On Passive Euthanasia
THIS is with reference to the letter ‘SC Verdict On Euthanasia’ by Robert Castellino (NT, March 14). The Supreme Court’s judgment legalising passive euthanasia should come as a relief to the common man for the autonomy to decide through a ‘living will’ what he/she would want at the end of life, so as to die with dignity and without suffering. As expected, the judgment has not found favour with the Catholic church, as it goes against its teachings that euthanasia in any form, ‘active’ or ‘passive’, is morally culpable, since it involves the taking away of precious human life, which alone is God’s prerogative. This raises the question whether the existing practice of providing only palliative treatment to the terminally-ill cancer patients at the church-run hospices, but the absence of life-saving medicines and essentials like oxygen, respirators, IV drips, etc, which form the basic needs of terminally-ill patients, constitutes an act of passive euthanasia through acts of omission.
A F Nazareth, Alto Porvorim
Time For Introspection On Mining
THE cessation of mining in the state can actually be a boon rather than a bane. It can be a time for deep introspection, learning from the mistakes of the past. In order to abide by the Supreme Court directives, it may be emphasised that a thorough study of all mining-related activities be conducted. It would be prudent for the Directorate of Mines to conduct a survey of the quantum and grade of ores now in existence in Goa. Mining is not renewable and the quantity and quality of mineral ores is limited. Knowing the quantity and grades of all iron ore will greatly assist in being able to develop a roadmap for extraction of ore which will be for a certain period of time. The services of a professional mining survey company can be sought towards this end. Knowing the quantity and quality at each mine location can lead to fixing the minimum auction value. This will also help the government in knowing in advance how much of revenue can be accrued after completion of auction procedures, thus setting at rest the possibilities of illegal mining. After a comprehensive survey, it would also be essential to conduct another survey on the extent of mining implements like heavy earth excavating machines, trucks, barges etc, taking into consideration the depreciation of these equipment with time. This will ensure that mining is done in as efficient and cost-effective manner. If distribution of work is to be carried out, ceiling can also be imposed on the number of trucks and barges that each individual or contractor is allowed to have. Strict guidelines on transportation of ore should be imposed and supervised. The relevant roads can also be asphalted to facilitate smooth movement of trucks. The other aspect that should also be considered is the rehabilitation of exhausted mines, in which growing of a variety of trees can be undertaken, rejuvenating the green cover. The reasoning behind undertaking such an exercise is that after mining in Goa ceases various stakeholders can be ready to diversify into other forms of livelihoods to replace mining. A thorough survey and estimation will thus reduce risks and uncertainties.
ELVIDIO MIRANDA, PANAJI