Goa Arambol News

North Goa court denies bail to Belarus man for overstaying
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: A North Goa court has rejected the bail application of a 29-year-old Belarus citizen who was arrested by Pernem police for allegedly possessing charas weighing 152g, worth Rs 1.5 lakh, at Khalchawada, Arambol. Although the amount of narcotics he was allegedly caught with is a variable quantity, the court found that despite his visa having expired in January 2020, he hadn't applied for a fresh one nor had he disclosed the source of income that was sustaining him in Goa since then. The court stated that the source of income from January 13, 2020, to date needed to be disclosed because his tourist visa had expired on that date, and his source of income was a material fact to be stated. "The applicant has only stated in the additional information that he has a bank account in Russian Commercial Bank called 'Tinkoff Bank'... at Philip Port branch in Belarus and that the funds available with the applicant are Rs 50,000. However, he has not stated what the source of his income is in order to sustain him in Goa," additional sessions judge, North Goa, Mapusa, Sharmila A Patil said. "Thus, although the rigours of Section 37 of the NDPS Act are not applicable, the fact that the visa of the applicant has expired and he has not applied for a fresh one means that the applicant cannot be granted bail as there is every possibility that he may jump bail, tamper with witnesses and commit similar offences during his illegal stay in Goa," the court held. The Belarus citizen, through his advocate L Lobo, submitted that the case filed against him is totally false and his arrest and detention illegal, unwarranted and unjustified, and that he can renew the visa only if he is released on bail as it is difficult to renew it online from jail. Having arrived in Goa in March 2019 on a valid tourist visa, the Belarus national was residing at Arambol-Pernem when he was arrested by Pernem police in June this year during a raid when he was allegedly found in possession of charas. Public prosecutor R Barreto stated that the foreigner had not taken any steps to apply for a fresh visa, and also that he is not entitled to bail.

North Goa court denies bail to Belarus man for overstaying
  • Court denies bail to Belarus man for overstaying, not declaring income source
  • Times of India

    Panaji: A North Goa court has rejected the bail application of a 29-year-old Belarus citizen who was arrested by Pernem police for allegedly possessing charas weighing 152g, worth Rs 1.5 lakh, at Khalchawada, Arambol. Although the amount of narcotics he was allegedly caught with is a variable quantity, the court found that despite his visa having expired in January 2020, he hadn’t applied for a fresh one nor had he disclosed the source of income that was sustaining him in Goa since then.The court stated that the source of income from January 13, 2020, to date needed to be disclosed because his tourist visa had expired on that date, and his source of income was a material fact to be stated.“The applicant has only stated in the additional information that he has a bank account in Russian Commercial Bank called ‘Tinkoff Bank’… at Philip Port branch in Belarus and that the funds available with the applicant are Rs 50,000. However, he has not stated what the source of his income is in order to sustain him in Goa,” additional sessions judge, North Goa, Mapusa, Sharmila A Patil said.“Thus, although the rigours of Section 37 of the NDPS Act are not applicable, the fact that the visa of the applicant has expired and he has not applied for a fresh one means that the applicant cannot be granted bail as there is every possibility that he may jump bail, tamper with witnesses and commit similar offences during his illegal stay in Goa,” the court held.The Belarus citizen, through his advocate L Lobo, submitted that the case filed against him is totally false and his arrest and detention illegal, unwarranted and unjustified, and that he can renew the visa only if he is released on bail as it is difficult to renew it online from jail.Having arrived in Goa in March 2019 on a valid tourist visa, the Belarus national was residing at Arambol-Pernem when he was arrested by Pernem police in June this year during a raid when he was allegedly found in possession of charas.Public prosecutor R Barreto stated that the foreigner had not taken any steps to apply for a fresh visa, and also that he is not entitled to bail.

With help from Goa governor PS Sreedharan Pillai, poet with MS hopes for a miracle
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

MARGAO: Lying on a cot near the stage in an Arambol college, a 33-year old woman watched her dream come true before her eyes, as her first collection of poems, ‘Kavya Parmal’ (Fragrance of Verses), was launched. The journey here itself was no mean feat. To get to Arambol, Shraddha Garad, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, had to travel in an ambulance from her home in Davorlim, 60km away. She was then carried on a stretcher to the auditorium, which was filled with students. By the time she finished her speech later that morning, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. This was February 2020. Just a year later, Garad would go on to win the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar for ‘Kavya Parmal’. Significantly, Garad tediously penned the entire collection on her smartphone, using just one finger. On Saturday, as Goa governor PS Sreedharan Pillai felicitated her at Raj Bhavan, Garad said she was hopeful of a miracle that would enable her to walk again. She now looks to Raj Bhavan, Goa, and Goa Medical College (GMC), Bambolim, for a new lease of life. Garad has reason to be hopeful. After the intervention of the governor, Garad began to receive treatment at GMC earlier this year, and within a few months, began to experience gradual yet remarkable improvement in her motor functions. Pillai, a prolific litterateur himself who recently published his 150th book, visited Garad earlier this year when she won the prestigious award. So moved was he by her plight, that he recommended her case to GMC for treatment. “When the disease first struck me, I was bound to a wheelchair, and later got completely bedridden,” she said at the felicitation programme on Saturday. “It only got worse and worse. The treatment at GMC is helping me. I am able to sit on a wheelchair for a few minutes. I am hoping that I will be able to get off the wheelchair and walk again soon.” No wonder, then, that Garad refers to the governor as “an angel in my life”. “I am told there’s no treatment for this condition in medical science,” Garad told TOI. “But I believe that nothing is impossible; miracles do happen. As and when that happens, its benefits will not be limited to me alone, but will help many other patients suffering from the same disease to get some hope for a cure.” In 2014, Garad, who holds a postgraduate degree in Konkani, was struck by the autoimmune disease that left her body totally paralysed shoulder-downwards. “It was a gradual progression of the ailment. After I lost sensation in both my limbs, I quit my job. Several diagnostic tests later, my condition was diagnosed as multiple sclerosis, which has no known cure in medical science,” Garad had earlier told TOI. The revelation numbed her mind, but she soon took it in her stride, and began her search for a cure in alternative medical therapies. Two years of travelling across the country in search of a treatment led her nowhere, and her condition started deteriorating. She soon found herself bed-ridden. But it didn’t take her long to reconcile with the challenge. To keep herself occupied, a strong desire to pen down her experiences would overwhelm her. Unfortunately, she couldn’t even grip a pen, to write a word. So she thought of using her smartphone. With the one finger she could type with, she began to write, and there was no looking back. “Although I am 100% handicapped, I haven’t allowed my talent to be a handicap,” she told the crowd that February morning during her book launch, speaking into the microphone, her fingers having lost the ability to grip or clasp. “Every person on earth is God’s creation, a masterpiece. God has bestowed everyone with a talent that is needed for him. Find out that talent in you, and put it to use. The purpose of your life will then be fulfilled.” Since then, Garad has continued her literary pursuits during the course of her treatment. For the publication of ‘Kavya Parmal’, she availed of the Goa Konkani Akademi’s scheme for young writers. A few other books by her are currently awaiting release. And while Garad hopes for a miracle, the Goa governor, it is learnt, has written to the Prime Minister’s office seeking assistance for her medical treatment. “We are prepared to help wherever it is possible,” Pillai said. “When she had written and published her first book, even her fingers were barely moving. Her book of children’s stories will be released next month. I am hopeful of her recovery.”

With help from Goa governor PS Sreedharan Pillai, poet with MS hopes for a miracle
  • With help from Goa guv, poet with MS hopes for a miracle
  • Times of India

    Margao: Lying on a cot near the stage in an Arambol college, a 33-year old woman watched her dream come true before her eyes, as her first collection of poems, ‘Kavya Parmal’ (Fragrance of Verses), was launched. The journey here itself was no mean feat. To get to Arambol, Shraddha Garad, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, had to travel in an ambulance from her home in Davorlim, 60km away. She was then carried on a stretcher to the auditorium, which was filled with students. By the time she finished her speech later that morning, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.This was February 2020. Just a year later, Garad would go on to win the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar for ‘Kavya Parmal’. Significantly, Garad tediously penned the entire collection on her smartphone, using just one finger.On Saturday, as Goa governor PS Sreedharan Pillai felicitated her at Raj Bhavan, Garad said she was hopeful of a miracle that would enable her to walk again. She now looks to Raj Bhavan, Goa, and Goa Medical College (GMC), Bambolim, for a new lease of life.Garad has reason to be hopeful. After the intervention of the governor, Garad began to receive treatment at GMC earlier this year, and within a few months, began to experience gradual yet remarkable improvement in her motor functions.Pillai, a prolific litterateur himself who recently published his 150th book, visited Garad earlier this year when she won the prestigious award. So moved was he by her plight, that he recommended her case to GMC for treatment.“When the disease first struck me, I was bound to a wheelchair, and later got completely bedridden,” she said at the felicitation programme on Saturday. “It only got worse and worse. The treatment at GMC is helping me. I am able to sit on a wheelchair for a few minutes. I am hoping that I will be able to get off the wheelchair and walk again soon.”No wonder, then, that Garad refers to the governor as “an angel in my life”.“I am told there’s no treatment for this condition in medical science,” Garad told TOI. “But I believe that nothing is impossible; miracles do happen. As and when that happens, its benefits will not be limited to me alone, but will help many other patients suffering from the same disease to get some hope for a cure.”In 2014, Garad, who holds a postgraduate degree in Konkani, was struck by the autoimmune disease that left her body totally paralysed shoulder-downwards. “It was a gradual progression of the ailment. After I lost sensation in both my limbs, I quit my job. Several diagnostic tests later, my condition was diagnosed as multiple sclerosis, which has no known cure in medical science,” Garad had earlier told TOI.The revelation numbed her mind, but she soon took it in her stride, and began her search for a cure in alternative medical therapies. Two years of travelling across the country in search of a treatment led her nowhere, and her condition started deteriorating. She soon found herself bed-ridden.But it didn’t take her long to reconcile with the challenge. To keep herself occupied, a strong desire to pen down her experiences would overwhelm her. Unfortunately, she couldn’t even grip a pen, to write a word. So she thought of using her smartphone. With the one finger she could type with, she began to write, and there was no looking back. “Although I am 100% handicapped, I haven’t allowed my talent to be a handicap,” she told the crowd that February morning during her book launch, speaking into the microphone, her fingers having lost the ability to grip or clasp. “Every person on earth is God’s creation, a masterpiece. God has bestowed everyone with a talent that is needed for him. Find out that talent in you, and put it to use. The purpose of your life will then be fulfilled.”Since then, Garad has continued her literary pursuits during the course of her treatment. For the publication of ‘Kavya Parmal’, she availed of the Goa Konkani Akademi’s scheme for young writers. A few other books by her are currently awaiting release.And while Garad hopes for a miracle, the Goa governor, it is learnt, has written to the Prime Minister’s office seeking assistance for her medical treatment.“We are prepared to help wherever it is possible,” Pillai said. “When she had written and published her first book, even her fingers were barely moving. Her book of children’s stories will be released next month. I am hopeful of her recovery.”

Goa: Man arrested for raping British woman under pretext of mud bath
The Indian Express | 3 months ago | |
The Indian Express
3 months ago | |

A 22-year-old man was Tuesday arrested for allegedly raping a British woman at Arambol in North Goa under the pretext of giving her a mud bath. The Goa police arrested Joel D’souza after an FIR under Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered against him, Shobhit Saksena, Superintendent of Police, North Goa said.According to the police, D’souza had posed as a masseuse and lured the woman to Sweet Water Lake in Arambol under the pretext of giving her a mud bath. However, he was not a professional masseuse and had taken advantage of the woman because she was alone, added the police. The woman who was in Goa on a tourist visa had approached the UK consulate for assistance. She approached the police with officials of the consulate in Goa to file a complaint on Monday. The FIR was registered at the Pernem Police Station.Earlier this week, the Goa police also started a crackdown on illegal massage parlours, hawkers, and touts operating in the state. On Sunday, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who holds the home portfolio, had said, “We will take action against illegal massage parlours. I have already instructed the police department that all illegal massage parlours will be shut down from tomorrow. Only those who have a spa license and beauty parlour license, those who are registered with the health, police and tourism department, will be allowed to run. In Ayurvedic panchakarma centres, massage parlours, there should be Ayurvedic practitioners.”Saksena said that the police had already begun taking action against illegal massage parlours, hawkers, and touts. With this, hawkers selling small items on beaches, braiding hair, and offering massages on the beach have also been disallowed. The police have said that no masseuse without a license will be allowed to operate.Saksena said, “All massage parlours have been directed to keep their licenses visible with the names of the masseuse. Tourists are also being informed that no cross-massage is permitted in Goa which means males can be massaged only by a male masseuse and females only by a female. There is also an extensive crackdown on hawkers and touts. People are also advised not to take assistance from guides, touts and not purchase anything from hawkers. More than 100 hawkers have been booked in the last one month.”

Goa: Man arrested for raping British woman under pretext of mud bath
When dreams comes true
Navhind Times | 4 months ago | |
Navhind Times
4 months ago | |

A teacher at Don Bosco’s in Panaji and a versatile actor who has played a variety of roles in many tiatr, Pedro Rodrigues from Arambol has made a mark on the Konkani stageJP PEREIRAPedro Rodrigues’ love for tiatr was nurtured at a young age. His father Juaomari Rodrigues was an amateur actor, who acted in shows staged in villages. “I remember my father telling me of his days in tiatr, especially the female roles he played for duets, as in those days girls would not step on the stage,” he recalls.As an altar server in Arambol Church, the Parish Priest Fr C Mazarello, would also encourage and cast him in small plays. “For the village and ward annual feast, there would always be a tiatr and I would regularly attend the rehearsals. This is when I made up my mind that soon I would also act in tiatr,” he says.When Rodrigues joined the seminary in Saligao, Micheal Fernandes, one of the students there, wrote ‘Axea’, a play to be staged for the annual day, he got an opportunity to perform. However the break came in 1991 when Anthony Rodrigues staged ‘Papi’ in the village. “I was offered a major role and that was the first tiatr I acted in. My wish was fulfilled and there was no looking back,” he says.Affectionately called Sir Peter by his co-artistes, he has acted for many directors. Aires de Arambol cast him in ‘Vath’ and ‘Moronn’. There was ‘Konn Guneavkari’ by Caitan Fernandes, ‘Naum Tujem’ by Mina Rodrigues, ‘Sonxit Tho Bhagivont’ by Evaristo de Arambol, ‘Tukach Lagon’ by Vailankani de Souza, and many others.But he came into the limelight when ace director and winner of many KA Tiatr competitions, Alexin de Morjim, began casting him in his tiatr. Beginning with ‘Osleank Konn Sambautolo’, he continued in ‘Sarpanch’, ‘Hanv Jikhlom’, the superb ‘Sorry’, ‘Chowkidar’ and the latest, ‘Kochro’ in which he played a corrupt and evil minister in style. His own plays include ‘Dev Nidonk na’, ‘Nit Konn Kortorlo?’, ‘Oxem Kiteak Ghodta?’, and some others.“Tiatr has given me an opportunity to perform in Delhi and Gujarat for plays by Alexin de Morjim. I compose my own songs and have lent my lyrics to many other singers,” he says. Asked about the standard of tiatr today he says: “Tiatr has become commercialised. The young generation doesn’t seem to be attracted to tiatr. Vulgarity has set in! We as tiatrists should use our skill and innovate, to get the younger generation to fall in love with tiatr,” he says. Further, he says, as a teacher of the Konkani language, he advises youngsters to watch the tiatr performed at the Kala Academy competitions and those staged by senior writers and directors. “A few new directors are also trying to introduce new ideas. Let us strive to take the standard of our tiatr high. Parents, please motivate your children to act in tiatrs, if they havethe talent.”Rodrigues is also grateful for his talent and all the blessings in his life. “I am thankful to God for my talent and my family, for all their support. My wife Querobina and mother Jebelina is always encouraging and my daughter, Rosanne who is in the class 7 already acts and sings for tiatr in the village,” he says.“I wanted to be a tiatrist and I achieved this. It is a hobby and I am grateful to all my directors for the opportunity to perform”, he adds.Other tiatr acted in:‘Bore Dis Kedna Ietole?’, ‘Facebook’, ‘Citizen’ by Alexin de Morjim‘Vath’ by Fr Minguel Pereira‘Amkam Bhogos Maie’ by Natty de Arambol; ‘Xevott’ by Peter Rodrigues‘Pai Director’ by Peter CardozoAwards: Felicitated at the 125 years of Tiatr Celebration, Merit certificate for acting in a negative role in ‘Kochro’

When dreams comes true
Govt seeks pyats help to keep tabs on illegal renting
Times of India | 4 months ago | |
Times of India
4 months ago | |

Panaji: The tourism department has written to panchayats asking them to share information about persons and entities in their jurisdictions who illegally rent out rooms to tourists so that action can be initiated against them. “Since it isn’t feasible for them (tourism department) to check every operator who may be operating without permission, they want panchayats to help them,” said an official. The panchayats, however, are yet to respond. Even as a recently-introduced law makes it mandatory for all those who rent houses or flats to tourists to register with the tourism department, industry stakeholders claim that there is a huge illegal inventory of rooms. The tourism department has not received many complaints about illegal operators. “Whatever few complaints we received were acted upon,” the official said. He also said that the department has made its position clear to online aggregators, that they have to ensure that guesthouses or rooms enlisted by them are registered with the tourism department. “It is their responsibility,” he said. In coastal villages of both North and South Goa, the trend of renting houses to foreign tourists has set in. In fact, around Arambol, Morjim, Ashvem, and Mandrem, every second house is rented to tourists (mostly Russians and others who stay in Goa for long periods). Over the past two years of the pandemic, the trend was halted, but it resumed this year, even though fewer foreigners are visiting Goa. Russian charters to Goa were suspended after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The state received a few charters from Kazakhstan, but operations stopped even before the season could wind up. “Now, domestic tourists who wish to stay in Goa for a long period of time stay in houses,” an Arambol villager said. “Villagers are happy to rent provided they get paid. There is a lot of money in renting houses to tourists.”

Govt seeks pyats help to keep tabs on illegal renting
Goa: Tourist police fail to keep vendors away from beaches
Times of India | 4 months ago | |
Times of India
4 months ago | |

PANAJI: Even the increased presence of tourist police has not completely stopped the entry of vendors on the beaches. Vendors are not permitted to sell goods on the beaches, yet they are found on almost all as if a permanent feature, though their numbers may differ from beach to beach. A tourism official said that a major challenge before them is to find a solution to this problem and it will be their priority. "Removing touts and vendors from the beaches will be important to us," the official said. The tourist police have their own justification for not being able to end the nuisance of hawkers on the beaches, while at some beach stretches even children can be found either begging or selling goods. A tourist police posted at Calangute beach, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that they try their best to chase the vendors away but when the beach is full of tourists, it is not easy to keep tabs on all of them. The police, he said, gets called when there is a problem - someone is drowning, tourists fight, lifeguards call when tourists don't heed their advice not to swim in "no swim zones". "We have seized goods from several vendors, but a few days later, they return and it is not easy to stop all of them," a tourist police personnel said. It is like a free for all at the Arambol beach which sees a heavy flow of domestic tourists. Here, there is a mix of vendors - locals, outsiders as well as a few foreigners - who display their goods, but mostly in the evenings. A shack owner from Arambol said, some of the local vendors seen selling fruits or tea are permitted by the panchayat, while the rest have the 'blessing' of someone or the other. "They are doing their business because they are protected," the shack operator alleged. The worst thing, he said, is children begging or selling goods. "When footfalls are high, more vendors descend on the beach. The children who beg are under the wings of vendors and nobody catches them," the shack operator said. He said the locals working as hawkers on the beach are few, most are from Karnataka and Maharashtra who visit Goa during the tourism season. Some double as masseurs. "Whether local or non-local, those operating illegally should be stopped but I think, over the years, the problem has grown so big that the authorities find it difficult to catch them," he said.

Goa: Tourist police fail to keep vendors away from beaches
  • Tourist police fail to keep vendors away from beaches
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Even the increased presence of tourist police has not completely stopped the entry of vendors on the beaches. Vendors are not permitted to sell goods on the beaches, yet they are found on almost all as if a permanent feature, though their numbers may differ from beach to beach. A tourism official said that a major challenge before them is to find a solution to this problem and it will be their priority. “Removing touts and vendors from the beaches will be important to us,” the official said. The tourist police have their own justification for not being able to end the nuisance of hawkers on the beaches, while at some beach stretches even children can be found either begging or selling goods. A tourist police posted at Calangute beach, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that they try their best to chase the vendors away but when the beach is full of tourists, it is not easy to keep tabs on all of them. The police, he said, gets called when there is a problem — someone is drowning, tourists fight, lifeguards call when tourists don’t heed their advice not to swim in “no swim zones”. “We have seized goods from several vendors, but a few days later, they return and it is not easy to stop all of them,” a tourist police personnel said. It is like a free for all at the Arambol beach which sees a heavy flow of domestic tourists. Here, there is a mix of vendors — locals, outsiders as well as a few foreigners — who display their goods, but mostly in the evenings. A shack owner from Arambol said, some of the local vendors seen selling fruits or tea are permitted by the panchayat, while the rest have the ‘blessing’ of someone or the other. “They are doing their business because they are protected,” the shack operator alleged. The worst thing, he said, is children begging or selling goods. “When footfalls are high, more vendors descend on the beach. The children who beg are under the wings of vendors and nobody catches them,” the shack operator said. He said the locals working as hawkers on the beach are few, most are from Karnataka and Maharashtra who visit Goa during the tourism season. Some double as masseurs. “Whether local or non-local, those operating illegally should be stopped but I think, over the years, the problem has grown so big that the authorities find it difficult to catch them,” he said.

Saving lives, finding lost husbands, all in a days work for Goa lifeguards
Times of India | 5 months ago | |
Times of India
5 months ago | |

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.

Saving lives, finding lost husbands, all in a days work for Goa lifeguards
Amid night parties and mini Carnivals, Russians, Ukrainians in Goa want peace
Times of India | 6 months ago | |
Times of India
6 months ago | |

Arambol: The scene at Arambol is set — neon fabric drapes the trees, billows of smoke emanate from chillums and fire dancers cast a fleeting light on people invoking Lord Shiva. While a war rages between Ukraine and Russia, their citizens holidaying here in Goa were organising parties for Mahashivratri. Monday night saw several events organised by foreigners at Morjim and Arambol. A party held in an empty space in front of a house at the far end of Arambol village had at least 200 guests, mostly foreigners, dancing to Shiva and Ganesh stotras and devotional songs in the Indipop style. While they may be in a distant country, war is not far from their minds. This past week, citizens of the two nations residing in Arambol, Ashvem and Morjim along the state’s northern coastal belt tapped several modes of spreading the message of peace, including by way of a mini-carnival conceptualised by the Russian community in the Arambol-Morjim area. Although the theme of the event was ‘Save the bees, save the flowers’, there was a sprinkling of calls for peace. Last Monday, a group of Ukrainians held a peace march at Arambol beach. While no Russians participated, they agreed that the war should end at the earliest. “I don’t like war and am all for peace,” said Lisa, a Russian who is in Goa with her family for a month-long vacation. Although she did not attend the protest march, she questioned why its participants were holding Ukraine flags when the march was all about peace. Another Russian, Arsenij, who has been in Goa for a little over a month, said he was extremely worried when he heard his country had begun invading Ukraine. “For two days on the trot, I read only war-related news on the internet. But there is a lot of propaganda and it is unclear as to what exactly is going on,” he said. While he added that he would like to stay longer in Goa and work, a 40-year-old Ukrainian woman nearby preferred to take in the sunset from her deck bed rather than speak about the fighting in her country. On Sunday, another rally as well as a concert will be held in Arambol. Anxiety about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has petered down to the local community too — from the shack owners and taxi drivers to even those who hardly keep abreast with the news. They worry not so much about how the war has damaged Ukraine, but about the impact it is likely to have on their tottering businesses which were only just picking up after being battered by three waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. “There can’t be a solution to the problem unless (Russian president) Vladimir Putin is made to sit across the table and discuss,” Inacio Daniel, a shack owner at Arambol said, as he attempted to delve into the geopolitics of war. It appeared that business in Goa would pick up after the third wave, he rued, despite the arrival of fewer Russian tourists. “In a few days, Russian and Kazakh tourists will be without money. Some are already returning empty-handed from ATMs as their economies are in the doldrums,” he said. Goa presently receives one chartered tourist flight from Russia every 10 days and one a week from Kazakhstan. There have been no charters from Ukraine this season. Another local maintained that Russians staying long periods in Goa do not necessarily depend on remittances from home. “They have their own sources of income. Some of their events are close-knit and organised for their people, although even Indians are allowed,” the villager said. Like Monday night’s Mahashivratri party at Arambol, the events are ticketed, include food and beverages, and are held in the evenings, mostly in a courtyard or an empty space outside a house located away from populated parts of the village. Mandrem, Arambol and Morjim fit their requirement perfectly, thanks to the symbiosis they share with the local communities whose houses, courtyards and even terraces are given on long lease to Russians and other long-staying foreign tourists.

Amid night parties and mini Carnivals, Russians, Ukrainians in Goa want peace
Expats and locals stand in solidarity with Ukraine
Times of India | 6 months ago | |
Times of India
6 months ago | |

Around 50 people got together for another peaceful anti-war protest in Arambol on Monday, with a message to stop war and stop killing civilians. The protesters included people from Ukraine, Russians living in Goa, and Indians and they stood in solidarity with the people in Ukraine. Ukrainian nationals shared stories of what their families in their home country were going through. Denis Chernenko, a Ukrainian origin, with a Russian passport, who lives in Arambol and was one of the organisers of the protest, said, “The message we want to send out is ‘stop war’, ‘stop killing civilians’ and ‘we want peace’. I just want my mother and grandmother in Ukraine to be safe and don’t want civilians being threatened, injured and killed.” Yevheniya Marenych from Ukraine, who lives in Goa, said, “What’s happening now in Ukraine is unacceptable. No country deserves to be bombed and invaded in our modern world. People of Ukraine want to be with their president and tell Russia – hands off Ukraine.” Talking about her family back home, she says, “My family is in Kharkiv now and are in danger, under the bombs and I just pray that all stay alive. There are air raid sirens all day for the last three days and it’s not even possible to evacuate them.” Rahul Jamad, based in Tivim, who took part in the protest, said, “We joined the ‘anti-war’ protest because our friend is Ukrainian and her parents were feeding and counselling Indian students stuck in Kyiv despite being war victims themselves. It stirred up something inside us, we wanted to show our solidarity to those who are fighting to stay humane and compassionate despite their homes beings bombed and their lives being upturned. Above all, we believe that ordinary citizens around the world want peace, and that only through collective will and action, can we change the world. We stand with victims of war everywhere.”

Expats and locals stand in solidarity with Ukraine
NGT notice to GCZMA in Arambol beach damage case
Times of India | 7 months ago | |
Times of India
7 months ago | |

Panaji: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a notice to the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA), asking it to respond within six weeks in a case of environmental damage by a CRZ offender on the Arambol coast. The notice was issued after an applicant approached the Tribunal stating that GCZMA discharged a show cause notice issued against the violator, after the offender removed the illegalities. The GCZMA, he said, has acted in defiance of the law as the ecology of the place has been left affected by the environmental damage caused by the illegal construction. “On the basis of the fact that respondent no.2 (violator) had rectified the illegalities and violations noticed in the previous inspection report, in complete defiance of the provisions of law and neglecting the depletion and destruction to the environment and ecology of the Arambol beach, the respondent no.1 (GCZMA) has, vide order impugned discharged the impugned show cause notice,” the applicant told the NGT. The applicant has challenged an order passed by the GCZMA on November 12, 2021. According to the applicant, the offender had raised certain constructions in violation of CRZ Notification, 2018, and a complaint was filed before GCZMA seeking necessary action. However, the applicant said that GCZMA failed to act and he had to file a writ petition before the high court of Bombay in Goa. The applicant had pointed out that the construction on Arambol coast in Pernem had been carried out within 200m from the High Tide Line (HTL). After the high court order was also not complied with, the complainant filed first and second contempt petition, and only then an inspection was done by GCZMA, the appeal before the NGT states. Following the inspection, violations of the CRZ notification were found and the committee recommended demolition of the offending structures. “For reasons best known to the GCZMA, they again constituted a committee and inspected the site”, the applicant told the NGT. Based on this second inspection report, as the violator had taken down the illegal structures, the show cause notice was withdrawn and no further action taken. The matter is listed to be heard next by the Tribunal on April 8, 2022.

NGT notice to GCZMA in Arambol beach damage case
Goa elections: Laxmikant Parsekar takes on his parivar as rivals put up a stiff fight
Times of India | 7 months ago | |
Times of India
7 months ago | |

Laxmikant Parsekar’s decision to throw his hat into the ring as an independent candidate for the eletions has changed political equations in Mandrem. What seemed like a straight fight between BJP and MGP has now turned triangular. Sitting BJP legislator and its candidate now Dayanand Sopte, MGP candidate Jit Arolkar and Parsekar as an independent are all jostling for the seat. “Anger has been brewing against Sopte for the last three years, while anger against Parsekar (which led to his defeat in 2017) has subsided. Jit is being looked at as a new and young face for the constituency,” a political observer said. Most in the constituency believe that the fight will be a close one with a winning margin of less than a thousand votes, probably decided by the silent voter. If Parsekar manages to win, it will be the first for an independent candidate in Mandrem. It will also be a major embarrassment for BJP as the party denied him the ticket, stating that the veteran politician was not in a position to win from here, as per results of its internal survey. After Parsekar became the chief minister in the year 2014, when Manohar Parrikar was elevated to the position of defence minister in the Union cabinet, he was more focused on administration which led to him losing touch with the constituents. “Parsekar has now started realising that connect with people is of utmost importance. He has started approaching people seeking their support,” said a resident of Arambol. A Mandrem resident said Sopte’s confidence has been sky-high since he defeated Parsekar with a margin of over 7000 votes in 2017. Even in the byelection as a BJP candidate, he won by a margin of 4,000 votes. “His arrogance has now forced people to move away from him. Parsekar has taken this opportunity to revive his political career,” the resident said. After Parsekar was denied the ticket by BJP, agitated supporters forced him to contest as an independent candidate. Soon enough, he quit the party after an association of 32 years. For the first time, Congress, who has won the constituency twice, including in 2017, has left the seat to its alliance partner Goa Forward. Former BJP zilla panchayat member Deepak Kalangutkar is now the alliance candidate. “In addition to Congress votes, there are over 4,500 minority voters in the constituency. It would be interesting to see whom these voters support as Congress doesn’t have a candidate,” a political observer said. A minority voter from Morjim said with Parsekar breaking ties with BJP, he could now be an option. “Parsekar is a respectable person in the constituency, but we were reluctant to vote for him as he belonged to BJP. We can now think of him as an option,” he said. Arolkar, too, has enough goodwill in the constituency. “In times of Covid pandemic, it was Jit who reached out to people. Without being part of the government, he has gone out of his way to do people’s personal work,” said a resident of Arambol. “During every election, there is polarisation between Maratha and Bhandari community. But this time, the intensity has increased to a very large extent,” a political observer said, adding that Parsekar is a strong candidate from the Maratha community. The roles of former legislators Ramakant Khalap and Sangeeta Parab, both with a good voter base in Mandrem, are also being looked at with keen interest. After joining BJP, Sopte was rewarded with the chairmanship of Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), which helped him take up developmental projects of over Rs 500 crore in the coastal constituency. Whether that’s enough remains to be seen.

Goa elections: Laxmikant Parsekar takes on his parivar as rivals put up a stiff fight