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Not chai, politics to be resolved over single malts and wines, Goan style

Indian Express 2019-10-10 11:29:30
Goa Forward Party leader Vijai Sardesai. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran/File)

WITH enough bickering over one of Goa’s biggest issues, the state’s treatment of its open garbage dump, former Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai has offered to resolve the matter with solid waste management minister Michael Lobo by inviting him “over a nice drink”.

Soon social media in Goa was abuzz of the offer, which some say was trademark Goan, while others commented could be a take on the Indian culture of calling people to resolve matters over a cup of tea.

Sardesai who prides in his collection of single malts and exotic wines — often showcasing it to special guests, made the offer in a public event, during a Dussehra function saying “Michael is no stranger to my residence.

“With Navratri and Dussehra over, I invite Michael to my residence and will offer him a nice drink if that helps to resolve the Sonsoddo issue, Sardesai said.

For months a garbage dump — the state’s biggest in Sonsoddo, in South Goa has been a problem — with neither the government agencies or the private contractor able to handle it, with the matter now in court.

Earlier this year, the garbage dump caught fire with the residents complaining ill health and pollution, to add to the already existing health issues.

While Sardesai has been trying to sort the matter as the dump comes in his part of South Goa, Lobo settled in North Goa is now the new solid waste management minister for the state. While the two were known to be the “best of friends” relationship did sour when Sardesai’s Goa Forward Party was dropped from the coalition.

Lobo who many say was responsible in getting Sardesai’s confidence early term, was also seen as luring ten Congress MLAs to the BJP’s fold.

When contacted, Sardesai said, “Sonsoddo garbage is a vexed issue, stuck in Courts due to litigation with Concessionaire Fomento. I, as an elected legislator, am as interested to solve the issue as him, as the new minister of the new department. A drink could facilitate this. Hence the invitation. And he has come to my place many times, but in the past!”

Lobo, for now is busy understanding ways to handle the state’s garbage issue with new plants and technology being discussed. On Wednesday, a day after Sardesai’s offer Lobo was positive, saying he doesn’t mind going for a drink to Margao to Sardesai or anywhere, “He was upset with me and now he is calling me for a drink”.

Early this week, another invite too saw some buzz when the Chief Minister and Michael Lobo were seen at birthday celebrations of another Congress MLA Alex Reginaldo. Reginald, the only young MLA left in Congress to have declined a BJP invite to join the party said he was aware that the presence of BJP leaders was informed to “high command” by the rest of Congress workers.