MARGAO: The late chief minister Manohar Parrikar loved authentic and traditional food. Fish and xacuti dishes were his favourite, and black tea was his most-wanted drink, said Vivek Naik, a close friend of Parrikar.
Naik said that ten days after he was first elected as a legislator in December 1994, Parrikar attended his wedding in Margao.
As a family friend, Parrikar used to spend time with Naik family prior to entering active politics.
Recalling an incident about the late chief minister, Naik said that after the two came out of a restaurant in Margao relishing bhaji and chapattis followed by black tea, Parrikar noticing migrants living in slums had said that the government should do something for the upliftment of the people and to clean the town.
Parrikar’s vision was farsighted, bright and clear, recalls Naik.
Naik, a friend of Parrikar for almost 35 years, further recalled, “During Parrikar’s first tenure as the chief minister, he was instrumental in constructing the two Patto bridges in the city. Many tried to ridicule him but Parrikar had a clear vision. The two bridges have now become very useful for motorists travelling to and fro from Panaji.”
Former legislator Caitu D’Silva, with whom Parrikar travelled half a kilometre on a bike after visiting the Cavelossim-Navelim under-construction bridge recalls, “As chief minister, Parrikar wanted to see the other side of the bridge. We both walked and later he insisted that I should arrange for a bike from one of my supporters. Ignoring the security issue, we both rode on the bike. When he came across an elderly woman on the way, he asked me to slow down and wished her ‘mai’. When I showed him the plan of the bridge and informed that the Holy Trinity Church areas would be affected, he assured me of a diversion.”
“He always tried to take the minorities onboard and sought their support. He came to my house at Colva and ate with me,” said D’Silva.
Theresa Fernandes from Salcete said that in year 2012, she met Parrikar at the South Goa Collectorate and brought to his notice the harassment meted out to her by the panchayat and within eight days the panchayat made amends and an illegal extension was demolished.
She said that Parrikar was a good administrator and added, “He had an excellent command over administration.”
Satish Naik, a rickshaw driver from Margao, said that he had brought to the late chief minister’s notice the rickshaw drivers’ problems in 2013.
He said, “Parrikar sir first heard us and felt that our problem was genuine.”
“He then called the officials of the transport department and a pending rickshaw stand issue was resolved. Today I kept my rickshaw off the road as a tribute to him,” Naik added.
“After listening to the views of public, if convinced, Parrikar would take all steps to implement the ideas put forth. Introducing new visionary ideas was his forte,” opined Savio Coutinho the former chairperson of Margao Municipal Council.
Coutinho revealed that he met the chief minister in 2017, when the latter had come for an agriculture mela in Margao.
“I informed him the need for having a goat rearing scheme just like that of cow rearing. He soon introduced the scheme which now has helped many goat owners,” he added.
(As told to Roque Dias)
Source:: The Navhind Times