Panaji (PTI) Several parents in Goa today blocked the main roads and bridges across the state and allegedly pelted some buses with stones while demanding English to be made the medium of instruction and government grants for every academic year.
The demonstrations led to major traffic jams in various parts of the state and cancellation of bus operations by the state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited (KTCL) whose vehicles were damaged in the attack.
The flash demonstrations that started in Margao, Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco and Ponda cities simultaneously crippled the normal life.
At about 8 AM, the Margao-Panjim National Highway was blocked by the agitators at Bambolim near here. The bridges, including Zuari, Mandovi, Borim and Banastarim, which are the major links between North and South Goa, were also blocked.
The agitators hurled stones on several KTCL buses.
“At least four buses were stoned following which we have withdrawn all our fleet. All operations were scrapped. We are waiting for the situation to become normal,” a senior KTCL official said.
Heavy police force was deployed on various roads in the state to control the crowd.
The protestors also stopped state Sports Minster Ramesh Tawadkar on the national highway when he was heading to attend the Assembly session. Tawadkar later moved from there with the help of police.
Several parents have been agitating in Panaji since July 27 demanding that English be made as the medium of instruction (MoI) in elementary education in the state.
The parents, under the banner of FORCE (Forum for Rights of Children’s Education), had yesterday staged a demonstration at Azad Maidan, before being evicted by the state administration.
Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco had yesterday tried to raise the issue during the ongoing session of the state Legislative Assembly.
“This is not the way to protest. The government will take the entire issue very seriously,” BJP legislator Ganesh Gaonkar told PTI.
However, Independent MLA Vijay Sardessai supported the protestors claiming that the agitation was an outburst of the parents who are not getting any assurance from the state government.
Goa government has already passed a Cabinet resolution giving grants to schools with English as MoI.
FORCE is demanding that the resolution be enacted into a law, so that the grants continue for every academic year.