Times of India | 2 months ago | 09-03-2022 | 10:48 am
PANAJI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the BJP would form the next government in the state, chief minister Pramod Sawant said after briefing the PM over political developments in Goa. The assembly results are scheduled to be declared on Thursday. “Modi told me that BJP will form the government,” Sawant told TOI from Delhi. Modi held the meeting with Sawant to review the political situation in the state. During the discussion, Modi took constituency-wise details about the number of seats BJP will secure in Goa. Sawant provided details to Modi on what the results would be, and how BJP would form the government. “We will form the next government in the state and in case we are short of a majority, independent MLAs will support BJP,” Sawant said. He added that if required, BJP would seek support of MGP. The CM told Modi that BJP is getting around 20 seats, and with the help of independent MLAs, BJP will form the government. Modi also deliberated on the possibilities of forming a coalition government just in case there was a fractured mandate. The meeting also discussed seeking support from independent MLAs or regional parties. All the exit polls on Monday have predicted a hung assembly in Goa. The election is crucial for BJP as well as for Sawant as both are facing anti-incumbency. BJP has contested all 40 assemblies for the first time, and it’s also the party’s first state election in the absence of their strategist, former chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Modi addressed the people of the state during the election campaign and had said “Goa has decided that this wave of development and good governance should not slow down. Under the young leadership of chief minister Pramod Sawant, this journey will continue in the same manner”. Sawant, BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade and BJP’s Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting in Mumbai to discuss the formation of the next government. Fadnavis already held a meeting with senior MGP functionary Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar over the post-poll alliance. Dhavalikar had told Fadnavis that the MGP-TMC alliance would take a decision after the results. BJP had started approaching independent candidates who are likely to get elected in the assembly election, already hitting the drawing board to strategise how to form the next government.
Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Friday held a meeting with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and discussed the body’s proposal of establishing a Regional Indian Culinary Institute in Goa. Sawant expressed his support for the project in Goa and said that any tourism department building or a closed school building will be identified to run the institute from. The CM said CII could renovate such a structure and start the Institute after completing the required formalities. Sougata Roy Choudhury, senior director at CII, briefed the CM about the proposal. He said that the Regional Culinary Institute is planned in Goa by CII in partnership with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne of Switzerland. This will be in addition to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Swiss Professional Diploma program being launched with IHCL (Taj Luxury Hotel properties). He said the various regional cuisines in India have a rich heritage and potential and there is a need to create this “lighthouse for regional Indian cuisines”. The CII said this will enable locals to acquire the much required knowledge and equip them for job placements in India and abroad. Roy Choudhury said this institute will train local youth to match world-class standards in the hospitality industry, including hotels, airlines, cruise-lines, catering and travel industry.
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: Chief minister Pramod Sawant held a meeting with Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Thursday to discuss efforts to attract new private investments into the state along with steps that can improve the ease of doing business for existing local industries. GCCI president Ralph de Sousa said that administrative reforms need to be introduced in all government departments so that the private sector can operate efficiently. Pointing out that the government aims to remove the need for various licences, Sawant said that the government has introduced ease of doing business reforms in the town and country planning department with more reforms planned in other departments. GCCI also urged the state government to reduce power transmission and distribution losses, obtain more power from the Centre and form district-level committees to oversee the power situation. “Regarding labour issues, GCCI requested a dialogue with the industry and government in labour-related matters. We have also asked the government to promote mass plantation of Goan fruit bearing trees along national highways,” Sousa said. GCCI has assured full support to create awareness about various schemes announced both at the state and the national level. Chief secretary Puneet Kumar Goel along with other officials were present for the meeting. During his interaction, Sawant spoke about nurturing Goa into an agro industry state, while also facilitating growth of tourism, logistics, retail and manufacturing sectors. The chief minister also agreed to set up a Grievance Redressal Committee with GCCI members and industry stakeholders. The committee will directly connect with the chief minister’s office and discuss industry specific issues. Sawant said that the committee would aim to resolve all major concerns within six months. Sawant informed GCCI that the state government is working with the Telangana government to emulate their industrial model in Goa. He also said that a retail policy and logistics policy for Goa is on the anvil. The chief minister assured industry representatives that the Mormugao port connectivity will be completed within the next six to nine months. “This will be part of the multimodal linkage under the Gati Shakti programme and modernisation of infrastructure,” Sawant said.
GCCI suggests improvement in power infrastructure in the statePanaji: With the state in the grip of frequent power cuts, the GCCI has suggested lowering the transmission and distribution (T&D) losses of Goa electricity department as the way out for improving power supply to consumers.The industry body pointed out that about 90 MW of power is lost in transmission and distribution which if controlled can help in addressing the 150 MW shortage of power presently in the state.The GCCI also recommended more power sanction for Goa from the Centre.Chief Minister Pramod Sawant visited the GCCI office on Thursday for his first interaction with members of local industry during his second term. Chief Secretary Puneet Kumar Goyal and secretaries of various government departments were also present at the meeting.During the interaction, the GCCI suggested improvement in power infrastructure in the state and also requested a dialogue with the government in labour-related matters. Promoting mass plantation of Goan fruit-bearing trees along the national highways was also one of the suggestions made by the GCCI.From the government side, the Chief Minister promised ease of doing business (EoDB) by removing multiplicity of various licences. He said that EoDB has already started in the Town and Country Planning (TCP) department and more reforms would be initiated in other departments.Sawant also assured of implementing the Public Service Delivery Act (2013) in principle. He said that the government would give accreditation to local hotels and venues having facilities to host marriages or public events under EoDB.He has also agreed to set up grievance redressal committee wherein GCCI members, industry stakeholders can directly connect with Chief Minister’s office and discuss on industry specific issues and ensure fast-track resolution of long-pending as well as current difficulties faced by trade and industry. With the setting up of the committee the government aims to sort out all major issues faced by industry in six months, said Sawant.The Chief Minister sought industry help in increasing agriculture yield. “Goa spends over Rs 10 crore per day towards procuring milk, vegetables, fruits, poultry etc., from other states. The agriculture sector needs rejuvenation,” he pointed out.The state will follow the industrial model of Telangana, disclosed Sawant.During the meeting, a skill gap study prepared by the GCCI with the Goa Institute of Management was submitted to the Chief Minister.GCCI president Ralph de Sousa, vice-president Shrinivas Dempo, vice-president Pratima Dhond, secretary Yatin Kakodkar, treasurer Chandrakant Gawas, director general Sanjay Amonkar along with the managing committee members were present at the meeting.
Panaji: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday said that his government will recommend to the state election commission (SEC) to defer the elections to 186 village panchayats so as to adopt triple test for reserving wards for other backward classes.Interacting with media persons in Panaji, Sawant said the government will not do any injustice to the people belonging to OBCs.“I have received the opinion of the Advocate General on the recent verdict of the Supreme Court. If we hold the polls immediately then we will have to hold elections without reserving even a single ward; we don’t want to do this. We want to give reservation to OBCs as they constitute 27% of the state’s total population,” Sawant explained.“Government can’t postpone the elections; it is the discretion of the SEC. We will seek time.”“If the poll panel grants time then we will ask the OBC Commission to complete the triple test exercise. Once the report of the OBC Commission is ready then it will be sent to the SEC for consideration and thereafter the SEC will announce the election schedule,” he added.It is pertinent to note that the triple test has been mandated by the apex court for reservation of wards for OBCs for the local body elections.“As per the state Advocate General’s opinion, the government will seek time from the SEC for asking the OBC Commission to prepare a report, based on which reservation of wards can be done for the panchayat elections in accordance with Supreme Court directions,” the Chief Minister added.“The related file will be sent to SEC tomorrow,” Sawant said.In a related development, Goa State Commission for Backward Classes chairman Manohar Adpaikar expressed his readiness to undertake the triple test exercise.“We are ready. But we need the required manpower to conduct a survey. Government should allow us to rope in its employees. With their assistance, we can complete the task keeping the last survey as base, provided it is accepted by the concerned authorities,” Adpaikar said.He said that if need arises then the government can consider engaging an agency to conduct a totally fresh survey across the state.“Agencies have experience and all machinery with them. They are familiar with conducting big surveys in quick time,” Adpaikar said.He informed that the last survey was conducted in December 2013, where it was found that 26.26% of the state’s population belonged to the OBC category.