Calangute: Unidentified culprits allegedly stole the tyres of a four-wheeler parked behind the Boa Viagem chapel, Calangute on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. Khobrawaddo resident Alexio D’Souza filed a complaint at the Calangute police stating that thieves stole four tyres of his car which was parked behind the chapel. He said he was unable to remove the car because the road was blocked due to digging of a trench for electrical transformer cabling.
Panaji: A CRZ offender had approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asking it to quash an order by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA), which had directed demolition of the violator’s multiple illegal structures at Calangute. The GCZMA had also imposed a Rs 5 lakh penalty. However, the violator’s appeal before the NGT saw a turnaround. After examining the matter, the tribunal did not find the violator’s case fit for relief. In fact, the NGT asked the appellant (violator) to carry out the demolition within 50 days or pay Rs 5 lakh for each day that the violation continues to stand. “It is directed that the appellant shall comply with the order and carry out directions given by GCZMA within a period of 50 days positively, failing which an amount to be calculated at the rate of Rs 5 lakh per day till full removal of offending structures shall be payable by the appellant to be deposited in the Environment Relief Fund,” the Tribunal ruled on Monday. The appeal did not go in favour of the appellant as it was seen that the violator had gone up to the Supreme Court earlier to get the demolition stopped. The offender had also approached the green tribunal earlier. But all these legal remedies did not go in the violator’s favour and in March, the GCZMA issued the final demolition orders. However, instead of complying with the directives, the violator again approached the tribunal stating that the ex-GCZMA member secretary was biased. In Monday’s order, the tribunal again rejected the appellant’s claim and said GCZMA is not only made up of the member secretary, but comprises other members including the chairman, officials of other departments, environment secretary and expert members, who jointly take decisions. “So many people being in authority, there could hardly be any possibility of bias against the appellant and we are totally in agreement with the view taken by the authority in discarding this argument,” the tribunal said. The offender was first found to have constructed 18 cottages illegally in 2012 in the CRZ area at Saunta Vaddo, Calangute. In March, GCZMA held him a ‘rank violator’, as he did not carry out the demolition even after the apex court upheld the GCZMA demolition order. In fact, during the delay caused in the process of demolition, the violator was seen to have constructed new structures like a swimming pool illegally, for which the GCZMA issued further demolition orders in the year 2020. The NGT said that after analysing the arguments, it has found that there is nothing wrong with the GCZMA’s demolition orders. “Thus the appeal does not have force and the impugned order needs to be upheld and the appeal needs to be rejected with cost and is accordingly rejected with cost,” the tribunal said. The GCZMA had first issued demolition orders against the violator on February 15, 2012. The authority said that by approaching the Supreme Court and other courts, the violator managed to ‘deceive the authorities and protracted the environmental violation for nine years’.
Panaji/Calangute: While some beach shack operators had already wound up operations due to low footfall, the unscheduled rain has compelled most other operators to also shutdown a week prior to the May 31 deadline. In South Goa, over the last two days, almost all shack structures have been removed. In North Goa, stakeholders said that due to the influx of domestic tourists on summer holidays, just a handful of shacks are still operating at Calangute and Candolim beach entrance and at Baga. And though they are doing roaring business, they will be gone by this weekend. The beach shack policy states that structures must be removed by May 31 to facilitate beach stretches to recuperate during the four months of monsoon. This is the second season in a row when the state has seen only domestic tourists, shack owners said. “In a way it is good because they tend to spend more,” a Candolim shack owner Seby D’Souza said. Shack Owners Welfare Society (SOWS) president Cruz Cardozo said that a few shacks at Colva beach and three at Cavelossim are on, while the rest have shut and their workers have returned to their respective states. “The season was OK, but for some it was really bad as their stretches saw a mixed crowd who did not loosen their purse strings,” he said. Earlier, foreign charter tourists would be the main customers at beach shacks, lounging on beach beds during the day for a suntan. They would hardly visit shacks in the evenings. But with domestic tourists, the scenario has undergone a change. “It is too hot during the day and so domestic tourists don't come to the beach. But we do good business at night because they like to sit close to the sea," one shack owner said. Also, with only domestic tourists around, there are fewer takers for continental food, which was earlier a big draw at shacks. Now, it's mostly Indian or Chinese cuisine that is in demand. “It’s only seafood that they go for — golden fried prawns, butter-garlic prawns, crispy prawns, etc,” another owner said. With the dip in foreign tourists, shacks have been compelled to make changes to the type of food served and the music played.
Tourist police action at Calangute, Baga and VagatorPanaji: The tourist police unit apprehended around 178 people along the beach belt areas such as Calangute, Baga and Vagator for indulging in unauthorised activities during the last month.Those held for the unauthorised activities include hawkers, tattoo makers, jewelry sellers, touts, masseurs and also those found smoking in public places.A senior police officer said that action was initiated under the relevant section of the Goa Registration of Tourist Trade Act and also under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA).13 persons were held for drinking alcohol on the beach, and 100 cases pertaining to smoking on the beach were registered, informed the police adding around 65 cases were registered under the Goa Registration of Tourist Trade Act.The police officer said that “apart from safety and security, the tourist police unit, North Goa is taking action against unauthorised activities in coordination with the concerned local police stations.”The police personnel while performing their duty apprehended illegal vendors, hawkers etc under the relevant section of Goa Registration of Tourist Trade Act, and handed them over to the concerned police station for necessary action.The police officer said that many times police on duty are called by lifeguards to assist them in controlling the crowd swimming in the no-swimming zone.The official said that in view of the rising number of tourists visiting the state, the police have already increased patrolling in areas that are frequented by the tourists.As per the available information, the police presence has been increased and that directions have been issued to police to take strict action against anyone found harassing the tourists.
Panaji: Taking serious cognisance of the myriad complaints about irregularities in the Parra-Arpora-Nagoa ODP, town and country planning minister Vishwajit Rane on Saturday said that all tenanted agricultural lands that have been illegally converted into settlement or commercial zones will be restored to their original status. Indicating the seriousness of the irregularities, Rane said that a report on all the illegal land conversions will be tabled in the Goa Legislative assembly. Going a step further, Rane also said he intends to remove the villages of Parra, Nagoa, Candolim and Calangute from the jurisdiction of the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA). “Nobody was taking cognisance of these complaints earlier. Now, people are coming forward and sharing those complaints with me, so what I was saying has been proved,” said Rane. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. More details will be highlighted in public domain.” The minister told TOI that once the 10-member scrutiny committee finishes its probe into the preparation of the now-suspended outline development plans (ODP), a comprehensive report will be prepared and tabled in the state assembly. “The report and the findings will also be shared with all the investigative agencies,” he said. Rane divulged these details after taking note of a complaint filed in 2021 by Goa Foundation. On Saturday, the minister took to Twitter to share the complaint, which stated that tenanted agricultural lands were marked as settlement or commercial zones in the Arpora ODP. “Such orders of the PDA amount to diversion of the areas from agriculture to non-agriculture and are of a criminal nature. The department of town and country planning will initiate strict action. Rest assured, all will be reverted. Natural cover has been changed to settlement and orchard zones,” he said. While Rane did not name any individual, he left enough hints to link the violations to opposition leader and former NGPDA chairman, Michael Lobo. “We will lead the way with strict action, lodge FIRs wherever necessary, officials will be placed under suspension and terminated if found guilty. I reiterate, using public office for personal gain will not be tolerated and will be treated as a violation under the Prevention of Corruption Act. It is my view that once this is done, the villages of Parra, Nagoa, Candolim and Calangute should be removed from the jurisdiction of the PDA,” said Rane. The minister said that conversion of tenanted agricultural land is not permissible and is a violation of the Goa Land Revenue Code, and that TCP officials should not have allowed it.
Panaji: A police complaint has been filed for hill-cutting and unauthorised construction activity at Arpora and Candolim, which is in violation of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1974, said TCP minister Vishwajit Rane. Rane said that a complaint had been filed with the forest department and the TCP department regarding illegal hill-cutting at survey 51/8, which falls in the jurisdiction of Candolim village. A similar complaint was filed regarding unauthorised development activity in survey 94/1 Arpora in Calangute constituency. Rane claimed that an FIR has been registered in both the cases after a detailed investigation was conducted. “With reference to a complaint received against illegal hill-cutting and construction activity in survey no 51/8 in Calangute falling within the jurisdiction of Candolim village, the team conducted a detailed investigation at the site,” said Rane. Rane said that illegalities will not be tolerated and strict action will be taken against violators who harm the environment. On May 1, the North Goa planning and development authority (NGPDA) had filed a complaint against leader of opposition Michael Lobo and his wife and Siolim MLA Delilah at Mapusa police station in connection with land-filling at Parra. The next day, an FIR was registered against the duo. Recently Rane took to Twitter to announce that the scrutiny committee has identified irregularities in the ODPs of Parra-Arpora-Nagoa and Candolim-Calangute. Rane also said that a former NGPDA chairman violated norms by getting their own land converted. Lobo refuted Rane’s allegations and said that Rane is engaging in “vindictive politics” by suspending the ODPs and by pointing fingers at Lobo. In response, Rane had told the Calangute MLA to stop playing the victim card over the probe.
Calangute: A day after Calangute residents demanded that a bar and restaurant be shut down for operating as a dance bar, the management, on Thursday, denied any illegal activities and stated that the premises have been taken on lease from former tourism minister Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar. Management representative Dinesh Yadav told reporters that the entire controversy is a fallout of an assault wherein three sons of a woman security supervisor were assaulted by some locals. One of the sons has received serious head injuries following which police registered an offence of attempt to murder under Section 307 IPC against the locals. “It’s because an offence under Section 307 IPC has been registered that the locals are upset,” Yadav said. The assault had nothing to do with the bar or its customers, but was because of some quarrel between them, he said. Asked about permissions to operate the bar, Yadav said the Calangute panchayat had revoked the licence last year, but they have a stay order from the director of panchayats, so they can continue to operate. “We have been here for a long time and nobody made any complaints. It’s only because of this assault that we’re being unnecessarily dragged into a controversy,” he said. Locals who had gathered in front of the nightspot on Wednesday alleged that the place only has a bar and restaurant licence but operates as a dance bar.
Calangute: Shainaz Saudagar, a resident of Orda-Candolim and mother of the teenage boy, who was assaulted in a fight that broke out in Calangute, told the mediapersons that on the fateful night she was in the club on duty while her sons who had come to see her were waiting outside.“My teenage son is grievously injured and is in GMC hospital, while the main accused is absconding; I want justice for my son,” she said.Vivek Sharma, owner of the Devil’s Dance Bar said that there are CCTVs installed on the premises and there is no illegal activity going on. “The fight took place outside the premises and it can be verified through the CCTV footage,” he said.Speaking further, he said the property owner is someone else who has rented out the premises.When asked about the licence, he admitted saying that “we do not have the panchayat licence but we had moved the directorate of panchayat but it did not grant the licence.”Sarpanch Shawn Martins said that the panchayat of Calangute has revoked licences of 13 dance bars. “However the owners are well connected and through influence they operate the dance bars. When the new PI Laxi Amonkar came to Calangute all dance bars were shut but such establishments started operating again,” he said.Calangute PI Amonkar said that “the police have written to the authorities requesting a rethink on issuing licences to operate dance bars till 4 a.m. This is the main reason for illegal activities happening in Calangute.”When asked how dance bars started operating again when he had cracked down on them, PI Laxi said that “he landed in trouble because of it. The dance bar owners took me to court and also the human rights court.”North Goa DySP Karpe said that the police do take action against illegal activities and FIRs are filed.Regarding the demand for dance bars to be shut down, he said there is no law banning women from dancing in clubs. “There is a Supreme Court order allowing the dance bars to operate. Dance bars owners have licences to run their business,” he said.
Calangute: Calangute panchayat has installed 15 solar-powered streetlights at major junctions and tourist spots in Candolim. Panchayat members said this decision was taken as a safety measure against power failure during the monsoon and in bad weather conditions. “When there’s a blackout, there’s always the possibility of danger to tourists and locals. Hence, we decided to install solar streetlights. They have a back-up battery and can function even during overcast days,” one member said.
Calangute: A large number of Calangute locals gathered in front of a bar on Wednesday, alleging that it is a hub for illegal activities on the Baga road. They demanded that it be shut down. The trigger for Wednesday’s gathering was an alleged assault during the first week of May, following which two local residents were arrested by Calangute police. According to Nitesh Chodankar, executive member of the North Goa Rent-a-Cab Association, the nightspot at Khobrawaddo only has a bar and restaurant licence, but operates as a dance bar. “Tourists are lured here by pimps and touts who promise them women. The tourists are then taken inside and looted of their money and beaten up if they resist. A few days ago, one tourist escaped from inside and ran around 50m for safety to a restaurant run by a local. The dance bar workers came there and assaulted the locals when they were told to stay out. Later, the dance bar workers filed a police complaint against the locals and they were arrested,” Chodankar said. Locals said such incidents, wherein tourists are lured to the nightspot and beaten up and looted, have been going on for years with the police allegedly failing to take any action. “There will be a few girls inside. Tourists will be charged Rs 1,000 to touch their hands and then told that they have to pay Rs 10,000 for other features. If they don’t cough up the money, they get beaten up, their phones and gold ornaments snatched,” a local said, adding, “If the police come, the women escape from the back door.” Locals alleged that there are around 13 such nightspots. They demanded that the authorities shut them down by the end of this month. Further, they threatened that if authorities failed to do so, they would mobilise villagers and forcibly shut the nightspots down themselves.
‘Touts and bouncers harass, assault and extort money from tourists’Calangute: A large number of people of Calangute – a tourist heaven in the state – were up in arms on Wednesday against dance bars operating in the village, protesting against alleged harassment, assaults and extortion of money from tourists by touts and bouncers hired by these tourist businesses.The villagers converged at a dance bar in Calangute, clamouring for a strict action against dance bars and their touts and bouncers.They protested against the tourist establishments in the village for bringing a bad name to the world famous tourist destination.“A few days ago a teenage boy was assaulted in a fight between two groups. The mother of that minor boy works as a bouncer in a dance bar. She made a video claiming that locals are goons and that the police are not taking action against the people who assaulted the boy, who was admitted to the GMC in a critical condition,” the locals said.If this particular bar and restaurant is a legal business concern then why more than 100 bouncers and touts are employed, they asked, alleging that everyday tourists are beaten up and money is extorted from them.Director General of Police Jaspal Singh visited Calangute a few days ago to ascertain the allegations of harassment, assaults and extortion of money from tourists.Sarpanch Shawn Martins requested the DGP to shut down the dance bars as they bring a bad name to the coastal village.If this obnoxious atmosphere continues then tourists will turn their back on the beach, where there are 13 illegal dance bars, the protestors reckoned.Calling for shutdown of all the dance bars in the village, Nitesh Chodankar said that tourists are harassed and beaten up for money.Mahima Shimepuraskar said that women are not able to move out of their houses after 10 p.m. because of the insufferable ambiance in the village.Clarifying the air on the assault on the teenage boy, the Calangute police said that complaints and counter-complaints were filed in the case.Four people were arrested from both sides. However, the main accused, who assaulted the boy with a cricket bat, is absconding.The police registered the case under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.Two accused have been released on bail, while two accused are in the lock-up, the police said.
Panaji: Nine persons, most of them tourists, were rescued from Goa’s beaches and Dudhsagar waterfall over the weekend by Drishti lifeguards. A 24-year-old man from Nagpur was rescued by lifeguard Narayan Govekar using a jet ski and another 27-year-old Mumbai resident was rescued by lifeguard Naresh Govekar at Baga beach. At Dudhsagar waterfall, a 33-year-old man from Hyderabad who was drowning when his life jacket got loose was saved by Drishti lifesaver Shahnawaj Nadaf and a 37-year-old man from Gujarat suffering from breathing difficulty while swimming was also rescued by lifesaver Hanuman Bhajrantri who rushed into the water with a surfboard. A 55-year-old local from Pernem was found in distress at Morjim river and was saved by lifesavers Suvesh Nagvekar, Jhilu Parab and Aman Salgaonkar who immediately jumped in and secured the victim with the help of rescue tube, a rescue board and a jet ski. In another incident at Vagator a 50-year-old man from Bardez was rescued by lifesaver Suhas Gawas and a 15-year-old girl from Ponda was rescued by lifesaver Ketan Nagvekar at Ozran beach. There was a double rescue at Calangute where two males from Calangute aged 18 and 19 years were rescued by lifesaver Ajay Gaonkar with the help of a rescue board. All the rescued persons are in a stable condition. Drishti lifesavers after making announcements also reunited missing children aged 4, 5 and 14 years with their families at Calangute and Baga. At Candolim a 14-year-old child was reported missing by his brother and was found a few minutes after making announcements by the lifesaver. The child was handed over to his brother after informing the police. Drishti lifesaver Sangharsh Asolkar found two children at Calangute who were reported missing by their families. One was aged four, from Belgaum and the second was from Kolhapur. In another incident, a 5-year-old boy from Karnataka who was reported missing at Baga was handed over to his family in the presence of police officials. Lifeguards also attended to a medical emergency at Baga when a 38-year-old female from Kolkata got knocked into the sea while searching for her glasses. She managed to get out but was short of breath and oxygen had to be administered. She was later shifted to Candolim primary health center. Her condition is reported to be stable. Last week Drishti issued an advisory against swimming in the sea as conditions were expected to be rough with fast currents and high waves due to fierce winds, thunderstorms and rain likely to hit the state. Red flags have been erected across all beaches that are under Drishti’s surveillance indicating that these are strictly no-swin zones.
Calangute: Director general of police Jaspal Singh recently held an interactive meeting with tourism stakeholders from the Calangute-Candolim beach-belt to discuss law and order issues. Panchayat members were also present for the meeting. Singh said police have been receiving many complaints from tourists about being assaulted by security guards at nightclubs and other touristic places. He urged the stakeholders not to take the law into their own hands. “Tourists are our guests. One should not take law into their own hands, the law enforcement agencies are there to take care of any untoward incident or if a tourist creates a problem after getting drunk,” he said. “If one has any issue, dial 112, and within 10-15 minutes, a PCR (police control room) vehicle will be at the site as the number is connected to the police headquarters,” the DGP further added.
CALANGUTE: Two children’s parks in Candolim, inaugurated a few years ago, are lying locked and unused, reportedly because of management issues. One of the two parks, at the Sinquerim plateau, opposite the St Lawrence church, had been inaugurated a few years ago. Built through ZP funds by Calangute ZP member Dattaprasad Dabholkar, the park also has a jogging track. Dabholkar said the park, built on land belonging to the St Lawrence church, is lying locked because of differences between the church committee and the Candolim panchayat. “The committee was supposed to hand over the park to the panchayat for operations and maintenance, but it has not been done,” Dabholkar told TOI. Another children’s park at the Candolim beach promenade is also not being used although a large number of tourists along with children visit the area. The park, inaugurated by former chief minister Manohar Parrikar four years ago and built by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) through central government’s ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme, was also supposed to be handed over to the panchayat, but that too has still not been done. There is a concrete stage inside the park which was supposed to host music shows and other performances. Tourism stakeholders said the parks should be kept open so that visiting tourist children can play there. “What is the use of building them and keeping them locked?” they said. Another park with a jogging track at Khobrawaddo, Calangute, the foundation stone for which was laid just before the last assembly elections, has now hit a roadblock with the Calangute MLA now in the opposition, panchayat members said.
Staff ReporterCalanguteTaking cognisance of complaints of tourists being beaten up, harassed and cheated in the beach belt of Calangute, DGP Jaspal Singh held a meeting and interacted with the tourism stakeholders.Speaking at the meeting, the DGP said that it has been brought to our notice that tourists are being beaten up by bouncers and some were even seriously injured, adding that there are two such cases that have come to light.“Tourists are our guests and one should not take law into their own hands; the law agencies are there to take care of any untoward incident or if a tourist creates problem after being drunk,” the DGP said.He said that the tourism stakeholders have the right to employ bouncers to protect their properties but one should restrain from taking law into their own hands.“There were incidents that have pained me wherein tourists were assaulted and they even had their bones fractured; complaints have been received by my office,” he noted.He said that “Goa is known to be safe for women; this certificate has been given by a professional agency employed by the Government of India. Tourists come to the state to enjoy and unwind themselves. They need to be treated well so that they come back to the state.”“If one has any issue dial 112; within 10 to 15 minutes a PCR will be at the site as this number is connected to the headquarters. 1000 cases have been solved following complaints on this number,” he said. Other top police officials were also present for the meeting.Some locals pointed out that the police were not acting on complaints given by the residents regarding dance bars, touts.“Tourists drink and roam with liquor bottles on the roads, touts are tarnishing the image of the beach belt, prostitutes are roaming freely, there are dance bars that are operating illegally and so also massage parlours but the police have turned a Nelson’s eye to these illegalities,” they alleged.Calangute sarpanch Shawn Martins said that “dance bars are being operated by outsiders who are well connected and as such police are under pressure not to stop such illegal businesses,” he alleged.Sarpanch of Candolim Blaize Fernandes said that “beggars in the beach belt have an organised network; this needs to be stopped as they are harassing the tourists. More traffic police personnel are needed during the weekends as there are traffic jams in Candolim.”
Panaji: The public spat between opposition leader Michael Lobo and town and country planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane continued, with Rane telling the Calangute MLA to stop playing the victim card over the probe into the outline development plans (ODPs). Rane said that a “detailed investigation” will be launched into conversion of land when the Parra-Arpora-Nagoa and Calangute-Candolim ODPs were formulated, after which legal action will be initiated. A day earlier, Lobo had accused Rane and the BJP of hounding and targeting the opposition. “I would like to mention to the leader of the opposition that using public office for personal gains is not acceptable. He should refrain from playing the victim,” said Rane. Rane also said that all eco-sensitive land that was illegally converted will be reverted back to its original state. On Wednesday, Rane took to Twitter to announce that TCP’s scrutiny committee has identified irregularities in the ODPs of Parra-Arpora-Nagoa and Candolim-Calangute. Rane also said that a former NGPDA chairman violated norms by getting their own land converted. Lobo refuted Rane’s allegations and said that Rane is engaging in “vindictive politics” by suspending the ODPs and by pointing fingers at Lobo. “Let’s wait for the report to come out, survey by survey, the report will be shared with the citizens of the state of Goa,” said Rane. He said that Lobo’s attempts to shift the blame “authenticates the fact that there are a lot of wrongdoings” in Calangute-Candolim and the Parra-Nagoa-Parra.
Calangute: Leader of the opposition MLA Michael Lobo said he is not under any pressure to stop criticising the BJP-led government. Asked why he is keeping quiet about the government functioning, Lobo said they have decided to give the government some time. “It’s not that we are keeping quiet. The government has just been formed. To criticise a government which is there because they won (the election) is not right. We have decided to give the government a couple of months, to see what they’re going to do. The assembly session is coming up next month, we will see then,” he said told reporters at Calangute on Thursday. Lobo said that Congress has been raising issues like the rise in prices of essential items like fuel, cooking gas and food items. “We had given a memorandum when LPG prices went up. These issues concern us all, irrespective of which party we belong to. Even BJP workers should raise these issues,” the leader of the opposition said.
Panaji: The town and country planning department’s scrutiny committee, which was tasked with identifying irregularities in the outline development plans (ODPs), has found several “shocking” irregularities, particularly in the Parra-Arpora-Nagoa ODP, said TCP minister Vishwajit Rane. Rane’s statement could spell further trouble for opposition leader Michael Lobo. Rane said that a former chairman of the North Goa planning and development authority misused his authority to convert their own land. As BJP’s Calangute MLA in the previous government, Lobo served as NGPDA chairman prior to his induction into the cabinet by the earlier Pramod Sawant cabinet in 2019. “Some people at high-level positions, former chairmen of the PDA who were instrumental in preparing the ODPs have converted their own properties while holding office,” said Rane. “It amounts to (liability for) prosecution under the Prevention and Corruption Act for using public office for personal gains. Several such irregularities have also been identified in the ODP of Nagao, Parra, and others, where high-rise buildings have been approved without having proper access.” Rane also said that the 10-member scrutiny committee has noticed that several tenanted and khazan lands have been converted, along with no-development slopes that exceed the 35% gradient permissible limit. “It's interesting to compare the Calangute-Candolim ODP to the newly-created ODP. These irregularities are shocking to say the least,” said Rane. “All information, survey number by survey number, will be shared once the committee has completed its review.” Prior to the February 14 assembly elections, Lobo ditched BJP and joined Congress. After Rane took charge of the TCP department, he immediately called for all ODPs to be suspended and scrutinized. A committee headed by chief town planner Rajesh Naik has been asked to probe the ODP formulation process. Lobo already has an FIR registered against him and his wife for allegedly engaging in hill cutting and land filling. “It is important to have planning consultants on board to monitor such wrongdoings. I am confident that the committee headed by the chief town planner will make necessary changes to protect Goa’s uniqueness while also maintaining total transparency in the department of TCP,” said Rane. Rane said that details of all the irregularities, including the survey numbers, will be shared once the committee completes its review within the stipulated time frame of 60 days. The committee has met just once to scrutinise the ODPs. “It is worth noting that several wrongdoings have been highlighted by the committee. In the interest of the state and to preserve its uniqueness, it is necessary to correct these wrongdoings,” said Rane.
Calangute: Members of the Calangute Constituency Forum (CCF) on Wednesday met Candolim sarpanch Blaize Fernandes and urged him to find a solution to the foul stench emanating from the garbage treatment plant (GTP) at Saligao. Fernandes told them that he has brought it to the notice of the plant’s management. He also expressed hope for an early solution. Waste management minister Atanasio Monserrate had recently assured the CCF that he would visit the affected areas to gauge the situation. “But now we have seen a statement from him that there is hardly any stench,” CCF president Premanand Divkar said, referring to some media reports.
Staff ReporterCalanguteThe Calangute panchayat secretary is facing ire of the villagers over restaurant licence issued to a Delhi party.The restaurant in question has come up next to the Souza Lobo restaurant in Calangute.The Delhi party has purchased a property next to the Souza Lobo restaurant, however the matter is in the court and even a demolition order was passed against the structure over alleged CRZ violation.When the panchayat secretary Bheldas Karapurkar was contacted over the issue, he said he was new in Calangute panchayat and was not aware of the issues concerning the restaurant.“Neither the panchayat staff nor the panch members informed me about the issues,” he claimed.However, in the next meeting the restaurant licence will be revoked, he stated. According to Calangute panchayat sources, a demolition notice, dated March 2021, was issued, revoking construction licence granted earlier in 2019.Fifteen days’ time was given to demolish the structure, failing which the panchayat had said that it would initiate the demolition process onits own.However, due to COVID pandemic, the panchayat could not go ahead with the demolition of the structure.The M/s Convention Hotels Pvt Ltd had approached the director of panchayats appealing against the demolition order, but no stay or restraining order was issued in favour of the appellant and the demolition order of the panchayat stands valid and executable till date, it is stated.Panchayat sources claimed that a panchayat member was instrumental in obtaining NOC for the structure to function as a restaurant.Panch F. Rodrigues said that the CRZ authority had given permission for repair and renovation of house No. 5 /154 in 2018 and on that basis, the restaurant licence was issued by passing a resolution.
Panaji: From catching thieves, making rescues to tracing lost children and attending to a medical emergency, Drishti lifesavers had a busy weekend. Lifesavers in Calangute handed over a trio of thieves to the police after noticing three persons running away with stolen bags. They immediately swung to action and pursued the thieves in a chase. The stolen items were later returned to their owners. The weekend also witnessed six rescues at Calangute, Miramar, Morjim, Palolem and Dudhsagar. A 26-year-old male from Telangana was rescued using a rescue tube at Dudhsagar waterfall, while a 30-year-old man from Hubbali was rescued at Calangute beach by lifesaver Suvesh Keluskar with a rescue tube. A heavily intoxicated 51-year-old from Pune got caught in a rip current and was rescued at Miramar beach, where Drishti’s lifesavers Diptesh Parwar and Swapnil Khardolkar immediately sprung to action and rescued the victim with the aid of a surfboard and rescue tube. In Morjim, a 33-year-old local male from Bicholim was rescued by Drishti’s lifesavers Dyaneshwar Mahale and Anand Parab using a rescue tube and surfboard respectively. A double rescue in Palolem involved a couple from Karwar who were kayaking and suddenly fell into the deep water. Lifesavers Laxman Sangekar and Adarsh Velip rushed into the water and rescued them with the aid of a jetski. In a medical emergency, a 19-year-old male from Bihar who sustained a bite while in the water at Calangute beach was given first aid. Lifesavers also reunited five missing children with their parents at Colva beach, and two at Baga and Calangute beaches. All the children were returned to their respective families by the lifesavers after confirmation and in the presence of police officials.
CALANGUTE: On a busy weekend, Drishti lifeguards nabbed three persons who attempted to flee after stealing bags from tourists at Calangute beach on Saturday. According to Drishti, lifeguards who noticed the three thieves running away with the bags of tourists who were enjoying themselves in the water, jumped into action, pursued them in a chase, caught them and handed the trio over to police officials. The stolen items were returned back to their owners. Besides this, a 30-year-old male tourist from Hubbali was rescued by lifeguards at Calangute beach. In another incident of a medical emergency at Calangute, lifeguards administered first-aid to a 19-year-old male tourist from Bihar who suffered a bite injury, suspected of a crab, while in the water. There were several lost and found cases involving children over the weekend, two of them at Baga and one at Calangute. All the children were returned to their respective families by the lifesavers after confirmation and in the presence of police officials.
Panaji: The 10-member scrutiny committee appointed by the Town and Country Planning (TCP) department began the process to review the three outline development plans (ODPs) of Calangute-Candolim, Parra-Nagoa-Arpora and Mormugao, which were suspended by the department recently. The committee has sought additional data from the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) and the Mormugao Planning and Development Authority (MPDA). Chief town planner Rajesh Naik, who heads the committee, convened the first meeting and briefed other members about the process of drafting the ODPs. “We broadly discussed what should be the way forward to review and examine the ODPs that have been suspended. With that, PDAs are now required to give us more data and place all documents before the committee on which basis the scrutiny will be done,” said Naik. The ODPs for Calangute-Candolim, Parra-Arpora-Nagoa and Mormugao were finalised and notified but TCP minister Vishwajit Rane recently decided to suspend the ODPs citing major discrepancies. Naik said that the committee will endeavour to complete the scrutiny within the stipulated 60 days. “As of now we just had broad discussions on ODPs, the preparation of ODPs, what were the government directions issued to the PDAs and how they have complied with the directions and how the PDA planned the ODPs. A detailed analysis of all the ODPs will be placed before the next meeting to deliberate and scrutiny further,” said Naik. The committee will meet again on May 13. Naik did say that the committee will not go into individual cases but will look into the criteria that decided the land use planning. “The timeline is given and we want to finish it before that. The PDAs will submit details of the complaints, objections and suggestions, court petitions that were filed and based on that further scrutiny will be done,” said Naik. Members from industry bodies including architects, engineers, town planners, builders and other representatives were present for the meeting.
Calangute: Calangute panchayat member Anthony Menezes on Wednesday announced that he along with others will field a panel, ‘Calangute against Corruption’, in the coming panchayat elections. Menezes, who was the TMC candidate in Calangute in the recently concluded assembly elections, also announced that he has resigned from the party. “A lot of people from Calangute asked me to join hands with them for the coming panchayat elections. Since they’re from different parties, I decided to resign from TMC and we will contest as ‘Calangute Against Corruption’,” he said.
Calangute: Existing water sports activities will continue till the end of the season according to water sports operators in the Calangute-Candolim tourism hub. Candolim-based water sports operator Seby D’Souza told TOI that the announcement by the tourism minister about “freezing” permissions for water sports activities refers to only new registrations, and none of the ongoing water sports activities will be stopped. A section of the media reported on Tuesday that water sports activities will be stopped. “I had a meeting with the tourism minister yesterday to discuss the new policy for water sports and beach shacks. From what I understand, they want water sports operators to first register with the tourism department and then register with the Captain of Ports (CoP). We explained to him that the CoP has to first certify the fitness of the boats which is the existing system. Under the existing system we don’t register with the tourism department so he wants to change that and bring us under the tourism trade act,” D’Souza, who is the vice-president of the shack owners’ welfare society (SOWS), said. tnn
NGPDA files police complaint against them over Parra propertyPanaji/Mapusa: The North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) on Monday filed a complaint with the Mapusa police against Opposition leader Michael Lobo and his MLA wife Delilah Lobo over the alleged land filling at Parra in Bardez taluka.However, Town and Country Planning Minister Vishwajit Rane maintained that “in violation of the Section 17A and 17B of TCP Act, 1974, an FIR has been filed against Michael Lobo and his wife Delilah Lobo for land filling and tree-cutting at Parra”.The NGPDA asked the police to register an FIR against the Opposition leader and Delilah Lobo under Section 17-B of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1974 for illegally filling mud in a low-lying paddy field bearing survey number 10/8, 9, 10 at Parra.Michael Lobo is Congress’ Calangute MLA, while his wife represents Siolim constituency forthe Congress. Michael Lobo refuted the charges made in the letter claiming that the property shown in the photographs posted on the social media by the TCP Minister is not owned by them, and that Rane is trying to defame them.On March 17, 2022, the NGPDA issued a show-cause notice to the Lobo couple in this matter.Assistant engineer of the NGPDA Vikram Tengse in his letter to police inspector of Mapusa police station stated that the authority was in receipt of a letter on November 11, 2020 from deputy town planner of town and country planning department, Mapusa from Rama Matondkar, which stated that access to his property has been blocked by the Lobos.“Accordingly the site was inspected on September 7, 2021 and noticed that property bearing survey number 10/8 and 10/10 of Parra village is filled up to adjoining road level and mud filling is done of 4.00 mts width approximately in survey number 10/9 of Parra village without taking permission under section 17A of TCP act, 1974,” it stated.The letter further said that Matondkar had filed a writ petition before High Court against the said land filling upon which the court directed to the authority on March 2, 2022 to take action in terms of the law based on the prima facie material in the form of inspection report of a flying squad.“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to file (an) FIR against Michael Lobo and Delilah Lobo, residents of Bhatti Vaddo, Parra Bardez for filling mud in (a) low-lying paddy field bearing survey number 108, 9, and 10 of Parra village under Section 17B of TCP Act, 1974,” said the letter addressed to the police inspector.Reacting to the Michael Lobo’s statement, Rane tweeted, “Why is the term land mafia offensive to Lobo?”“I would like to draw the attention of the leader of Opposition to the fact – there are one PIL, 10 civil appeals, 3 PILs and 60 civil appeals in the court, of which 30 miscellaneous appeals have been dismissed,” Rane maintained.He also alleged that mangroves and saltpans have been converted, and a petition has been filed in this regard.The Opposition leader should not look upon the development as a political witch hunt, but rather as an act of cleansing of all illegalities committed in Calangute and Candolim, the TCP Minister said.“Experts will scrutinise all the matters and everything will be revealed in the next 60 days,” he added.Taking still yet another dig at the Lobos, Rane in his tweet asked: why would so many people petition the court if everything was in line? Isn’t it responsible governance to take cognisance and pause on sub judice matters?There is a similar case of 90,000 sq. mt. of land in survey number 92 of Marra village purchased by an influential person, Rane claimed.“The area is under natural cover and illegally converted as an ‘outline development plan’ for settlement. We will submit this to the committee for review. Such transgressions will not be tolerated,” he said.Addressing at a press conference at Parra, the Opposition leader said that he will meet the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant over the issue and will write a letter to him.He said the TCP Minister posted on social media wrong photographs over the issue of the alleged land filling and hill-cutting.“…My property is being developed as a farm after taking all permission from all authorities. We want to grow vegetables which will be used for our restaurant and hotels and not undertake any construction. It looks like we are being targeted for being in Opposition,” the Calangute MLA stated.“He (Rane) is trying to target me at the behest of someone. He wants to show somebody that he is a capable minister to handle the Opposition. This is political revenge. Rane wants to become holier than cow,” Opposition leader maintained.AICC incharge of Goa desk Dinesh Gundu Rao said the filing of the complaint against Michael Lobo and Delilah Lobo is an act of vindictive politics by the TCP Minister.“You have got an opportunity to govern Goa again for 5 more years; use that period judiciously; don’t use it to settle scores,” Rao tweeted.