Wednesday, 27 June 2007


Here's a lead from a reader....

Government quarters… That’s where the cattle come back to after a long day in the manger.

These quarters are allotted by the government for civil servants. Dunno when, but perhaps sometime back an exception was made in the rules to allow for a roof over the head to cover democracy’s fourth pillar. (Accredited Journo’s are allowed government accommodation all over)

And over time, some members of the fourth pillar did what they can best do. They pillaged.

Perhaps the most inaccessible commodity for a commonplace accredited journalist suddenly became the easiest place to get into, even for the heathen non-accredited journo during early part of the Manohar Parrikar regime.

This press-friendly chief minister used his quotas to allow journalists a roof for the naked pillar.

The abuse of these premises had actually begun earlier in Pratapsing Rane’s regime, when he allowed his pet tiger Jagdish ‘Wagh’ to set up shop. Phew was it tough getting quarters during Rane’s reign? But Wagh managed it. Today United News of India (UNI) actually runs its operation in Goa illegally from a government quarter allotted for residential purposes. Step into the building at St Inez and you invariably hear a huge whirring machine go… whirr whirr whirr…

After that, a sort of lull followed until Parrikar finally opened the floodgates. Waman Prabhu, who runs a cable news bulletin, Goa Newsline, overnight converted living space into an office for TV news production during Parrikar’s reign. The Prabhu’s who appear to have news, encrypted into their DNA have now found the quarters so cozy, that now they live in Porvorim and Goa Newsline comes to its viewers from the government quarters at St Inez. It’s a good deal. For any organisation, to have an office premise located in heart of Panaji and that too for peanuts, is sure enough a great deal.

The third one to follow the suit was is the ‘In Goa’ news capsule, which recently shifted base from Mapusa to Panaji. During the Congress rule, guy who runs this outfit – who publicly brags of his proximity with the NCP, managed to wrangle a government quarter and is currently operating from there, also using the same for his residence.


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