Panaji: The state’s plans for heli tourism that were grounded since 2016 following protests by Sinquerim locals, took off on Friday after a private agency, Blade India, an urban air mobility company, launched the state’s first helicopter service from the helipad at Aguada. The Blade India announced three rides — connecting airport to South and North Goa, charter service from Maharashtra and within Goa and a 10-minute experiential flights giving a bird’s eye view of the state’s coastline. Five years ago, the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) had to discontinue the project after local fishing community and villagers, supported by some local politicians, raised objections to the use of the same helipad. The GTDC tried to operate the service by moving it to South Goa, but it had to be discontinued for logistic reasons. Chief minister Pramod Sawant who launched the service exuded confidence that there won’t be “opposition” now and appreciated Blade India for taking the risk. “There was an opposition, then but I don’t think people will oppose these kind of services, now,” Sawant said replying to a query. Last year, the GTDC had commissioned a helipad at Old Goa and declared that it will re-launch the helicopter service. Sawant said that it could not start since permission from CRZ authority is awaited. In the past, the project was delayed as GTDC had to finalise a location for a helipad and later since it had to retender to select a service provider. Having a helicopter service in Goa, Sawant said, will boost tourism and help the tourists explore the hinterlands of the state. “The government will help the agency in getting permissions required to commence operations,” Sawant said. Blade India has identified landing points in Surla and Sanquelim in North Goa. The company’s founder Karanpal Singh said they will use the present infrastructure and also create new helipads with the help of the government. Blade India’s strategic partner Airbus Helicopters’ India and South Asia head Sunny Guglani said despite having rich flora and fauna, the country has not been able to attract more tourists as it is hard to reach the interiors. “We need solutions to connect potential tourists both foreign and Indian and create economic opportunities. Goa has beautiful beaches, forts and waterfalls. I think helicopters can play a pivotal role in unlocking the true potential of Goa,” he said. Goa can lead the way for the rest of the country, Gunglani said. Copter service can be used for medical emergencies: CM TNN Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said Blade India’s helicopter services in the state can be used in case of medical emergencies, an option that was not available in the past. “In a medical emergency, where a patient needs to be immediately shifted to a hospital, wherever needed, the helicopter service can be availed. Sometimes, it takes two hours to transport a patient to a medical facility via road,” Sawant said. Goans and other travellers, he said, will also have the option of choosing helicopter service to visit nearby cities in Maharashtra or Karnataka, and help increase connectivity and also promote medical tourism. The chief minister said people from other neighbouring cities of Maharashtra and Karnataka will certainly use the helicopter services.
Panaji: At least a dozen Siolim residents have been issued notices by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) after they were found to have carried out constructions encroaching on government property. Additional collector-I North Goa drew up a list of violators, as per which the offenders were found to be encroaching on government land and violating CRZ laws. “The mamlatdar of Bardez, Mapusa, has forwarded the list of violators along with the photographs to the office of the collector, North Goa district, Panaji. Based on the list forwarded by the additional collector the following alleged illegal construction resulting violation of CRZ Notification 2011 are noticed,” the GCZMA said in its show cause notice to the offenders. Most of the alleged violators have sought time to respond and the GCZMA will now be hearing all 12 matters on June 9, 2022. The GCZMA said that hearings against the alleged offenders are part of an exercise to ensure that CRZ notification 2011 is not violated. Constructions along Goa’s coast have increased drastically over the years. The CRZ notification issued first in 1991 prohibited any construction 200m from the coast which was to be considered a no-development zone. The notification regulated construction between 200m and 500m from the coast. Except for the reconstruction and repairs of pre-existing structures belonging to traditional fishing communities on the existing plinth, no other constructions were to be permitted.
PANAJI: Even as there are 56,467 cases pending in Goa’s lower courts, just 4.7% of these — of 2,674 cases — are pending for over a decade. A large majority of pending cases, over 60%, are ones filed up to three years ago, while the figures for prolonged pendency has stablised in recent years. The National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) shows that an important reason for pendency is the court's issuing stay on matters. However, three other major reasons for pendency are beyond the court’s control — non-availability of the lawyer, long wait for document submission, and one or more accused persons absconding or not appearing. Of the 56,467 total pending cases in Goa, 30,886 are criminal cases and 25,581 are civil matters. Goa is known to have a good ratio of judges. The disposal rate of cases is also satisfactory, with 2,469 cases — 1,552 criminal and 917 civil matters — disposed of last month alone. This indicates that pendency remains high mainly due to the fast pace at which new matters are filed in the state’s courts. In 2021 alone, 11,336 new cases were filed in Goa’s lower courts. Barely four months into 2022, already almost 6,000 (5,946 to be precise) new cases have appeared before the courts in Goa. The number of cases filed in North Goa were higher than those filed in South Goa. This also means that the pendency of cases in North Goa was more than double that of South Goa. There are a total of 40,379 cases pending in North Goa district, as compared to only 16,088 in South Goa. Of the total cases pending in the state, 14% (7,952) are those filed by senior citizens and 13% (7,313) are matters filed by women. There are also 220 cases pending for more than 30 years in the lower courts, of which only one is a criminal matter and the remaining 219 are civil cases. Another 568 cases were pending for between 20 and 30 years. Six years ago, in May 2016, more than 8,000 cases were pending in Goa for more than ten years. This figure came down in 2017 to around 2,500 and has remained stable since.
Staff ReporterPanajiAfter much delay, Goa’s first genome sequencing facility has been made operational at the North Goa District Hospital (NGDH) in Mapusa.Even though the facility is yet to be certified by the INSACOG forum of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Directorate of Health Services has claimed that it is at par with the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV).The INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) has been set up by the Union Health Ministry to study and monitor genome sequencing and virus variation of circulating strains of COVID-19 in India.Addressing a press conference in Panaji, state epidemiologist Dr. Utkarsh Betodkar said that from now onwards the genome analysis will be carried out in the new facility at the North Goa DistrictHospital.It is pertinent to note that the genome study ascertains the different variants of the coronavirus that are in circulation in Goa.“INSACOG certification is only for reporting under national level and for just national recognition. We have applied with them and the process is on. Our quality check is with NIV, which is a hub laboratory for our state. They have already certified it…gone through, and we have made it functional. Now onwards, samples from Goa will be tested at our new facility at NGDH,” Dr. Betodkar said. Previously, in the absence of a genome sequencing facility in the state, samples drawn from different parts of the state were sent either to the NIV orthe National Centre for Cell Science, which is also based in Pune.A medical team of the NGDH,headed by the district hospital’s senior pathologist Dr. Varsha Munj,had undergone two-day training formaking the genome sequencing facility operational at the hospital.Dr. Betodkar informed that recent reports received from the NIV Pune have revealed that Omicron sublineage BA.2 has been the dominant variant in Goa in the last four months. “During the third wave, two strains of Omicron were there in Goa –B.1.1.529and BA 2. But in the last two months only BA 2 is prevalent,” he said.
Panaji: Union minister for state Shripad Naik’s son Siddesh Naik has been elected unopposed as new north Goa zilla panchayat (ZP) chairperson on Monday. Siddesh said that he will try to seek more powers in the functioning of ZP. In the recently-held assembly polls, BJP had denied Siddesh a party ticket. Siddesh said, “I will take everyone together and take up development work. Since the first ZP formation there was always a demand from members for more power to ZP and it still exits.” He also said that ZP constituency is half of the assembly constituency. “I think ZP should get more powers and I will try to get it. I thank panchayat minister Mauvin Godinho for trying to give more powers to ZP,” he said. Siddesh also said that he will meet the minister to discuss further about seeking more powers for ZP. He added that ZP has proposed to the government to construct a ZP bhavan, and said that he will seek help from his father who is the Union minister to get more funds from the Centre. He also said that the state government has increased funds for ZP functioning and this has made more funds available for development work. He added that these funds will be utilised for development work in Corlim also.
PANAJI: Union minister for state Shripad Naik’s son Siddesh Naik has been elected unopposed as new north Goa zilla panchayat (ZP) chairperson on Monday. Siddesh said that he will try to seek more powers in the functioning of ZP. In the recently held assembly polls BJP had denied Siddesh a party ticket. Siddesh said, “I will take everyone together and take up development work. Since the first ZP formation there was always a demand from members for more power to ZP and it still exits.” “I think ZP should get more powers and I will try to get it. I thank panchayat minister Mauvin Godinho for trying to give more powers to ZP,” he said. Siddesh also said that he will meet the minister to discuss further about seeking more power for ZP. He added that ZP has proposed to the government to construct a ZP bhavan and said that he will seek help from his father who is the Uion minister to get more funds from the Centre. He also said that the state government has increased funds for ZP functioning and this has made more funds available for development work. He added that these funds will be utilised for development work in Corlim also.
Panaji: Union Minister of State for Tourism and Ports, Shipping and Waterways Shripad Naik’s son and BJP’s Corlim Zilla Panchayat (ZP) member Siddhesh Naik on Friday filed his nomination papers for the post of adhyaksha (chairperson) of North Goa ZP. The post has fallen vacant after Kartik Kudnekar resigned following the directions of the BJP.The scrutiny of the nomination papers as well as the election will take place on May 9 at the conference hall secretariat, Porvorim.If Siddhesh Naik’s nomination papers are found valid then he would be declared as elected unopposed as no other ZP member has filed the nomination.Interacting with mediapersons after filing his nomination papers, Naik thanked the BJP leadership for nominating him for the post of chairperson of North Goa ZP.“If I get elected then I will ensure creation of infrastructure in all 25 constituencies and also push for construction of ZP Bhavan,” he said.
Margao: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday said that almost all health-related issues have their origin in one’s mind and that, therefore, in order to lead a happy and peaceful life, one should strive to have peace of mind. Speaking at the inaugural function of a three-day satsang programme organised by the Akhil Gomantak Siddharudh Sampradaya, Sawant said that the discourses at the satsang will help people achieve peace of mind and consequently, help them lead a happy life. “Prem (love), bhakti (devotion to God) and sadhana (spiritual practice). If one strives to understand the significance of even these three aspects, he will be able to experience peace of mind and help him lead a happy life. It’s difficult to remain healthy if one doesn’t have peace of mind. Sickness originates from one’s mind, and its root cause is linked to peace of mind or rather the lack of it,” Sawant said. North Goa MP Shripad Naik, Margao MLA Digambar Kamat, Navelim MLA Ulhas Tuyekar, chairperson of Margao Municipal Council, Lyndon Periera, were among those present on the dais.
Panaji: Goa reported six new Covid cases on Friday with nil hospitalisations and nil deaths. A total of 469 samples were tested with a case positivity rate of 1.28%. Goa’s case positivity rate crossed the one percent mark twice this week, after several weeks. Active cases are at 44, the highest since April 2. Goa’s weekly positivity rate is 0.94% for North Goa and 0.82% for South Goa between April 22 and April 28.
Staff ReporterPanajiThe number of COVID cases doubled in Goa on Wednesday with the detection of 14 fresh cases.On Tuesday, Goa had logged seven fresh cases at a positivity rate of 1.23%.The test positivity rate recorded on Wednesday is 0.97% and the tally of active cases has risen to 39 in the state.Fortunately, no new death linked to the dreaded virus was reported in the last 24 hours.Two patients were declared as recovered in the last 24 hours andthe overall recovery rate in the state continues to be at 98.43%.The confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Goa currently stand at 2,45,409 of which 2,41,538 patients have defeated the deadly disease. Till date, 3,832 patients have died due to COVID-19 in the state.Meanwhile, amid a rise in fresh COVID-19 cases across the country, the public health department on Wednesday issued an advisory asking citizens to continue wearing masks at all public places.In an official communiqué, the department has urged people to continue observing all appropriate COVID behaviour as important preventivemeasures against the virus.It is pertinent to note that on Monday the expert committee of doctors had opined that the emergence of fourth COVID wave cannot be ruled out and hadrecommended wearing of face masks in public places and closed rooms.
Panaji: Goa reported six new cases of Covid infections and nil deaths on Sunday. With this, the total number of positive cases has now gone up to 25. Meanwhile, a total of 711 samples were tested and the case positivity rate currently stands at 0.84%. The state has reported 3,832 Covid deaths, 2.45 lakh cases and over 31,000 hospitalisations since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Goa’s recovery rate stands at 98.43 percent.
Panaji: The Crime Branch of Goa Police booked former State Bank of India (SBI) treasury branch, Panaji, bank manager Rakesh Kumar for allegedly siphoning off funds from the bank to the tune of Rs1.89 crore. The branch has registered a first information report (FIR) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including section 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant) and under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The complaint was filed by Dnyaneshwar M Thakre, regional manager (North Goa - SBI), regional business office-I, Panaji. Police said that the incident came to light when the manager was transferred from the branch. Police inspector Satish Gawade said that the accused, Rakesh Kumar, being a public servant and working as a manager at SBI has misused his official position and falsified the branch general ledger (BGL) account of SBI and “dishonestly siphoned off the said funds from the BGL account to his demat account in IIFL securities ltd, Mumbai by electronic means and the said amount was converted by him for his personal use.” Police is further investigating the case.
Panaji: The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) has issued directions to a resort in Ashvem, Pernem, to stop all commercial activities while proceedings against it are on. The authority received several complaints in 2018 and 2019 alleging that the hotel was an illegal construction violating CRZ norms. The complaints were forwarded to the North Goa district level committee, while carried out an inspection and confirmed that the structures needed to be removed as they were constructed without obtaining the necessary permissions. A panchnama by the Mandrem village panchayat showed that nine ground-plus-one structures had been illegally constructed. It was seen that cement was also used in the CRZ area for the construction. “The respondent (alleged violator) had admitted that commercial activities are being carried out and had sought for time to reply on two occasions. The authority decided to grant the time with further directions to stop all commercial activities in the property,” the GCZMA said. The deputy collector for Pernem has also been directed to seal the premises if commercial activities are found to be carried out.
Panaji: Even as he scans the wide blue expanse for any signs of a swimmer in distress, head lifeguard Milind Korde is ever alert and receptive to trouble closer on land as he is approached by a distraught woman looking for her ‘lost’ spouse. From saving sea bathers to finding missing children and now even husbands, Korde says that theirs is an ever expanding set of responsibilities. Besides them, police personnel posted on beaches also help find missing kids and spouses. “There are several cases of missing husbands being reported to us. We find them a few meters away on the same beach. It is likely that the man may have moved away to explore the beach on his own,” says Korde, who oversees South Goa as head lifeguard instructor for Drishti Marine that provides lifeguarding services to the tourism department. It is quite understandable for visitors unused to beaches to lose their bearings as the sandy expanse takes on an uniform appearance to them, says Korde. “For them, a beach is a beach and everything looks the same being new to Goa.” In the case of male tourists getting separated from the family group, it is mostly the wife who comes frantically to us asking that we find her missing husband, he says, adding that in many such cases, the husband has left his cellphone with the wife for safekeeping before stepping into the sea and there is no way for her to contact him. A sector head for North Goa, Drishti Marine, Amit Mahale says locating a person, whether a child or adult, on a crowded beach is a bit difficult, but they manage nevertheless. At times the husband is found at the hotel they are staying at. “The husband, after not finding his wife on the beach or at the spot he left her, returns to the hotel,” says Mahale, adding that they have handled several such cases. “Initially we would find it amusing when a wife would come to report a husband gone missing literally from infront of her, but now we understand how the events may have unfolded,” he says. On Monday, a 22-year-old tourist was reported missing by his friends at Morjim beach. Lifeguard Aman Salgaonkar located him within twenty minutes around 400m away. “He was united with his friends,” says Salgaonkar. During holidays and extended holidays the beaches of Colva-Benaulim in South Goa, and Calangute, Candolim, Baga and Sinquerim in North Goa get very crowded. Domestic tourists are now venturing up to the northern beaches of Arambol, Morjim and Mandrem. Of these, Arambol beach sees the maximum footfalls, though the numbers are still less compared to Calangute and Candolim, says Mahale.
Panaji: In the case involving the rape of a minor allegedly by a constable, doctors at the North Goa district hospital and a private hospital had failed to report it to Goa police, investigation has revealed. A senior police officer said that as per the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, doctors have to report such cases to police. A senior police officer attached to the women police station said that they are investigating the role of doctors in the case and action will be taken accordingly. The manager of a private hotel where the accused would take the minor and abuse her has also been made accused in the case. Police said that the manager has filed for anticipatory bail. The accused, police said, would not register his name at the hotel. The women police station has already arrested constable Manjunath Koli, a driver attached to the motor transport section, for raping the minor girl for one year at the private hotel. The incident came to light when the 15-year-old girl complained of a severe stomach ache. Police said that her mother immediately took her to a government hospital in North Goa from where she was referred to the North Goa district hospital for a sonography. Here, the examining doctor found that the minor was one month pregnant. Instead of informing the police, they called the minor’s parents after two days. However, in the meanwhile, the constable’s wife took the girl to a private doctor and got an abortion done, and the girl’s family did not land up taking her to the North Goa district hospital, police said. Police said that when the girl’s family asked her about her pregnancy, she revealed that the constable was her friend and they had had intercourse several times at a private hotel. Police said that after the abortion, the girl’s family approached a well-wisher to resolve the issue, who arranged for a meeting of both families. The well-wisher tried to resolve the issue, but later, the survivor’s family approached the police to register an FIR against the accused. Police then registered a case of rape.
Panaji: While water levels in most of Goa’s reservoirs presently stand at 55-60% a few weeks after the arrival of summer, the water levels in the Tillari reservoir in Maharashtra have been recorded at 65%. The Tillari reservoir was jointly constructed by the Maharashtra and Goa governments and water from the dam helps Goa meet the drinking and irrigation water requirements in North Goa. Tillari dam is in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, on the Tillari River, which is known as the Chapora once it winds into Goa. The dam provides water to three sub-districts of North Goa - Bicholim, Pernem and Bardez, the latter two being Goa’s tourism hub. These three talukas in Goa are heavily dependent on raw water from Tillari dam to meet their drinking water and irrigation needs, even more so during the summer. However, despite good water in storage, over the last couple of years, supply from Tillari has been marred by constant breaches in canals. It was found that the canals on Maharashtra’s side were poorly maintained. To help resolve this problem, chief minister Pramod Sawant has mooted a pipeline to carry the water up to Goa’s borders. Construction of the Tillari dam began in 1986 following a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the Goa and Maharashtra governments at an estimated cost of Rs 212 crore. The MoU stated that Maharashtra would give 73% of water from the dam to Goa. When it was finally commissioned in 2009, the cost of Tillari dam had escalated to Rs 1,612 crore.
Panaji: Goa reported two new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday and no deaths. The state has been reporting under 10 daily infections for 17 days straight. It has also been recording zero deaths for the past 20 days. The count of active cases stands at 19 and has stayed under the 20-mark for the tenth consecutive day. On Wednesday, 537 samples were tested with a case positivity rate of 0.37%. For the week from April 12 to 18, the weekly positivity rate for North Goa has been 0.52% and 0.67% for South Goa. Majority of the tests carried out were RT-PCR tests. There were two recoveries over the past 24 hours. The recovery rate is at 98.4%. tnn
Staff ReporterMapusaThe Congress party will write to the state government regarding power woes which people of coastal areas in North Goa are facing despite paying electricity bills and request the government to act on the files pertaining to improvement of infrastructure and issue work order, said Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo.He further said that if there is no money then the government should avail loans to improve the infrastructure.Lobo said that the power crisis is growing in the coastal areas of Bardez and other parts North Goa, and every 10-15 minutes, there is a power cut and despite paying bills, locals are going through hardships due to frequent power cuts as load shedding is taken up.He also said, “Since the last 10 years, we have been talking about power woes. We have got to know that we are getting power but we don’t have a transformer to store. Even Saligao sub-station plant, which was proposed to built at a cost of around Rs 186 crore to Rs 200 crore, which will cater to Bardez, is still pending.”“The plan for Saligao substation plant was processed and expression of interest was done and work was also tendered but at the time of issuing the work order, it was put on hold and still nothing has been done. I feel there is a need to improve power infrastructure in the state,” said Lobo. He further said that the government has been putting off the work of improvement of power and water infrastructure to the next financial budget year since the last number of years.“Industries are increasing, houses, flats, guest houses are increasing in the state, power consumption is increasing and we don’t have infrastructure to store incoming power. The same problem persists with water also. Tail-end constituency is not getting water. The government has to resolve electricity and water issues as water and power supply is fundamental right of everyone,” said Lobo.
Panaji: Goa reported two Covid-19 infections on Sunday, and has consistently been reporting less than ten daily cases for the past 15 days. Active cases are at 17 and have stayed under the 50-mark for 25 consecutive days. Goa has also continuously been reporting nil deaths for the past 18 days. On Sunday, 423 samples were tested with a case positivity rate of 0.4%. The state has been testing less than 1,000 samples for the past two weeks. The weekly positivity rate between April 10 to 16 was 0.6% for South Goa and 0.3% for North Goa tnn. More than 2.4 lakh persons tested positive and 3,832 died since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. The recovery rate currently stands at 98.4%.
Panaji: Goa reported a single Covid-19 case on Thursday for the second consecutive day. The state has been recording under ten daily cases for the 12th consecutive day. There have also been nil Covid deaths reported for the past 15 days. Daily hospitalisations have also been nil. The active tally is at 16 and has stayed under 100 for more than a month now. On Thursday, 325 samples were tested with a case positivity rate of 0.3%. For almost a fortnight now, Goa has been testing under 1,000 samples. The weekly positivity rate for South Goa between April 7 to 13 has been 0.7% compared to North Goa’s at 0.1%. There were three recoveries over the past 24 hours. The recovery rate is 98.4%.
Panaji: A four-year-old girl was raped in North Goa and police registered a case against unknown persons. So far 16 people have been rounded up and an investigation is under way, police said. The incident took place last month and police registered an FIR at the time. In her complaint, the mother stated that when she had gone out on work, she had kept her daughter with a friend. On returning home, she said she saw that her daughter was asleep. When she woke up, the mother said she noticed that her daughter was only wearing a T-shirt and disposable diaper. The minor had moved to Goa along with her mother nine months ago. The mother stated that when she took her daughter for a bath, she complained of a stomach pain and started crying while passing urine. “When I tried to check her private part, she would not allow me to do so,” the mother said. The mother stated that when she was at the Yoga centre with her daughter for a check-up, she noticed that some people were following her. “I felt something was wrong and called police for help. The pink police force approached me and brought me to the police station,” she said. “I suspect someone might have done something wrong, sexually abused my daughter,” she stated in her complaint.
Panaji: The women police station has arrested constable Manjunath Koli, a driver attached to the motor transport section, for allegedly raping a minor girl for one year at a private hotel in North Goa. The incident came to light when the 15-year-old girl complained of a severe stomachache. Police said that her mother immediately took her to a government hospital in North Goa. After her admission, the doctor advised the mother to have a sonography done at the North Goa district hospital. The report showed that the minor was one month pregnant. Police said that when the family enquired with her, she revealed that the constable was her friend and they had intercourse several times at a private hotel. Police said that Koli asked his wife to contact the minor girl’s family to convince them to go in for an abortion. The wife took the girl to a private hospital in North Goa, and a doctor prescribed some medicines and performed the abortion. Police said the doctor’s fees were paid by Koli’s wife. Police said that after the abortion, the minor’s family approached a well-wisher to resolve the issue, who arranged for a meeting of both the families. The well-wisher tried to resolve the issue, but later, the girl’s family approached the police to register an FIR against Koli. Police then registered a case of rape. Koli did not register his name in the private hotel’s record, police said. Women police station PI Sudiksha Naik said they arrested Koli in the case and the role of the doctor is being examined. Police said that action would be taken against all those people directly or indirectly involved in the case, if they find evidence of their involvement.
Panaji: The Panaji women police have arrested a police constable (driver) on charges of raping a minor girl.The police said on Friday that the accused Manjunath alias Umar Koli was produced before a Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) in North Goa and the court has remanded him to seven-day police custody. The police said a complaint in this regard was lodged by parent of the 15-year-old girl.Referring to the complaint, the police said the accused befriended the girl and had sexual intercourse with her on several occasions since June last year.Police informed that the First Information Report (FIR) has been registered under Indian Penal Code sections including 376 (rape), under the relevant sections of the Goa Children’s Act and also under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
State seeing an increase in pre- and post-monsoon showersAbdul Wahab Khan | PanajiGoa has been witnessing a shift in the pattern of rain it receives during the monsoon period, with an increase in the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon rain for three decades.This has been revealed by a new study that has been conducted by researchers at the Goa University, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Goa and the National Institute of Hydrology in Karnataka.The study has examined the significance and magnitude of trends in the monthly rainfall and the daily temperatures in Goa for a period of 33 years from 1980 to 2012 to understand the pattern of rainfall and the variability for better planning and utilisation of water since many areas in Goa face shortage of water.The trend analysis was carried out for the pre-monsoon, monsoon and the post-monsoon seasons using the rain gauge data obtained from three different organisations – the Water Resources Department (WRD), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR).According to the study published in the Indian Water Resource Society (IWRS) Journal, the pre-monsoon rain (February to May) showed an increase of 0.6163 mm/year to 2.8563 mm/year, while the post-monsoon rain (October to January) showed an increase of 2.3463 mm/year to 14.63 mm/year. Thus, it has been observed that the percentage of rainfall received in monsoon (June to September) is decreasing and there is an increase in the percentage of rain received in the other months.However, the researchers have also discovered that from 1980 to 2012, there was an increase of +0.03 degree Celsius in the annual maximum temperatures in Goa. In the three decades from 1980-2009, most of the stations showed a minor decrease followed by a minor increase in the minimum and maximum temperatures in each successive decade.Using statistical analysis to derive the coefficient of variation for the monthly mean rainfall at all the monitoring stations from January to December, the researchers observed variations below 40% in the rainfall during June, July and August months, while the remaining months showed a considerably higher variation, ranging from 60% to as high as 400%. It noted that the period from December to April (non-monsoon) contributed to less than 1% of the annual rainfall in Goa.The researchers also found that the North Goa district stations received a higher amount of average annual rainfall for the 33-year study period compared to the South Goa stations.By studying the mean rainfall, the standard deviation for the 33 years and the average rainfall in the past decades and seasons for all the monitoring stations, the researchers Ashwini Panandiker, Lewlynnde Mello, B. Venkatesh, Mahender Kotha and A. G. Chachadi found a variation in the pre-monsoon rainfall from 5 mm to 142.1 mm at all the rain-monitoring stations, while the monsoon season showed a distribution of 1,388.5 mm to 3,825 mm of rainfall. The post-monsoon season showed a variation of 104.7 mm to 525.1 mm of rain.“From the trend analysis carried out using 33 years’ data, it was evident that Goa, from 1980 to 2012, had experienced a minor increase between 7 mm and 8 mm per year in the rainfall received, and more recently (2009-2017) there was a decrease in the annual rainfall,” says the scientific report.The average annual rainfall received in the coastal belt of Goa (Panaji 2,898 mm and Mormugao 2,731 mm) was less than that received in the interiors (Ponda 3,392 mm) and far less than what the regions near the Western Ghats received (Valpoi 4,157 mm).The IMD stations in the North Goa district (Panaji, Mapusa, Pernem, Valpoi and Ponda) received an average annual rainfall of 3,444.62 mm/year, while the South Goa stations (Mormugao, Dabolim, Margao, Canacona, Quepem and Sanguem) received an average annual rainfall of 3,309.08 mm/year for the 33-year study period.The study concludes that the findings can provide crucial inputs to climate change-related studies that involve hydrological modelling at a catchment level.
Panaji: Pointing out that “restoration of the hills that are cut becomes extremely difficult,” the high court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday directed the flying squad to go to the site at Arpora where illegal hill cutting is allegedly taking place and immediately stop the activity in survey numbers 156, 157 and 161. In addition, the division bench comprising Justices Mahesh Sonak and R N Laddha directed the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) to visit the site and stop the activity if they have not granted any permissions. The court issued notices to the panchayat of Arpora-Nagoa, the town and country planning department, North Goa district collector and NGPDA. Advocate general Devidas Pangam told the high court that after the petition the flying squad has been instructed to visit the site and take necessary action. Goa Foundation represented by counsel Norma Alvares with Om D’Costa stated that it was forced to file a petition in the high court, seeking immediate stoppage of illegal hill cutting, after the panchayat, “instead of investigating the complaint and taking necessary action, informed the petitioner that it cannot take any further action until the petitioner identifies by name the persons carrying on the work in question”. Goa Foundation had complained to the Arpora-Nagoa panchayat on March 31 and attached photographs of the heavy machinery and ongoing work at the site. Goa Foundation submitted that no development can be carried out in Goa without a board being put up on the plot which displays all permissions obtained for the purpose of development from various authorities as per the Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations, 2010. “There is no such board on the premises and the panchayat is duty bound to ensure that without such a board, no development can be carried out by any person concerned,” Goa Foundation submitted to the high court. The foundation had filed a writ petition for protection of the forest on one side of Baga hill and the present development is being carried out on the other side of the same hill. It stated that the Supreme Court has forbidden and disallowed conversion of such plots with natural vegetation.
Panaji: The High Court of Bombay at Goa has directed the concerned authorities to stop hill cutting and development work at Arpora.The complainant in the matter had pointed out that there is hill cutting and construction/development work going on, further apprehending that this activity was being undertaken without any permission.The Advocate General stated that after this petition was served upon them, the flying squad was instructed to visit the site and take necessary action.The High Court observed, “According to us, looking at the photographs as also the response from the panchayat, it will be appropriate if the flying squad not only goes to the site, but immediately stops the activity that is taking place in the aforesaid survey numbers.In a matter of this nature, generally, the parties should resort to such activities and set up a plea of fait accompli. Restoration of the hills that are cut becomes extremely difficult. If permissions have indeed been obtained then normally there is a board at the site indicating not only the name of the party that is carrying out such activity, but also the details of such permission. For all these reasons, we think that the concerned authorities should immediately rush to the site and stop this activity.”The High Court also observed, “The NGPDA authorities should also visit the site forthwith and if they find that they have not granted any permissions then stop the activity at the site. This is in addition to our directions to the flying squad.”
Panaji: The Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to chief minister Pramod Sawant and North Goa collector Mamu Hage, appealing that the use of loudspeakers for ‘Azaan’ be stopped across Goa, as per a court directive. “Varun Priolkar filed a petition in March 2021 before the Goa bench of Bombay High Court, against the usage of loudspeakers by mosques for ‘Azaan’. Citing his fundamental right as per Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000, the HC had directed the additional collector to hear Varun’s plea,” the HJS memorandum states. “The additional district magistrate later asked mosques to not use loudspeakers/public address system/any other sound producing instruments without prior permission from the concerned authority,” states the memorandum. Despite the directions, mosques in Goa continue to use loudspeakers for ‘Azaan’, HJS said. “If all the other religions start putting up loudspeakers, it will be a big problem to all the citizens,” Manoj Solanki state convener for HJS said.
PANAJI: After allocating portfolios in his cabinet, CM Pramod Sawant on Monday distributed corporations and government bodies to MLAs, including alliance partners, who didn’t get ministerships, thus ensuring that none of the governing coalition’s MLAs have been left without a position in the government. Former revenue minister Jennifer Monserrate has been appointed chairman, North Goa planning and development authority, while Vasco MLA Krishna Salkar has been named chairman of the South Goa body. Poriem MLA Deviya Rane has been allotted the Goa Forest Development Corporation. Her husband, Vishwajit Rane, is minister for forests. The three independent MLAs have also been given charge of corporations. Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco is now chairman of the Goa Industrial Development Corporation, Bicholim MLA Chandrakant Shetye has been appointed chairman of Goa Infotech Corporation, and Cortalim MLA Antonio Vas is chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries board. Two-time BJP Sanvordem MLA Ganesh Gaonkar has been given chairmanship of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation. Meanwhile, Mapusa MLA Joshua D’Souza has been appointed vice-chairman of the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation. Among newly-elected MLAs, Mayem’s Premendra Shet has been appointed chairman, Goa State Horticulture Corporation. Navelim MLA Ulhas Tuyenkar has been appointed chairman of Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited, while Pernem MLA Pravin Arlekar has been named chairman of Goa Handicrafts Rural and Small Scale Industries Development Corporation. MGP Mandrem MLA Jit Arolkar has been appointed as chairman, Goa Housing Board.
Staff ReporterVascoIn an incident that happened at Kudne, Bicholim, a 54-year-old man died by committing suicide. In a note, he blamed the closure of mining and unemployment as the reason for his extreme step.According to police sources, the man, who is identified as Ramesh Naik, a resident of Karmale, Kudne, was an employee of a mining company earlier. With closure of mining, he was in desperate search of a job. He is suspected to have jumped into a mining pit at Kudne around 10 am on Friday.Later in the evening, the Indian Navy divers recovered the body from the pit. The divers’ team conducted a search and recovered the corpse within half an hour of the search operation.The reason for the suicide was revealed after a suicide note was found from near the pit. It stated that closure of mining and unemployment was the reason for his suicide and that his family should not be blamed. He ended the note written in Marathi with his name.According to sources, the local police team had received information about the man drowning in a mining pit. After the efforts to recover his body failed, the police decided to take help of the Indian Navy.Based on the request from District Magistrate, North Goa, a naval diving team was deployed to trace the body.
Panaji: Twenty-one persons — seven in North Goa and 14 in South Goa — lost their lives in road accidents in February, as per the state directorate of transport. A total 1,740 challans were issued by the transport authorities for traffic violations in February. As per statistics compiled by the directorate of transport, 251 road accidents were reported of which 21 were fatal, 14 grievous (seven in North Goa and seven in South Goa), 41 minor (18 in North Goa and 23 in South Goa) and 175 non-injury (97 in North Goa and 78 in South Goa). Of those who died in road accidents were 15 riders, two pillion riders, three pedestrians and one passenger. DGP Jaspal Singh on Thursday assured that he and his team would keep Goa’s roads safe for locals and tourists alike. “The state has some excellent roads, but sometimes, some people try to take advantage of this infrastructure. This is where the role of enforcement comes in,” Singh said. From April 1, the directorate of transport has started implementing the new Motor Vehicles Act.