Goa : A secure haven for tourists even now

         Mr Ramkrishna and his family have been visiting Goa on and off for decades now.

        When I put the question of security of tourists in Goa, his answer based on personal experience was this.

    “Goa is indeed a tourist paradise. The locals are friendly and hospitable. People keep walking all around even late nights, unlike other cities in India.

      Night life for which Goa is-famous is also safe.

       Problems arise when foreigners especially some women  appear to become overly friendly with certain categories of persons, of the types ,Indians, especialy those with families will avoid. These foreigners either are unable to appreciate the differences in the social and cultural structures in India or are just out for fun, without realising what the consequences can be.

        Many foreign men and women travel alone, no harm in itself,  come with limited funds, and when the funds are exhausted take up petty work, and even in bars. Some even act as conduits for drugs.

     The recent case of a teenager getting in to trouble: ” Look how she had been moving around, and landing up in a bar all by herself fully sozzled. She would be asking for trouble anywhere in the world.”

      Goa Police trying to brush the matter  under carpet: Yes. The Goa Police has a tough job on hand. Tourism is the money earner and they would like to keep things under wraps.

      Their reaction was only to be expected.

        Drugs are available in any tourist destination around the world and Goa is no exception.

        Remember,  many of the foreigners who  seem to come only to escape pressures in their own countries. They suddenly seem to abandon many of the normal inhibitions . No wonder you have cases of drug over doses ona regular basis.”

      Family members of Mr Ramkrishna agreed in toto.

NRI: Dr Pallavi induced into Florida Women Hall of Fame


Dr Pallavi inducted into Florida Women Hall of Fame 

         Eminent philanthropist and physician Dr Pallavi Patel has been inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame for advancing the role of women in the US and other parts of the world.        Based in Tampa, Florida, Dr Patel is the first Indian-American to be included in this prestigious hall of fame. The Florida Commission on the Status of Women so far has inducted 74 women in this exclusive list.       ”It is a great feeling,” Dr Patel told NDTV.Com in an interview after being inducted into the Hall of Fame by Florida Governor, Charlie Christie, at a ceremony in Tallahassee, Florida on March 11.

       ”I was a little surprised when I was informed about it as I never work for award or reward. It is a great honor to be recognized and inducted in the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame,” said Dr Patel, who along with her husband Dr Kiran Patel are well known for their philanthropist works in the US, India and Zambia having donated millions of dollars for charity work.

       The couple donated $5 million to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in 2004 to establish the Dr Pallavi Patel Performing Arts Conservatory, which enables thousands of young people in the State to pursue their dreams in music and the performing arts.

       Born and brought up in Gujarat, Dr Patel started her medical career with her husband Dr Kiran Patel in the African country of Zambia.

        Besides continuing her practice as a pediatrician she is passionate about issues related to teen pregnancy, single motherhood, adolescent self-esteem and women’s health and education. ”These are issues very dear to me and I keep on working,” she said.

        Dr Patel said she has plans to expand the 50-bed hospital that they have build in Motafofalia village near Daboi in Gujarat which serves around 1,00,000 people in and around the village.

        Termed as true role models for Florida and its citizens by the State Attorney General Bill McCollum during the induction ceremony, Dr Patel said she would continue to work for welfare and betterment of women. 

NRI:Trafficking racket: Indian workers file case against US employer

Trafficking racket: Indian workers file case against US employer

Extracts from TOI

       WASHINGTON: Some 500 Indian workers caught in what they claim is a human trafficking racket have asked the Indian government to protect their families in India from vengeful recruiters even as they filed a class action anti racketeering lawsuit in the US against their American employer.

       While the workers sought a meeting with the Indian ambassador in Washington DC to explain their case, the embassy has already directed the consulate in Houston to investigate the matter. Meantime, the workers also sought the minister’s intervention in preventing the recruiting company in Mumbai, which sent them to the US under false assurances, from intimidating their families in India following the flap.

         The case involving the Indian workers and their alleged exploitation is more than a year old Sometime in 2006, hundreds of welders and pipefitters, mostly from Kerala, responded to a series of advertisement placed by a recruiting company run by Mumbai-based Sachin Dewan promising green cards and permanent residency in US. Over 600 workers from all around India and some from the Gulf paid Dewan up to Rs 10 lakh (about $ 25,000 in today’s rates), often selling their homes and raising loans, for the promised “American dream”.

When they arrived in US, they discovered that there were no green cards. Instead, the workers found themselves working for Signal International, a major marine construction company, on ten-month “H-2B’’ visa that bonded them to work for it. Most of the work stemmed from the post-Hurricane Katrina labour shortage in the Louisiana-Mississippi region.

     The workers, many of them sent to Pascagoula, Mississippi, say they found the living conditions horrible. They were placed in cramped quarters, 24 to a 24×36 room equipped with bunk beds. They were given substandard food, for which Signal charged them $ 1050 per month, although the company claimed to have hired an Indian cook from New Orleans.

            “I was desperate…I was ready to die,” he says. Signal, on its part, denies all charges and say the company has gone out of its way to make the workers comfortable, spending up to $7 million to build plush new housing facilities.

      The living condition has been inspected by local authorities and found to be adequate (dissenting workers say the company dressed up the living quarters before the inspections). The company also denies it has anything to do with promising green cards or permanent residency to the workers, who come under the H2B guest worker visa.

       The workers allege that Signal was fully aware of Sachin Dewans misleading ads and that company representatives worked closely with Dewan in the recruitment process.

       Meanwhile, the workers, acting under the aegis of the Alliance of Guest Workers for Dignity, filed a lawsuit in federal court in New Orleans late Friday against Signal, which is a sub-contractor for Northrup Grumman

Seventh Day Adventists :Kerala HC allows separate exam time

        Seventh Day Adventists :       Kerala HC allows separate exam time for Christian sect

     KOCHI: In a controversial decision, the Kerala high court on Friday asked the state government to fix a separate time for two students of the Seventh Day Adventists, a Christian sect, to write their SSLC exam scheduled for Saturday.

The HC decision came on a petition filed by the students who pleaded that giving exams on Saturday would violate their religious rights as the day is usually set apart for prayers.

Allowing the petition, Justice Thottathil Raveendran asked the government to hold the exam for these students only after 6 pm on Saturday.

The court also perused a 1961 order of the state government which specifies that important exams need not be held on Saturdays. If it was inevitable to hold the exam on Saturday, the order provided for fixing the time after 6 pm.

The state government opposed the plea saying it was impossible to make separate arrangements for the exams. It would also lead to a leakage of the question paper as majority of the students would already have given the exams in the morning, the state maintained.

The state rushed an appeal which was heard in a special sitting of the HC in the evening. But the division bench while refusing to reverse the single bench order, however, asked the students to present themselves in the school at 1.30 pm — when the exams are scheduled to start – and wait there till 6 pm and give their paper.