Times of India | 19 hours ago | 05-08-2022 | 04:26 am
Panaji: AAP on Thursday blamed the state government and chief minister Pramod Sawant for 23 schools closing since 2019, while criticising the government’s move to merge schools.AAP Goa’s vice-president Ramrao Wagh said that Sawant’s thoughtless actions are destroying the legacy of former chief ministers Bhausaheb Bandodkar and Manohar Parrikar who worked to secure the future of Goan youth through their emphasis on accessible and quality education for all.Party vice-president Pratima Coutinho said the recent decision to merge more than 200 single-teacher primary schools with nearby schools, as well directing high schools and higher secondary schools to adopt an anganwadi in their vicinity, were nothing but knee-jerk reactions to critical reports and information highlighting the failure of the BJP government in the education sector such as the recent CAG report, the National Achievement Survey Report, and Unesco’s State of Education report.
PANAJI: One of the tallest national flags in Goa - that stands between two lanes of Atal Setu - had to be lowered on Thursday after unidentified thieves stole the focus lights that illuminated it. In addition, thieves also decamped with expensive focus lights that were used to illuminate the cables of the bridge. According to a Supreme Court order, the tricolour can only be flown at night if it's illuminated. The lights that lit up the tricolour are estimated to cost Rs 60,000, while those of the Setu cost around Rs 6.2 lakh. Panaji police registered an FIR against unknown person for the theft. Meanwhile, GSIDC were flummoxed about the theft, since the bulky lights would not be easy to steal. "What kind of people would steal such special lights," a furious official asked. Even as CM Pramod Sawant exhorted residents in the state to hoist the tricolour, Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) has been forced to lower the tiranga outside the KTC bus stand because thieves decamped with the focus lights that illuminate it. The thieves also stole the expensive focus lights on Atal Setu. GSIDC has filed a police complaint. According to GSIDC officials, two focus lights valued at approximately Rs 6.3 lakh, which were used to illuminate the cables of Atal Setu, were stolen over a period since May. The focus lights for the tricolour were valued at a total of Rs 60,000.. "The flag had to be brought down on Wednesday because there were no lights, and as per the Supreme Court order, the tricolour has to be illuminated at night. We will hoist the flag again on Friday when new lights are installed. The order has been placed," said a GSIDC official. An unknown person was booked by Panaji police for stealing two facade lights used to illuminate the cables. Police said that based on the complaint, an FIR has been registered. The Union home ministry permits citizens to fly the tiranga even at night after industrialist Naveen Jindal won a court battle in the 1990s. While agreeing that flying the tricolour is a fundamental right of every citizen, the SC put a rider saying that the flagpole should be tall and the flag well-illuminated. GSIDC officials remain flummoxed over the robbery, since it would not be an easy task to steal the heavy lights without being noticed. Officials remain in the dark as there is very little CCTV surveillance around the bridge even though several CCTV cameras with facial and automatic numberplate recognition features have been installed under the Smart City mission. "There is only one CCTV camera with Heera petrol pump, and we have asked Goa police to look and see if they see any suspicious activity," a GSIDC official said.
Panaji: Bardez block development officer (BDO) Shivprasad Naik has asked the Assagao panchayat to provide all documents related to the controversial Silly Souls Cafe and Bar. The development comes after advocate Aires Rodrigues alleged that the upmarket eatery at Assagao lacks permission from the Assagao panchayat. Naik issued a memorandum to the secretary of the panchayat and said that the documents need to be provided within seven days. “The village panchayat secretary is directed to go through the contents of the memorandum and submit the documents in respect of the said matter in duplicate to this office within seven days from receipt of this memorandum,” Naik stated in the memorandum. “This is for strict compliance.” The directions have been issued after director of panchayats Siddhi Harlankar directed the Bardez BDO to look into Rodrigues’ complaint about illegal construction and lack of panchayat permissions, and to take necessary action.“The people of Goa are entitled to know the whole truth about this now disputed restaurant,” said Rodrigues, who was the first to highlight the alleged irregularities surrounding the eatery. Rodrigues has appealed to chief minister Pramod Sawant and the BJP cabinet not to interfere in the ongoing probe. “Enable the concerned excise, panchayat and town and country planning officials to conduct a free and fair inquiry on the entire issue to unravel the whole truth in this case,” he said.
Panaji: The Goa Public Service Commission (GPSC) on Thursday recommended promotion of 51 officials to the position of assistant engineers (AE) and another 10 as executive engineers (EE) in the electricity department. GPSC, through a departmental promotion committee, headed by chairman Jose Manuel Noronha, took the decision in this regard. The department has a sanctioned strength of 173 assistant engineers, out of which 48 posts are earmarked for degree holders and the remaining for diploma holders.Noronha said that in the present lot of officials recommended for promotion, 22 are degree holders and 29 diploma holders. “A proposal to fill the vacant positions at the executive engineer level will be taken up for discussion shortly,” he said. The power department has been facing a shortage of degree engineers at the senior level for many years now and positions of additional chief engineer and chief engineer have been vacant for a long time. They are being held by the officials who are either on deputation or on a short term contract basis.“With today’s recommended promotions and the recent promotion of superintending engineers, the vacancy situation at the higher level would normalise within a couple of years,” Noronha said.
Panaji: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said the government plans to introduce golf tourism, and a couple of areas have been identified as potential golf sites.He was speaking at an interaction between the World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) and the government of Goa on Thursday. CM Pramod Sawant along with senior officials of the tourism ministry were also present.“We have started promoting wellness tourism, while we have identified a couple of areas for golf tourism. We are quite serious about what we want. High-end tourism will go up a few notches when we have a golf course,” stated Khaunte in a reply to a query by an attendee.The tourism minister said that the government was working on having a golf course in the state, but did not spell out any details. The attendee said it was every hotelier’s dream to see guests staying for four or five days in Goa, and to make it happen, golf tourism is pivotal. He also said that other sporting facilities have to be set up for high-end tourists to ensure they stay longer. tnn
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday questioned school principals on the poor performance of students from the state in the National Achievement Survey (NAS).The Central government’s NAS is a mechanism to assess the health of the school education system by comprehensively evaluating learning competencies of children at classes III, V, VIII and X.Addressing the state level conference for school heads organised by the Goa Headmasters’ Association in Panaji, the chief minister said, “When our students fared poorly in Maths and Science in NAS, people were not criticizing schools but there was a direct question mark raised on the state government. The state government was held responsible for the poor ranking in the NAS.”“Despite providing good school infrastructure in comparison to other states and good pay scales to teachers, why is the performance so poor? This is a question that is haunting me,” the chief minister, who himself holds the education portfolio, said.He said the race to have cent per cent results in the Secondary School Certificate examinations by schools was leading to a huge number of students dropping out in Class 9.Praising the New Education Policy, the CM said it addresses the practical issues faced by students and he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for starting a separate skilling ministry.“The last education policy was introduced in 1986, which focused on ensuring no one is left without school education. The NEP speaks of skilling and every teacher should take this policy seriously,” he added.