No politician could save Goa like ex-Guv Jacob: MLAs

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 14 January 2016 18:06 IST

May it be the ruling BJP, opposition Congress or the independents, all felt unanimously – no politician could do what Lt Gen (Retd) J F R Jacob did as the Governor of Goa – getting notified Netravali and Mhadei sanctuaries.

“No politician would have been able to do what Jacob did in 1999, let us admit it. He protected our forests for the future generations to come”, admitted Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar while paying tributes to the former Governor of Goa.

Jacob, who was the Governor of Goa for around one and a half years in 1998-99, died at 93 yesterday.

Goa government declared a day-long mourning today by lowering the tricolour flag half-mast to salute the war hero of 1971 Indo-Pak war that created Bangladesh.

The Goa Assembly however paid tribute to the former Governor, whose regime of President’s Rule for only four months is remembered till date, with mixed reactions.

He had dismissed today’s opposition leader Pratapsing Rane’s government after then deputy chief minister Dr Wilfred de Souza had split the ruling party.

But Rane was today found more upset with his decision to get two forests notified as Mhadei and Netravali sanctuaries, thus bringing restrictions on all kind of mining in the Western Ghat.

One day before the Assembly election held on 4th June 1999, he notified the sanctuaries, recalled Rane, calling it a controversial decision he took under pressure of Belgaum-based NGO.

“The controversial decision was taken in hurry while creating problems for 18,000 people living in the sanctuary area, which is almost 34% of Goa”, said Rane, who represents Mhadei sanctuary of Sattari.

No doubt he gets the credit for the green belt of today’s Goa and he meant goo, but he was a great war hero of India, he said.

Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral, representing the mining belt, said the animals must have been very happy with Jacob’s decision to notify the sanctuaries, but not the human beings.

Independent MLA Vijai Sardesai countered him, stating that there are large number of Goans who are thankful to Jacob for his decision to notify two sanctuaries.

“He was not only a war hero but a green hero for Goa. No politician would have been able to take such a decision”, admitted the young politician, who is planning to form a regional party to protect Goa’ green identity.

While calling him a Green Hero, Vijai admitted: “the work of Jacob to protect Goa’s environment cannot be done by politicians, you need such disciplined army men to do it.”

Supporting his contention, Congress legislator Alex Reginald Lourenco said Goa needs more people like Jacob though he had dismissed Congress government.

Forest and Environment Minister Rajendra Arlekar said: “it’s very easy to say that forests are lungs of a healthy state, but Jacob actually took steps to keep Goa healthy with a foresight.”

When asked why no holiday was declared on his death unlike when former Governor Kidar Nath Sahani dies, CM Parsekar said Jacob always liked work and keeping government offices open was a fitting tribute to him.

Jacob was also remembered for running the whole administration with only two advisors – Albano Couto and Buch - while meeting the people every day and solving their problems instantly.

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Lt Gen Jacob undoubtedly a great war hero of 1971 war to carve out Bangla Desh from united Pakistan. However his role to protect wildlife and sanctuary could also have been done by Govt of Goa if they had will. When Lt Gen Jacob was governor of Goa he was not in uniform but an appointee by political system. Had he been just like our representative no sanctuary culd have been saved. Our electors and representative have made Goa a sanctuary of looters. Our love and respect for late Jacob is farcical.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 15 th January 2016 09:13

 

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