The New Year for Goa appears to have begun with a fresh wave of endangered Olive Ridley turtles landing on the state’s beaches laying more than 100 eggs over the last few weeks. Only this time, the turtles appear to have unconventionally chosen popular beaches like Vagator, Cavelossim and Arambol, unlike beaches like Galgibaga and Morjim, which are traditionally known for being home to turtle nesting sites. According to Drishti Marine, its lifesavers and beach safety patrol (BSP) personnel deployed at night to keep vigil on Goa's beaches discovered over 103 eggs spread across the three beaches. The turtle eggs have been handed over to the Goa government’s Forest Department. Drishti BSP and lifesavers play an important part in safeguarding the nesting turtles and their egg-laying sites throughout Goa’s 105 km long coastline and are designated first responders and rescuers of distressed marine life. While at Ashwem and Vagator, the turtle eggs were found buried in a nesting area in a more secluded location of the beaches, at Cavelossim an Olive Ridley turtle laid eggs along the regular beach stretch. “The Drishti 'Beach Safety Patrol' is deployed at night across Goa's beaches to monitor the area. However, in the turtle nesting season , they play another very important role, which is safeguarding nesting turtles who arrive to lay their eggs on beaches where they were born,” says Navin Awasthi, the operations head of Drishti Marine.
Two kayakers and two minor children were among 11 persons rescued off Goa’s beaches by Drishti lifesavers over the packed weekend, which saw hundreds of thousands of tourists making a beeline to the coastline to usher in the New Year. The double rescue of two male kayakers was reported off Palolem beach, after they were caught in rough current and their two-seater kayak toppled. A man and a woman, both aged 23-years-old from Hyderabad, were also saved using a rescue board after a brief struggle in the water due to heavy current.The New Year’s weekend also saw the rescue of two children, aged ten and twelve years, after they were knocked over by a strong wave which swept them towards deeper waters off Baga beach. Last week Drishti Marine had implemented midnight shifts for lifeguards as a strategic measure to safeguard lives at Goa's beaches and other water bodies, keeping in mind the increased traffic during the festival season.
Nine Russian tourists were rescued off Mandrem and Morjim beaches, even as five other persons were rescued along Goa’s beaches, which saw tourists visit the state’s coastline by the droves over the Christmas weekend. At Mandrem, two Russian nationals, aged 67 years and 41 years respectively, were overcome by a rough current. The mother and daughter were pushed apart by powerful waves and were struggling to swim back to shore. On noticing the struggle, Drishti lifesavers, Karan and Rohit rushed to their rescue with the help of rescue tubes. The lifesavers brought the individuals back to shore and conducted a few medical tests before releasing them. Another Russian national aged 28 years was also caught in a rip current on the same beach and needed rescuing by Drishti lifesavers Rahul and Akshan, with the help of a jetski and a rescue tube.Morjim beach accounted for three double rescues involving Russian nationals. Lifesavers Amon and Pramod, came to the aid of a male and female, aged 38 years and 18 years, who found themselves in a difficult situation in the waters after being hit by rough tide. The Christmas weekend also saw five other rescues across the coastal belt of Goa. Morjim, Vagator and Mandrem accounted for most of the rescue incidents.Additional lifeguards were deputed to popular beaches and midnight shifts for lifeguards had been introduced by Drishti Marine last week, as a strategic measure to safeguard lives at Goa's beaches and other water bodies, keeping in mind the additional footfall of visitors during the festive period. In addition to the rescues, Drishti lifesavers were responsible for the recovery of six missing children and one adult on the beaches of Calangute, Mandrem, Colva and Baga.At Calangute beach, there was a double rescue involving residents of Mumbai and Bengaluru, between the ages of 25 years and 27 years. Vagator beach reported one rescue of an individual from Rajasthan who was caught in a rough rip current, while Colva and Palolem both reported a rescue each on the respective beaches.Drishti lifesavers assisted in the recovery of six missing children, the youngest of whom was a two-year-old and the oldest was nine-years-old. Each operation involved a jeep, with announcements made over the PA system. A male resident of Jaipur, aged 24 years, was reported missing on Baga beach by friends from his group. Upon receiving the information, Drishti lifesavers set out to look for the individual. The search operation was carried out at sea using jet skis and on land with the assistance of a jeep. The 24-year-old was later discovered in a shack on the shore after a thorough search of the area.
PANAJI: In what is becoming a trend among tourists, yet another individual drove a car onto a beach, this time onto the Morjim beach. With images of the vehicle being circulated on social media, the tourism department directed Pernem police to file an FIR against the unidentified individuals. According to deputy director for tourism Dhiraj Vagle, the incident occurred on Thursday noon. The vehicle, a Toyota Innova Crysta, appears stuck in the sand at Morjim. Photographs of the Goa registered car, which is close to the high tide line, also showed three individuals. Morjim is a known Olive Ridley turtle nesting site and the government has banned all forms of activity that can disturb the turtles. The tourism department has also declared driving on Goa’s beaches as a nuisance as such activities can damage the tourism potential of Goa’s beaches. Incidents where tourists violate rules and drive in a reckless manner have become common in Goa. “One unauthorised vehicle bearing registration no. GA 03 Z 8474 was found to be recklessly and illegally driving at Morjim beach stretch,” said Vagle. He asked the police to file an FIR against the driver and vehicle owner under Section 188 of the IPC. Along with criminal proceedings, the guilty will also have to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 extendible up to Rs 50,000.
PANAJI: In what is becoming a trend among tourists, yet another individual drove a car onto a beach, this time onto the Morjim beach. With images of the vehicle being circulated on social media, the tourism department directed the Pernem Police Station to file an FIR against the unidentified individuals. According to deputy director for Tourism Dhiraj Vagle, the incident occurred on Thursday noon time. The vehicle, a Toyota Innova Crysta, appears stuck in the sand at Morjim. Photographs of the car, which has Goa registration, showed three individuals besides the car which is close to the high tide line. Morjim is a known Olive Ridley turtle nesting site and the government has banned all forms of activity that can disturb the turtles. The tourism department has also declared driving on Goa's beaches as a nuisance as such activities can damage the tourism potential of Goa’s beaches. Incidents where tourists violate rules and drive in a reckless manner have become common in Goa. “One unauthorized vehicle bearing registration No GA 03 Z 8474 was found to be recklessly and illegally driving at Morjim beach stretch,” said Vagle. Vagle asked the police to file an FIR against the driver and owner of the vehicle under section 188 of IPC. Along with criminal proceedings, the guilty will also have to pay a fine of Rs 5000 extendible up to Rs 50000. Under the Goa Tourist Places Protection and Maintenance Act, the tourism department has prohibited several activities including cooking of food in open spaces, begging, driving on beaches, drinking in public, massages, unauthorized hawkers and selling of cruise tickets. In this case, the owner of the car is liable for fines to the tune of Rs 5000 extendible upto Rs 50000. Goa has witnessed several instances of tourists taking their personal vehicles and rented vehicles for a drive on the beach, often even driving into the water. In the past, several vehicles got bogged down in the sand and were even partially submerged in water.
PANAJI: Some operators have set up beach shacks while the remaining will be up and ready to operate by next week in time to cash in on the Diwali crowd. Footfalls were low this week but shack operators are of the opinion that the numbers will swell next week. Conventionally, Goa sees a rise in domestic footfalls during the Diwali vacation, the period also marks the beginning of the charter season, though the scenario during the past two years was different due to the pandemic. The season's first charter is slated to arrive from Kazakhstan on October 26. Charters from Russia will start arriving in Goa from November 2 and those from the UK from November 6. "Not all have erected shacks in South Goa beaches yet, but we expect them to be in place by next week. However, negligible footfalls this week has worried operators," president of the Goa Shack Owners Welfare Society (SOWS), Cruz Cardozo said. A beach shack operator in North Goa said that, with fewer tourists, operators have grown anxious. Popular beach stretches normally see a steady flow of tourists with Calangute, Candolim and Baga grossing highest numbers. Cardozo said that North Goa's beaches receive more tourists than those in South Goa. Cardozo said that they were concerned about 30-odd shack allottees who were denied permissions by the tourism department to set up shacks for having failed to pay the last two seasons fees. A few have received messages from the tourism department in the past three days asking that they pay the pending licence fees within two weeks. "We had asked for three weeks to pay the arrears. Some allottees did not put up shacks during the past two seasons due to the pandemic and had also not paid licence and other fees. We had requested the government that they be permitted to start operations this season if they paid the last two seasons' fees," Cardozo said. The SOWS president said they would request the tourism director next week to grant allottees an additional one week to pay the fees.
Panaji: The huge amount of trash collected from Goa’s beaches as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Day proves the inefficiency of the agency tasked with keeping Goa’s beaches clean, Congress said on Saturday. Congress state president Amit Patkar further alleged that the contract awarded to Karnataka Commercial and Industrial Corporation (KCIC) Pvt Ltd is a scam. “It is shocking to see chief minister Pramod Sawant, Union minister Shripad Naik, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte and BJP president Sadanand Tanawade collecting huge garbage from various beaches across Goa. This proves that the beach cleaning contractor appointed by the government is not doing anything,” Patkar added.In October 2019, the department of tourism awarded the beach cleaning contract to the Bengaluru-based company. KCIC has been tasked with carrying out comprehensive beach cleaning services across 37 major beaches in Goa.To mark the International Coastal Cleanup Day, various agencies, students and citizens picked up plastic waste, torn nets, vegetation debris and other discarded material from Goa’s beaches. Sawant, Khaunte, the Indian Coast Guard and other agencies posted several photographs of the trash collected. Congress used these pictures to claim that their allegations of a scam are vindicated.“I urge new BJP MLAs Digambar Kamat and Aleixo Sequeira to demand with the chief minister to scrap the beach cleaning contract and save almost Rs 60 crore from the state exchequer,” Patkar said. “I appeal to the CM to organise such drives every week and engage local panchayats in beach cleaning work. They will do the work with cost effectiveness and our beaches will also remain clean.”The beach cleaning contract has been mired in allegations of corruption and inefficiency which had prompted the lokayukta to order an inquiry into the beach cleaning scam under the two contractors Ram Cleaners & Developers and Bhumika Cleantec Services.
Panaji: Hundreds of higher secondary and college students, government staffers, hotel and shack workers, besides ministers and MLAs, came together on Saturday morning for the biggest single-day beach clean-up effort ever in Goa. Led by Goa governor PS Sreedharan Pillai and chief minister Pramod Sawant, tonnes of litter, mainly plastic waste, was collected from 37 beaches. A symbolic human chain was then formed at Miramar beach to promote clean and safe beaches and for protection of marine environment.“For the first time, government staffers, students, hotel and shack workers, local panchayat members are together carrying out such a clean-up. Goa is famous for its sun, sand and sea and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always been for pushing our blue economy. Through this single-day awareness effort, we ask all locals and tourists to carry forward the campaign through 365 days a year. Goa’s 104km coast should be preserved for future generations and we should ensure that benefits of the blue economy are passed on to the next generation,” the CM said, speaking at Miramar beach clean-up.The clean-up began at 8am and went on for an hour before the human chain was formed at 9am. “The human chain is symbolic to show that Goa’s beaches are safe and clean. We are also strictly implementing an anti-narcotics drive. These are efforts to make Goa the tourism capital of India,” said Sawant.The governor said that, under the leadership of PM Modi, after the success of ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ now the focus should be on the cleanliness of oceans. “The ‘Swachh Sagar Surakshit Sagar’ campaign was launched, taking into consideration our future generations. Seas and seashores need to be protected,” said Pillai.The 75-day long coastal clean-up campaign called ‘Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar’ ended on Saturday with participation of all stakeholders to mark the birthday of PM Modi. The overwhelming response helped in collection of litter, mainly plastic straws, plastic bottles, food wrappers and cigarette buds etc from the beach areas. The idea behind the campaign was to spread awareness, especially among the youth, about the impact of coastal pollution and the necessity of coastal clean-up.“Cleanliness should become a habit. During the Covid-19 pandemic we have realised the importance of cleanliness. Since Goa is a favourite destination of tourists because of the beaches, we have to maintain neat and clean beaches,” said Union minister of state for tourism Shripad Naik.‘Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar’ was a collaborative campaign of departments from the ministry of earth sciences, ministry of environment, forest and climate change, Indian Coast Guard, 1Goa NCC Battalion, India Tourism, Goa Tourism and state government departments, schools and colleges.The campaign for improving ocean health through collective action started on July 5 and has three goals that target transformation and environmental conservation through behavior change. The three underlying goals of the campaign are to consume responsibly, segregate waste at home and dispose responsibly.It is the longest running voluntary coastal cleanup campaign in the world with the highest number of people participating in it. Goan seaman association, corporate sector and NGOs also supported the effort.Indian Coast Guard organized the clean-up at six beaches in North and South Goa and 600 persons participated at Bogmalo beach alone.Minister Mauvin Godinho said that the event will not only inspire and motivate people to keep Goa’s beaches clean but will also help stress on reduced usage of plastics in day-to-day life which will ultimately result in lesser pollution of beaches and seas.
Porvorim: Reminiscing about his visits to beaches as a 10-year-old, opposition leader Michael Lobo said that though majority of tourists visit Goa for the beaches, they are not clean as they used to be some years ago. “This House has seen several debates about how to increase footfalls. Some ministers even went to America to promote Goa. You don’t need to do that. Goa is the brand, however, the cleanliness has to be maintained at beaches,” he said. He also demanded that the tourism minister see to it that the ministry has its own force rather than rely on Goa police. tnn
Panaji: Over the last week, beaches across Goa are seen streaked with large quantities of tar balls, marring the coast’s beauty. Officials of the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) are now set to inspect the beaches and collect samples, which will be analysed by scientists of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO). Board chairman Mahesh Patil said that tar balls usually wash up on the beaches during the pre-monsoon period and towards the fag-end of the monsoon season. However, this year, the tar balls appeared earlier than expected and in larger quantities than ever before. Last year, environment minister Nilesh Cabral had said that the tar balls are found to be originating from oil discharged by vessels operating in the high seas off Mumbai’s coast. Cabral had also written to the Centre for assistance in tackling the issue of vessels discharging oil irresponsibly. “Pollution control board officers will visit some of the sites, collect samples and give them for testing to NIO which is already carrying out research in this area as it requires very specialised expertise. As per preliminary findings, NIO has said tar balls are coming due to vessels plying in high seas and from Bombay High. But one is yet to pinpoint the exact cause and further research is on,” Patil said. With every year, the issue of tar balls appearing on Goa’s beaches seems to be worsening. In 2021, in a single day, on September 12, tar balls landed on 12 different beach stretches in the state. The tarballs left the beaches of Mandrem, Arambol, Morjim, Keri, Ashvem, Calangute-Baga, Caranzalem, and Miramar scarred in North Goa while in South Goa, the beaches of Velsao-Cansaulim and Cavelossim were affected last year.
Canacona: Two days after they surfaced on Agonda beach, tar balls were noticed on Patnem beach on Tuesday. A layer of the black sticky substance covered the shore of the South Goa beach. Residents have demanded that the government carry out an immediate inspection of the beach. It may be recalled that the issue of tar balls had been raised in the Assembly last year and environment minister Nilesh Cabral had said that following an NIO's study, the government had attributed the source of the tar balls to oil spills from the Mumbai high region, an offshore rig off the coast of Maharashtra.
Singer Shilpa Rao was recently in Goa to perform at a corporate gig. "I started coming to Goa mostly for concerts and I used to always stay back another day and have that day to myself to unwind. Goa has been a sweet little getaway away from Mumbai, as Mumbai is quite hectic. Goa is a great place to connect with yourself and rejuvenate. This time is a little special, as my husband Ritesh is here and we took a couple of days off to explore Goa beaches. The beauty of sitting at the beach and doing nothing is impeccable," she says. Talking about how she likes to spend her time in Goa, she says, "I prefer to go to a beach which is not very crowded were I won't find anyone, so I will just find a place where I could just sit and maybe put out some music and chill. Also, Goa has some amazing art driven cafes and curated meals which is fine too." "We were in Goa for my husband Ritesh's birthday and honestly the best thing about Goa is the beaches and the calmness of it. Sit by the beach and do nothing are my best memories from Goa," she says. On the work front, she has a few film songs in the pipeline.
Panaji: Based on its commitment to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) had formed a 3-member committee to fix environmental compensation for violations on turtle nesting beaches of Goa. The panel has now submitted its report, in which it has stated that the monetary compensation to be paid by the violators works out to Rs 2.5 crore in all. The GCZMA has accepted the committee’s report at its meeting held last month and decided to begin the work of calculating the recovery per violator based on satellite imagery. “The Authority received the report of the 3-member committee headed by Sujeet Kumar Dongre, expert member, GCZMA on February 21,” the GCZMA said. In brief, the committee has come to a finding that the environmental compensation works out to be Rs 2,59,6174 crore, per hectare per year, which translates to Rs 2,590 per sq mt per year,” the GCZMA noted. After presentation of the report by the committee members, the GCZMA resolved to accept the report. The cases of violation on the turtle nesting beaches include alteration of natural landscape, erection of temporary or permanent structures, landscaping by removing native vegetation, flattening of sand dunes, change in native vegetation composition, construction of swimming pool, among others. “The Authority resolved to carry out exercise of calculation of fines based on area damaged, calculating difference in land use change in square meter by satellite imagery (from the year the violation was noticed) along with field verification on a case-to-case basis so that compensation can be recovered from the violators,” the GCZMA said. With respect to the sound and light pollution, an additional fine will be levied using polluter pay principle with assistance from the Goa State Pollution Board, the GCZMA has said. Goa Paryavaran Savrakshan Sangharsh Samitee had sought that the regulations should be enforced to restrict activities on the four Olive Ridley turtle nesting beaches in Goa at Morjim, Mandrem, Galgibaga and Agonda, including provisions to fine the violators. The Samitee had approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the matter of fixing appropriate environmental compensation to be recovered from violators for the damage caused. The recovery of Rs 2 lakh earlier from the violator was seen as inadequate as against the damages caused.
Seek relaxation in licence feesPanaji: The beach shack operators on Monday informed that their business has been affected due to the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia. These operators said that for the past two years, they had already been out of business owing to the coronavirus pandemic and now the war has only added to their woes.Stating that the government has not provided any related relief to them yet, these shack operators further demanded that the new government coming to power should give them 50% relaxation in shack licence fees.They have also claimed that no tourist, especially foreign tourist approaches them to rent the beach shacks and this situation is same in North as well as South Goa. The beach shack owners also predicted that the ongoing tourist season would be dull for them.
Vasco: Goa airport has taken steps to give visitors a Goan feel from the minute they arrive. Airport director Gagan Malik said there is quite a lot about Goa that people do not know and that the airport authorities are attempting to highlight those facets. As part of the initiative, the arrival lounge and the aiprortâs compound wall have art work showcasing various heritage sites of Goa. The entrance gate, meanwhile, has been given a carnival look with face masks decorating the area and colourful illumination at night. âPeople feel that Goa is about beaches and merry-making. But Goa is also a serious destination that is rich in heritage. Itâs nice to see people taking selfies at the entrance gate of airport. Visitors are also often seen exploring Goa at the airport itself,,â Malik said.