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Remo refuses award from Goa government
August 17, 2007 16:22 IST
Acclaimed musician Remo Fernandes has refused to accept an award from the Goa [Images] government to protest against what he called the "loot" of the state by its ministers, opposition leaders and politicians.
The honour, instituted by the art and culture department under a scheme to recognise recipients of national and international awards, was scheduled to be presented to Remo on Saturday. The singer was awarded the Padma Shri in January.
"I refuse this state award or reward as a sign of protest against the government of Goa as well as the opposition, both full of ministers and politicians involved in large-scale attempted rape and sale of Goa through the infamous Regional Plan 2011, either actively or through their inaction," he said in an open letter to the art and culture department.
Remo said his decision was also aimed at protesting the blatant corruption and communalism in the government and opposition as well as their failure to curb and control garbage and plastic, traffic chaos, excessive immigration and construction, destruction of Goan nature and beauty.
He also criticised the politicians for "their continued failure to provide us our two most basic needs and rights: good quality health and education."
Fernandes, however, thanked the state government and Chief Minister Digamber Kamat, who proposed and approved his name for the award, which comprises a memento, a citation, a shawl and Rs 50,000 in cash.
"I had the privilege of receiving the Padma Shri from the hands of then president A P J Abdul Kalam, one of the most honest, upright, wise, qualified and dignified gentlemen in India," Remo said.
"Now, receiving an award from the government of Goa would be an insult to Kalam, to the Padma Shri Award itself, as well as to me," said his letter.
Remo also questioned the rationale behind such awards. "I cannot understand the logic behind presenting such awards by the Goa government which, irrespective of the party in the power, does not recognise achievements of a person at the state-level and then rewards the person after he or she receives an honour at the national level.
"This is akin to conferring a kindergarten certificate on someone who has already obtained a PhD," he commented.
Remo requested the government to give the Rs 50,000, which is part of the award, to the NGO Goa Bachao Andolan, which is spearheading a movement to save the coastal state's ecology.