Vasco: Following parts of Vasco and Mormugao talukas suffering a 21-hour power outage after a gas pipeline contractor accidentally damaged three 33kV underground cables, Mormugao Congress MLA Sankalp Amonkar questioned if the works had the necessary permissions for road digging. Amonkar demanded that the contractor be fined for the damages and strict action be initiated against him for damage caused to public property and losses incurred by businesses, besides the inconvenience posed to the public. Locals from Mormugao constituency and part of Vasco constituency went without power for almost 22 hours due to the damage caused to the three major underground cables. Amonkar night along with his supporters reviewed the ongoing repair works of the underground cables on Thursday. The Mormugao MLA also raised doubts about the safety of the underground gas pipeline. He said that in the past due to NAFTA pipeline blasts many people had lost their lives and got injured.
Vasco: Verna police arrested Kishan Kalangutkar, 26, a resident of New Vaddem, Vasco, in connection with the murder of a 19-year-old girl whose body was found at Velsao beach on Thursday. Diya Naik, who was also from New Vaddem, went missing from Wednesday evening. Her family said that she didn’t come home. Kalangutkar and Naik were friends, police said. SP (South Goa) Abhishek Dania tweeted, “Blind murder case of Miss Diya Naik r/o New Vaddem Vasco solved within 24 hrs by South District team. Accused apprehended. Further investigation is in progress”. Vasco DySP Nilesh Rane said that the body of the girl was found at Velsao beach with stab injuries. Although he refused to divulge more details, Rane said that the investigation is in progress and police are probing the case from all angles. A source said that the body was found in the bushes and the crime appeared to have taken place on Wednesday. Verna PI Diago Gracias is investigating the case under the supervision of Rane.
Panaji: Director general of police (DGP) Jaspal Singh on Thursday felicitated two students, Sakshi Ishwar Kale and Nimrit Pasricha for sporting excellence. Kale, a student of GVM SNJA Higher Secondary School, Farmagudi, won the top position at the 20th national para-athletic championship held in Bhubaneshwar. Pasricha, a student at Naval Children School, Vasco has been selected to represent India at the Asian junior squash championship to be held at Pattaya, Thailand next month. Singh said that Goa Police will reach out to initiative of an outreach with promising youth within the state to spread an image of showcase a people-friendly force and to celebrate achievements of the younger generation.
Panaji: The maintenance of fishing jetties in Goa may be done annually during the off-season, however, this time, the Vasco Fishing Association has demanded that their jetty be not just repaired but also be extended to 100m. They have submitted a proposal to fisheries minister Nilkanth Halarnkar to extend the jetty for the convenience of the 200 boats that operate from there. “The Vasco fishing jetty is in dire need of attention. We have 200 boats that dock at the 60m area,” the association members said. Stating that the repairs at the Vasco jetty were delayed due to the pandemic, Halarnkar said, “Those will be soon taken up. There are only a few days left for the fishing ban comes into force, so necessary inspections and repair works can be taken up. However, extension of the jetty will invite CRZ and NGT violations.” The boat operators also demanded that the state government provide relief on VAT on the diesel as well. “The government sanctioned VAT on diesel comes to about Rs 6. With diesel prices rising, the operation of fishing vessels is becoming difficult,” they said. On this, the fisheries minister said, “As far as the VAT subsidy is concerned, I have assured them that there will be a discussion on the subject and accordingly we will take a decision.” The Vasco Fishing Association submitted a proposal to the fisheries minister to extend the jetty for the convenience of the 200 boats that operate from there
Vasco: Revolutionary Goans (RG) and BJP are engaged claiming credit for getting locals employment at the Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL). Even as RG said that GSL has assured them of giving jobs to Goans, Vasco BJP MLA Krishna ‘Daji’ Salkar and BJP functionaries stated that it was their efforts that played a major role in highlighting the employment issue. On Wednesday, RG’s Tukaram ‘Manoj’ Parab and St Andre MLA Viresh Borkar met the management of GSL to discuss the matter of employment opportunities for Goans. Parab and Borkar said that the shipyard’s management has assured them to give priority to recruiting Goans. They said that, according to available information, over 600 jobs had opened up at GSL, but only 30% Goans were employed. In other central government shipyards in other states, local people with knowledge of the local language are given preference during recruitment, but at GSL this is not happening, RG said. Parab and Borkar also stressed on the need for imparting training in technical skill to Goan youth. Meanwhile, the Vasco MLA posted on his official social media page: “Grateful to chief minister Goa Pramod P Sawant for calling this meeting on our request with T N Sudhakar CMD (addl charge) and HR head Goa Shipyard Ltd to address long-pending issues pertaining to local employment.”
Vasco/Panaji: In yet another incident of an underground cable getting punctured, Vasco, Baina, Mangor, Sada, Varunapuri, Gandhi Nagar and Shantinagar went without power supply for around 21 hours on Thursday after a gas pipeline contractor accidentally damaged three 33kV underground cables supplying electricity to Vasco and surrounding areas. Vasco electricity department assistant engineer Sanjeev Mashelkar said three underground cables were damaged by an underground gas pipeline contractor, near Borges building in Vasco, while they were digging work for laying the pipeline. The department filed a police complaint and said the gas pipeline contractor was instructed to do cable detection and only after that to continue digging work to avoid further accidents, Mashelkar said. The blackout affected around 40,000 citizens as the two 33kV cables in addition to a spare/backup cable which supplies electricity to Harbour and Bogda substations were punctured. “We would have immediately provided alternate supply, but the third cable that was kept as spare was also punctured by the contractor and we were left helpless,” a power department staffer said. A similar blackout occurred last month in Panaji when digging resulted in puncturing of underground power cables. There have been several instances of the power department’s costly underground infrastructure getting damaged by contractors carrying out various works over the past few years, putting the department and inconveniencing thousands of citizens and businesses. “The electricity department was not informed about the work by the contractor. Horizontal drilling work was taking place at midnight when our three cables got punctured,” executive engineer Canuto Godinho said. “Somehow we managed to supply electricity to some areas in Vasco through overhead lines but people in other areas suffered,” he said. A similar incident by the same contractor took place recently at Chicalim, following which the department had asked the contractor to keep them informed about any digging work. “We were not informed. We would have shown them the path of the cable,” Godinho said. Joining punctured underground cables is a time consuming and costly operation. The work costs between Rs 5 and 10 lakh to join a single damaged cable and the entire operation of finding the fault, digging up the area and pulling out the cable, cutting and then joining takes around 8 hours, officials said. But even 20 hours later on Thursday many citizens in the area were still in the dark with not even one cable joining work completed. Although the cable was punctured around 1am, the specialised contractor could begin full-fledged work only at 7am. Domestic users were given preference over commercial ones when the department tried to provide alternate supply. Rain hampered the work and a small tent had to be set up. “Despite reminders and letters, the digging was carried out without informing us causing huge loss to consumers and the government,” a department engineer said. “All utilities should coordinate with each other otherwise this will keep repeating. There’s no discipline in utilities and everyone thinks it’s their right to dig the road. In that case departments are helpless and have to fight, and it is the public who has to bear the brunt of it all,” a Vasco-based engineer said. “An order with a strict standing instruction should be issued to all utilities to adhere to this. They must obtain an NOC from the department before digging the road,” the engineer added. The road is the only access where all the cables are laid and the state doesn't have any dedicated trenches for cables.
Panaji: Yash Fadte has returned home for his summer break from the University of Rochester in New York. But while the squash champion is happy reuniting with his family, Goa doesn’t really bring back good memories. It reminds him of the time when he was forced to make three trips from his home in Vasco to Panaji to get reimbursed for Rs 5,300, a travel expense for the National School Games. Or the time when the state assembly discussed his achievements, promised to help and then went cold. “I’ve always did the best I could for Goa, but the government let me down,” Yash, four-time medallist at the Asian junior squash championships and the first Indian to win United States Junior Open and French Open, told TOI on Wednesday. “There was no support. It’s my father who backed me all along. Forget appreciation, all that I have got here is humiliation.” Yash, 20, needs no introduction to sports enthusiasts in Goa. He’s among Goa’s biggest sports achievers, winning plenty of medals for the state at the national level. Just two years ago, Yash was ranked among the top five junior squash players in Asia and did India proud by winning the silver at the Asian junior squash championships three years ago. Politicians, which includes chief minister Pramod Sawant, have been lavish in their praise on him. Words of appreciation even flowed in the state assembly, but nobody really walked the talk, forcing the Vasco lad to accept a four-year scholarship from the University of Rochester, located in western New York. “I was asked to apply for the grants. I dutifully filled all the forms, prepared a file and handed it over to the Sports Authority of Goa. Since there was no response, I inquired and was told one document was not submitted,” said Yash. He rushed to the SAG office, checked the file and the document they were looking out for was right there in the middle of the file. “These officials are not serious. They are just not bothered about sportspersons,” said Yash. SAG officials, though, have a different story to tell. “The application has to be routed through the association and only then can we release funds. Someone has to be accountable for the money released. The funds are available for Yash. We have nothing against him or any sportsperson,” said a senior SAG official. Yash has probably heard this before, so when he realised that the state government had no intention of backing his dream of becoming a world champion, he turned to those who were chasing him for a while. “I chose the University of Rochester for its excellent track record and facilities. Moreover, coach Martin Heath is a former world number 3. Officials at home (in Goa) never appreciated me. Rochester gave me lot of respect,” he said. At Rochester, Yash is fast growing into a top player, doing better than he did in India, thanks to the excellent infrastructure and fierce competition. He’s ranked second in the university; Mexico’s Cesar Segundo is numero uno but will soon graduate, making the Goan squash star the undisputed leader. “I sometimes feel sorry to see the state of sports affairs in Goa,” said Yash’s father, Dilip, a former state cricketer. “Sports ministers in the past did nothing. I have spent everything of my own to make Yash a champion. I built a squash court, hired coaches, provided exposure and competitions. I’ve heard (new sports minister) Govind Gaude speak and he makes a lot of sense. I can only hope for the best.” Yash will pack his bags for Egypt later this week for a training stint where he will be joined by his teammates from Rochester and other universities in the United States, making the best use of the summer break to train with the world’s best. “I am ready for this new and exciting phase of my career,” said Yash. “I know I am no longer a junior player, but with Rochester backing me, I feel appreciated and ready to take on the world.”
Vasco: The swimming pool complex at Sada, Vasco is likely to be inaugurated on May 30, minister for sports Govind Gaude said. The minister toured Mormugao taluka to inspect various ongoing sports infrastructure works. “Additional staff will be appointed to maintain the pool as also a maintenance committee will be formed,” Gaude said. Earlier in the day, Gaude inspected the Bhutebhat sports complex and playground along with Vasco BJP MLA Krishna Salkar, who accompanied on the inspection rounds. Gaude assured to resolve the water leakage issue facing the sports complex. He said the sports complex would be renovated in two phases and that in the first phase the roof leakage issue would be resolved, besides constructing a gymnasium, among other things. He also said that a residential coaching camp for youngsters will be held soon for students from rural Goa. The minister also inspected Vasco’s Tilak maidan and assured that maintenance works would be taken up soon.
Vasco: BJP’s Vasco MLA Krishna Salkar said 30% of jobs at Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) and other central agencies located in the state should be reserved for locals. A joint meeting between chief minister Pramod Sawant and GSL is likely to be held in this regard next week, Salkar said at a recent function in the port town. The Vasco MLA said that though GSL is based in Vasco, locals are unable to get recruited for jobs advertised in the organisation. “If locals are not considered for the jobs, they will protest,” he warned. Meanwhile, transport minister Mauvin Godinho assured people that he would take up the issue with the defence ministry, so that Goans get preference for jobs at GSL.
Panaji: After receiving several complaints from persons with disabilities and their families of getting cheated of their hard-earned money, the Disability Rights Association of Goa has appealed to these people not to invest or give their money to unidentified persons or make payments through their mobile phones or other device transactions on digital media to unknown accounts. President Avelino de Sa said the association has had to intervene many times over the past year, the most recent case being on Tuesday, following complaints of persons with disability who trusted unidentified persons and getting duped. “The problem with financial frauds is that it is very difficult to recover the money. This vulnerable group is considered a soft target with unscrupulous people trying to get close to them and then taking advantage. We have appealed to them to invest money only in reputed companies approved by the government and check their background before investing. In case of any doubt, they can always contact the association,” he said. One case the association intervened in was that of a wheelchair user working in a government setup at Vasco who got cheated out of Rs 4.5 lakh. “The man said he was working for a company setting up mobile towers in Hubbali and Dharwad and promised to double his money in six months. The man gave him a cheque for Rs 4.5 lakh and even visited him at Baina where he said he was living with his brother. No sooner had the money been debited, the man disappeared,” member of the state advisory board on disability Prakash Kamat said. The man produced an agreement he had signed in Kannada. Another recent case was reported from Quepem where a hearing and speech impaired carpenter and his wife were lured into parting with Rs 3 lakh without any documentation under the guise of selling property to them. “Generally, people don’t communicate with persons with disabilities, but approach their relatives and win their trust,” Kamat said. A third case was reported from Agasaim where a visually impaired man building his house was befriended by a youth at his place of work who told there was no need to go to the bank each time to withdraw money to pay the contractor and downloaded Paytm on his phone and transferred money. When the contractor didn’t receive his second instalment it was found that the youth had transferred money to Kaun Banega Crorepati online to win Rs 25 lakh. When the association intervened, they found that the youth had no means to pay back the money and was waiting for a win of Rs 25 lakh.
‘Beggars living on footpaths are vulnerable to sexual abuse’Vasco: The president of ARZ NGO Arun Pandey expressed the possibility of a begging racket operating from other states like Karnataka in Goa. He demanded the need for a thorough investigation into the families living on the streets, after the kidnapping case of an eleven month old baby which was cracked in 24 hours by Vasco police this week.Pandey said, “There are high chances that the organisations are running in states like Karnataka wherein they are forcing children into begging and surviving at their cost. The children are sent to Goa for begging and the money is later collected by them. Goa being a tourist state becomes a big market for begging.”He said they have identified three categories of beggars, first who are poor or handicapped and have to look after their survival, second who wants to make easy money and third, who have become addicted to begging.“There are so many laws like anti-begging and anti-trafficking, Goa Children’s Act etc and initiative should be taken by different organisations to rehabilitate and improve the lifestyle of such people especially the children” he said.Pandey said, “The DNA test of children with their so called parents should be conducted. The children should not be left to their custody based on mere certificates. There is a high possibility that they are not their own children. There could be more suchcases discovered.”He said a study of ARZ with students of Salgaonkar Law College revealed that the children and beggars living on the footpaths are vulnerable to sexual abuse and the worst part is that there are no CCTVs to understand the crime and very difficult to trace the culprits.Recalling an incident that happened in Margao, he said, “So far in Goa two kidnapping cases of children happened and fortunately both the cases were detected and children were back in the custody of the parents. But what is required, is prevention.”
Panaji: Environment minister Nilesh Cabral said on Monday that the process of double-tracking of South West Railways’ line from Kulem to Vasco will continue. Speaking on the Supreme Court order setting aside the National Board of Wildlife’s (NBWL) clearance for the Castlerock to Kulem stretch, Cabral said, “That is in the SC and that discussion cannot be held. It will be taken up by railway authorities. The SC decision is from Castlerock to Kulem, but from Kulem to Vasco, there is no such decision, and the process will continue.” CM Pramod Sawant chaired a meeting on double-tracking at Paryatan Bhavan, Panaji. Panchayat minister Mauvin Godinho, Cabral, chief secretary Puneet Kumar Goel and SWR officials were present. Cabral said that during the meeting, overbridges and underpasses at Vasco were discussed. Cabral said that three underpasses were planned. “Railways have deposited money with the state government to take up underpass work, which we have returned. We have told them that the Central government should take up the work of overbridge and underpass,” Cabral said. In its report to the SC last month, its central empowered committee (CEC) rejected all justifications presented by Railways for the project, and termed the project “inefficient”, “unjustified” and “potentially destructive”. Even as the court cancelled the permission granted to Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), the infrastructure arm of Indian Railways, it permitted the body to do a fresh assessment of the environmental impact and submit its report to the NBWL, which it said would be considered as per law. There are mainly three reasons that led to the CEC recommending the cancellation of Railways’ proposal in Mollem — the threat to the biodiversity hotspot, difficult terrain of the ghat section, and Railways’ failure to utilise most of the existing capacity of the single track. The CEC also raised doubts about capacity enhancement of the double-track when it is proposed to be built parallel to the existing “equally inefficient track again with a steep 1:37 gradient”.
VASCO: Vasco MLA Krishna Salkar said he will get the Khariwada jetty upgraded in the next two years. He added that he will take up the issue with chief minister Pramod Sawant and fisheries minister Nilkanth Halarnkar as the repairs of the jetty, which has been in shambles, needs to be done without any delay. All Goa Fishing Boat Owners Association had asked the Vasco MLA to check the condition of the jetty for himself. “With the jetty being in a bad shape, fishermen face difficulties in loading and unloading stock. It has also become difficult to anchor boats smoothly,” a trawler owner said. President of the All Goa Fishing Boat Owners Association, Jose Philip D’Souza, who accompanied Salkar, said the jetty has been in use for around 50 years though it was a temporary arrangement. “Earlier boats were small and fewer. The jetty has been inadequate to handle the increased number of boats,” D’Souza said.
PANAJI: A year after the devastating cyclone Tauktae slammed into Goa, the state electricity department has revealed that the storm cost it Rs 25 crore. Usually, the monsoon sees around 400 electricity poles getting damaged during an entire season, but the impact of Tauktae was such, the cyclone, during its short visit to Goa, brought down 4,000 poles, uprooted 80 distribution transformers, and even two 30m-high 33KV towers, leaving some areas in the dark for four days. So widespread was the damage that the department — during the peak of the second Covid-19 wave — worked overtime, and through contractors, brought in reinforcements from Maharashtra and Karnataka by road, and even from Rajasthan and West Bengal by air, to speed up the work that was piling up for the department. It was the “sheer volume of the work” across the state that delayed the restoration of power supply, then chief electrical engineer Raghuvir Keni said, adding that at least 50% of the thousands of trees and branches that fell impacted Goa’s distribution lines. “Covid was not an excuse, all our staff were on the field working overtime, beyond their call of duty,” he said. Goa’s coastal areas were more affected than the hinterland, but it took a longer time for power restoration in areas in Anjuna, Bali, Curtorim and parts of Canacona, among several other places, due to inaccessibility. In some areas, workers had to make their way on foot without the help of cranes, in difficult terrain — roadless places, hilly areas, fields that got submerged, heavy tree cover, forest area, etc. Subsequently, the department has benefited with the equipment that was purchased at that time. “Material and tools worth almost Rs 20 crore, that wasn’t available with the department earlier, came in. Everything from good ladders, ropes, cutters, pruners, instruments, complete set of tools to attend to faults on the line were all brought in.” When asked how the state can avoid damage from another possible cyclone, Keni says that underground cabling in critical places is the only solution. Although this is very costly, he suggested that it be done in phases. “Underground cabling is the only solution,” he said. Current chief electrical engineer Stephen Fernandes said that the department has given an order for 200 transformers, stocked up on 5,000 electricity poles, service wires, material that is not available with contractors, and is carrying out underground cabling work and other infrastructure upgradation. “Underground cabling is being carried out at Mapusa, done in most of Anjuna and Porvorim, and will be carried out in Mandrem. We are also planning for underground cabling at Vasco, Bicholim and Ponda. “Over the next five years, 80% of high tension lines will be underground,” he said. “Underground cabling is expensive but it will definitely help, as rusting of overhead material takes place very quickly along our coastal belt. We will require central grants to have more underground cabling,” he said. In preparation of this monsoon season, the department has tried to replace weak and old infrastructure, and has been trying to -cut tree branches aggressively, he said.
Vasco: Verna police have arrested one person in connection with the kidnapping of a minor girl. Shubham, 28, a native of Maharashtra, was apprehended in Ratnagiri with help of the Railway Force. The girl went missing on May 12 and her parents registered a missing persons complaint the next day. The police swung into action and found out that Shubham had taken the minor girl to Ratnagiri, The girl was handed over to her family while Shubham was produced before court and taken into custody. tnn
Staff ReporterVascoVasco MLA Krishna Salkar had a joint inspection of the dilapidated Khariwada fishing jetty along with former minister and Goa Boat Owners Association president Jose Philip D’Souza. D’Souza said that the boat owners are facing a very difficult situation at the jetty while Salkar assured to take up the issues with Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant and the Fisheries MinisterSalkar said, “The situation of the jetty is in a poor state. The local fishermen requested us to come and see the jetty and experience what they are facing. Their boats are getting damaged and their fish sometimes gets spoilt as they have to wait for a long time in sea. We have noted all the points and will be discussing the matter with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and try to work outa solution.”The Vasco ex-MLA Jose Philip D’Souza said, “It is not possible to stand outside and understand the problem. Everywhere in Goa we have a proper jetty and only in Vasco we don’t have a jetty with all facilities. Our jetty is more than 50 years old. It can have 12 long boats at one time. Earlier we had small wooden boats but things have changed now since ships have become bigger and the space isnot enough.”
Vasco: An FIR was registered against a machine operator, a supervisor and other officials attached to a unit of an international washing machine company at the Verna industrial estate after a worker at the plant got hit in the head by a part of a machinery that got dislodged. PI Diago Gracias said Vikas Karwadkar, 24, a machine operator, allegedly operated the machine in rash and negligent conditions. Dattatray Patil, 39, the supervisor and other officials, who were directly responsible for supervision and maintenance of the machinery, were also negligent, police said. “They neither provided their workers with safety gear nor did they monitor the maintenance of the machinery causing the machine’s dye stopper to dislodge and be flung into air, which hit the worker who was passing by,” Gracias said. The worker is presently undergoing treatment at the Goa Medical College.
Margao: An elderly woman, bedridden on account of an autoimmune disease, endured the rigmarole of bureaucratic wrangles, and fought on and won the battle against the state’s electricity department for excessive billing for energy not consumed by her, her flat having been closed and unoccupied. The electricity department’s Consumers Grievances Redressal Forum, Vasco, in its order, set aside her bills that had accumulated to Rs 21,697 over a five month-period on account of the malfunctioning meter and ordered issuance of revised bills that totalled just Rs 679. Sheetal Sadekar (name changed to protect identity), a resident of Dhavali, Ponda, was aggrieved by a “sudden and unexplained jump” in energy consumption around June 2021, though her flat had remained closed and unoccupied since May 2019. She would usually be billed a minimum amount of about Rs 100 until June 2021 when she received a bill of Rs 873 despite the mains having been switched off. While she took up the matter with the electricity department and vigorously pursued it, the bills for the subsequent months kept increasing until the arrears accumulated to Rs 21,697 in December 2021. As her battle with officialdom in the electricity department failed to resolve the issue, the disabled woman knocked on the doors of the Consumers Grievances Redressal Forum. After hearing the parties through a video conference, the consumer forum noted that the consumption details furnished by the electricity department indicated that while the average consumption between February 2021 and May 2021 was about 5 units per billing cycle, there was a sudden jump to 483 units between May 9, 2021 and June 19, 2021, that kept growing exponentially to 1,659 units recorded on November 16, 2021. After the meter was replaced on November 17, 2021, the consumption dropped to zero units until the last meter reading on February 6, 2022. “The statistics provided by the department unmistakably point to an anomaly in functioning of the meter from June 2021 onwards,” the order noted. “The department relies on Meter Relay Testing (MRT) reports that twice returned a finding that the meter was okay. The testing ought to have been done in the presence of the consumer as required under the Supply Code, which procedure was not followed in this case. Secondly, the consumption recorded by the old and new meters cannot be brushed aside and conclusively point to malfunctioning of the meter from around June 2021 onwards.” Stating that the impugned bills issued between June 2021 and November 2021 cannot be sustained, the Forum headed by chairperson Ashley Noronha and member Sandra Vaz e Correia passed an order setting aside the five bills. “The said bills shall be revised based on average consumption recorded in three billing cycles post installation of the new meter on November 17, 2021. Fresh bills shall be issued to the consumer,” the order read. Complying with the order, the electricity department issued revised bills to the woman totalling Rs 679 only, awarding her victory in the battle for justice that she fought confined to her sickbed.
Vasco: The state government has taken cognisance of the non-functioning air conditioning system at Ravindra Bhavan, Baina, and it will be soon repaired, said chairman of Ravindra Bhavan Jayant Jadhav. “Chief minister Pramod Sawant has assured us he will resolve the issue soon,” Jadhav said. After the file for repairs was submitted to the executive engineer PWD, Margao, it was also brought to the notice of the minister for art and culture minister, Govind Gaude, at a recent review meeting. Presently, music classes are held at Ravindra Bhavan. During the peak of the Covid pandemic, it was used as a vaccination centre. Apart from this, offices of the deputy collector and mamlatdar operate from the Ravindra Bhavan premises.
Vasco: A team of Vasco police have left for Bihar after identifying a person in connection with the sexual assault of a minor girl. According to officials a team of one police sub-inspector and two police constables left for Bihar on Wednesday afternoon. Vasco police had earlier registered an offence against an unknown person under section 376 of IPC and section 8 of POCSO Act. In another incident a 10-month old child was kidnapped on Wednesday in the port town. After identifying the person who left for Mumbai along with the infant on a train, a police team left for Mumbai on Thursday.
Panaji: As the summer temperature peaks, in a heartwarming move, animal activists in Vasco have taken the initiative to create mini watering holes – cement bowls filled with water – across the city to enable stray animals like dogs, cats and birds quench their thirst. And though the bowls are not too big, the recently launched initiative has successfully ensured that even stray cattle in search of water can have their fill. “Water is a basic requirement. Stray animals look for water during summer because all their familiar sources usually dry up and this could cause the animals to collapse,” said People For Animals president Normal Alvares. A total of 40 water bowls have been placed in areas with high concentration of strays. The bowls are made of cement as it keeps the water cooler and each bowl can hold between five to seven litres of water at a time. Timely refilling and maintenance of the bowls is taken up by local philanthropists and animal lovers. The water containers are also diligently cleaned every alternate day by volunteers, ensuring that the water remains clean. Animals and birds can stay without food for two or three days on an average, but not a single day without water. Temperatures this summer went up to 38 degree Celsius, which can prove to be fatal for birds and stray animals as dehydration can impair renal and cardiac functioning. Several stray animals are often seen consuming water from any available source, including gutters and nullahs, as they fail to find clean water.
Margao/Vasco: The Supreme Court order setting aside the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) clearance for the Railways track-doubling project has evoked mixed response from environmental activists. While several of them have welcomed the order terming it as “people’s victory”, others said they were “disappointed” that the project was not ordered to be scrapped as they had expected. Goeant Kollso Naka (GKN) stated that the SC order was “a complete contradiction that ignores and defeats the CEC report”. “Based on the findings of CEC, we expected the project to be cancelled. Our worst fears are now confirmed, and all three linear projects continue to threaten Goa. GKN calls upon all Goans to continue the struggle, until all of the coal transportation infrastructure projects are laid to permanent rest,” a press statement by GKN said. “As track doubling is a linear project, the entire project needs to be scrapped. I am disappointed with the order. The SC order has given them a chance to still go ahead with the project against the CEC recommendations,” co-convenor of GKN, Abhijit Prabhudessai, said. Goencho Ekvott (GE) welcomed the verdict. In its press statement, GE stated that central government has “forced these disastrous projects on the people of Goa since the double tracking is exclusively built for the transportation of hazardous coal from Indonesia, Mozambique and Australia via Mormugao Port Authority to the neighbouring steel plants in Karnataka.” GE’s founder member Orville Dourado demanded that the government “scrap all the three linear projects and immediately direct all departments to stop work on double tracking, scrap the land acquisition process and revert the acquired land for the project”.
Vasco: Uneven tarring of the national highway stretch from Shantinagar to Varunapuri in Vasco has made the road unsafe for motorists and it needs urgent repairs, said Congress functionary Nasir Khan. Khan said both lanes of the Shantinagar to Varunapuri stretch are uneven with one side elevated, which could lead to accidents. “Also, vehicles are parked illegally along both the sides of the national highway,” Khan said. Further, he said that while the government can spend crores of rupees on a swearing-in ceremony, it doesn’t have funds to take up urgent PWD works. One commuter, Godavari, says she recently almost met with an accident on the road stretch after her two-wheeler slipped. “Somehow I managed to control it and did not fall,” she said. tnn
Vasco: Mormugao taluka, which houses most of the important establishments and commercial entities, will also have a zonal agriculture office (ZAO) that is likely to be commissioned in June. Director of agriculture Nevil Alphonso said that plans were afoot to set up a ZAO in Mormugao in February, however it was delayed due to some technical issues such as staff allotment, identification of premises and other documentation process. “We will open the ZAO in Mormugao in June,” Alphonso said. Some famers from Cortalim, Nagoa, Verna, Sancoale, Cansaulim, Velsao, Chicalim and Bogmalo who cultivate their farms are forced to travel to Margao ZAO to seek any assistance or avail of government schemes. Vasco MLA Krishna Salkar said only a few farms have survived in the port town, and hence these need to be protected, and farmers need to be encouraged to take up agricultural activities before they the land turns fallow. Salkar has been encouraging and helping farmers in various capacities. The MLA said that he had a moved resolution while he was a councillor for setting up a ZAO in Mormugao, and the resolution was submitted to the agriculture department. Two years ago, Chicalim Youth Farmers’ Club president, Valerie Afonso had also written to the agriculture department seeking a dedicated ZAO in Mormugao. She had highlighted the hardships which the local farmers are facing in the absence of such office.
Vasco: The sub-district hospital at Chicalim does not have a paediatric doctor, a radiologist nor a surgeon, and patients have to travel to Goa Medical College & Hospital (GMC) due to the shortage of medical staff, said an official from Goa First, an NGO. The upgraded hospital, previously known as the Chicalim Cottage Hospital, had been elevated to a sub-district hospital with new facilities after Rs52 crore was spent on health infrastructure a few years ago. Despite the upgrade in medical equipment and facilities, no medical or technical staff has been deployed to operate the equipment till date. Parshuram Sonurlekar of Goa First said, “This medical facility caters to three constituencies of Mormugao,Vasco and Dabolim. Despite this, there is no paediatric doctor, surgeon or a radiologist and patients have to rush 30km to GMC.” He added that the health minister should immediately deploy staff at the hospital. A source at the Chicalim hospital confirmed the absence of medical staff at the facility and added that while there was an assurance to deploy the staff within 15 days, this remains unfulfilled.