbanding the Council?

2)Mr. Khalap has not spared his own Party-the Congress. He writes that the Government, which came after Parrikar, made a fiasco of the e-governance and e- Habitat programs. Should he not be praised for being candid?

- Keshav Mandrekar, Mandrem | 04 th February 2010 14:52

 

What do you say Bhai khalap, e-governance, e-education, blah blah blah...

Narvekar also tried to do the same thing and ended up doing e-playground, e-road, e-plots, etc. for him and his cronies.

It was good that Parrikar cut you to size, because he knew your capabilities. Not that Parrikar is a Saint, but you have already demonstrated what you could do...

- Lino, USA | 04 th February 2010 03:31

 

Why do we forget the fact that Parrikar was instrumental in inviting Wipro to Goa? Patni were about to start a center in Goa at the fag end of his tenure.

Both shelved their projects the moment Congress came to power. Parrikar was meticulous and managed so much in a short span that none of the regular poticians could dream about.

- Vijay Colaco, Bangalore | 03 rd February 2010 23:05

 

Dear Mr. Khalap,

For the sake of argument and for a second, we will agree with you. But I can't understand who stopped you for the last five years to implement your plans when your own party i.e. Congress is in power and your trusted freinds are in the Govt. Who gave you position and red light car of Goa State Law commision? If they are not listening to you, then please resign in protest.

Do Not blame Mr. Parrikar for every issue like MOPA etc. Use your position in Cogress to correct the wrong deeds of Mr. Parrikar(if any according to you).

- Shekhar Gaitonde, Panaji Goa | 03 rd February 2010 15:30

 

Appointing of consultants itself is many times a means to make extra money by the corrupt politicians.The next step is to plan projects spending huge public funds without assessing the returns to the public and to siphon off a sizable percentage through commissions and underhand dealings! I think it is high time we the public wake up to the harsh realities and demand stiff and speedy penalties on all the corrupt politicians and Babus who make huge assets within a short time in power!

- Vishwas Prabhudesai, Loliem | 02 nd February 2010 17:10

 

Dear Yogesh, would you please mention any feature of Parrikar regime? There are all drawbacks n drawbacks.

Regarding Mandrekar's allegation that Khalap has done little development, I would agree to some extent. But it was Mr. Khalap, who laid down the foundation stone for Chapora bridge, which in turn changed the face of Mandrem Constituiency, during his small span as a Deputy CM of Goa. He tried many constructive works for Mandrem, but he was always opposed by Khalapphobian people. The very fact was regarding Cyber City. These people agitated by arguing that the cattle will have no place for grazing. Now they sold out there land for big money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Nilesh Shetgaonkar, Morjim | 02 nd February 2010 10:25

 

Mr Khalap, is this actually a tale of the kettle calling the pot black ? The problem is that the pot is really not black but has achievements to speak for himself ! At least Mr Parrikar has done something for Goa (he revolutionized the city of Panaji). What have you done? Even in Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank??

Time and again I have mentioned that India is a country of lions led by donkeys. What has kept India backwards is the foolhardy policies of selfish idiots. Rampant corruption, subsidies, price-fixing, loan waivers all for vote bank politics has destroyed this great land.

What India needs are "death squads"...all non performing selfish, corrupt politicians should be publicly shot dead if basic amenities are not provided for people in the first year of election. By denying people adequate roads, transport facilities, continuous power, clean drinking water and transparency, you politicians have made peoples lives hell!

Goan people deserve better: They live only once and deserve good quality of life not to live at the mercy of idiots. If you are a true public servant, then get all your "hidden" money and use if for education, research and the like. Remember, India is kept backwards because of stupid, selfish idiots. What have you done as a law minister?...Tons of cases still pending, judges are still corrupt and people are losing faith in the legal system. You people have murdered democracy. Please note, by going to the temples and doing pooja etc doesn't atone for these sins.

Long live people of Goa and their independent spirit!!

- PK, Somewehere in the US | 02 nd February 2010 06:33

 

Dear Mr Khalap,

At the risk of further bruising your ego, let me blatantly say Mr Parrikar and you aptly fit the description of a pot calling the kettle black. You have launched a diatribe against Mr Parrikar, little knowing that there are people who remember the slate of your past isn’t exactly above board. Bear in mind that when you point a finger at others, there are three accusing you in return. I vaguely recollect about a bank whose committee you headed nearly going bust --investors losing their hard-earned deposits--about a decade or so ago.

You begin your attack by nostalgically speaking about your association with Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, the former director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Relations and undoubtedly an apolitical scientist. Mention has also been made of you hobnobbing with the famous in IT circles to “prepare the roadmap for Goa’s IT revolution.” Grand words, grandiose plans Mr Khalap.

Though it is obvious that you pride yourself in taking the initiative of starting a Panchsheel of IT, it isn’t exactly that you had altruistic motives in mind. Many schemes run by the governments in power in Goa, whether it’s the BJP or Congress, which are touted to be for the welfare of Goans often turn to be nothing more than mere ploys to frigging embezzle public funds and obtain kickbacks through artificially inflated quotations.

The hype about Goa needing an IT park is an old tune which has been played ad nauseam. To this tune, you have cleverly added your lament of Goa having lost out being on India’s IT map and the usual refrain that thousands of Goans would have got jobs at the click of a mouse. Like all other people of your ilk, Mr Khalap you excel in skulduggery . You are well aware that nothing in Goa ever takes place with a stroke of a pen, leave alone the click of a mouse. There is a higher probability that something will occur if palms are greased. You and other Congress cohorts like Sankalp Amonkar and others have been shouting hoarse about establishing an IT park in Goa. But has either the Congress or BJP engaged anyone to technically carry out a viability study of whether an IT park is really needed in Goa? That too, most importantly without political interference? Can any Goa government handle the logistics needed to run an IT park? What about the socio-economic impact on the Goan populace once the park has been set up. Haven’t these questions ever crossed your mind earlier, Mr Khalap?

Already unchecked migratory influxes are upsetting the social equilibrium in our State.

All this boast about honouring and nurturing Indian talent in IT by building parks is deafening. Phony too. These IT parks and other edifices appear to be more of monuments raised in homage to political leaders by their sycophants. I don’t understand the logic behind naming an IT park after a deceased politician instead of posthumously naming it after a scientist or a technocrat of world repute.

The reason why you and the others get away with all this humbug of an IT park exclusively benefiting Goans or at least being more inclined towards them is not only because we Goans are gullible but also placid. From IT parks to regional plans, SEZs and sports cities, Goans are being repeatedly hoodwinked. It's a price we pay for our silence and complacency.

- PAULO AFONSO , Panaji | 02 nd February 2010 03:16

 

Everybody knows that Parrikar is egoist and it may be because of his high education among SSC-fail politicians.I do not believe corruption part as Parrikar did not make a penny when in power and even the opposition

leaders say it in private.

The writer himself was involved in so many scams of Bank of Goa, which was saved by Parrikar.It was said that writer sanctioned loans worth crores to become law minister of India which were never recovered. So a certified corrupt politician should not talk about corruption.

Whatever Parrikar did in a short span was a great thing. Hats off to his great vision. It was Goans' bad luck that he was not given another term. This mistake will always be remembered by generations to come. Hats off to a great leader of our generation

- Vinay , Margao | 02 nd February 2010 00:43

 

Mr. Khalap ,What Parrikar did for Goa in 4-5 years as CM, you could not do it in your entire political career.

Now that you are in Govt and enjoying all its benifits, Do something good for Goa.

- Yogesh, Munich | 01 st February 2010 16:58

 

Dear Bhai,

You were representing us for 25 years. what have you done so far? Only you could do was change the name of New English High School to R D khalap High School that's it. I have seen you right from my childhood as a chief guest of our school program, you didn't bother to visit us when you were elected.

What did u do for our farmers, graduates??

I was a big fan of yours during my childhood.

We used to call "amcho bhai" what did he do for us Nothing or probably something which we cannot see.

- Mandrekar, Mandrem | 01 st February 2010 14:37

 

It is very difficult to believe politician. They blame each other but in reality they fool the public. Real good, intelligent, selfless person never enter politics but get the work done for the people. Present state of Goa to becoming non Goan is due to the efforts of all these veteran politician. God only could help Goans.

- heramb kamat, manlius, USA | 01 st February 2010 03:14

 

Fair enough! I hope Parrikar or some of his chamchas will respond to your allegations.

Mr. Khalap you represented Mandrem constituency for several years, what did you do for those poor folks. Nothing!

You and your cronies would be seen there only during elections.

Now that you have a lot of free time at hand, I hope you will write about that as well.

- Jagan, Mapusa | 01 st February 2010 02:42

 

That was a bombshell

- cleofato Almeida Coutinho, Assolna | 30 th January 2010 23:57

 

Yes Sir, you are absolutely right, because of one man's ego we Goans missed the opportunity to be one of in the IT world.

Is it still viable?

- Nilesh Shetgaonkar, Morjim | 30 th January 2010 13:17

 

Unfortunately, e-go has defeated all other e-plans.

- Kalidas Sawkar, Goa-India | 30 th January 2010 12:24

 

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