Margao/Canacona: Irate residents of Canacona led by Janardhan Bhandari, who contested the February 14 assembly elections on Congress ticket from Canacona, gheraoed the PWD executive engineer Dattaprasad Kamat and demanded that all pending road works on NH 66, including the newly-built Manohar Parrikar bypass at Canacona be started. They have warned of resorting to rasta roko at Canacona and at several places along the highway on March 1 if the works don’t start by then. Later speaking to reporters, Bhandari said that regular commuters from Canacona to Margao have to face hardships owing to the bad condition of the highway at several places. “The PWD had issued the work order to a contractor in October last year, but the work is yet to be commenced. Such is the audacity of the contractor that he has failed to reply to the letters written to him by the PWD engineer for not starting the work,” Bhandari said. GFP’s Prashant Naik, who was also among the protesters, said that accidents on the Manohar Parrikar bypass road have become an almost daily feature. “The Manohar Parrikar bypass has become a death trap, particularly for two-wheeler riders,” he said. Kamat told reporters that he had already given an ultimatum of 10 days to the contractor to start the work.
March 1 deadline issued to the PWD for taking up road hot-mixing workMargao: The Congress party along with a delegation of Canacona residents on Thursday served March 1 deadline to the PWD (national highways) for taking up the hot-mix carpeting of highway from Margao to Canacona, which is in a dilapidated condition, and warned of blocking the National Highway66 if the work was not commenced.The Canacona delegation questioned the delay in commencing the road work since February was almost over and around three months were left for monsoon to arrive.They said that the road is in a pathetic condition and even the newly-inaugurated Manohar Parrikar Canacona bypass highway has not been maintained.They lamented that the people of Canacona have been taken for grantedand questioned as to why the department failed to initiate action against the contractor for violating the provisions of the work order that was issued in October.The delegation mocked the double-engine ‘sarkar’ over failure to expedite the transfer of land at Karmal Ghatfor expansion of the national highway, which has been pending for a long time.“What kind of double-engine ‘sarkar’ is this if it cannot expedite the process? There are accidents on a daily basis and we demand that the work on the four-laning should commence immediately,” it said.Executive engineer of PWD Dattaprasad Kamat said the work of re-surfacing has already been tendered and the work order issued.He said the contractors were giving excuse that the approved rates for hot-mix carpeting have increased from Rs 36,000 to Rs 56,000 due to shortage and, as a result, the contractors were not commencing the work.“However, we have asked them to mobilise the resources and commence the work,” he said.
Canacona: Several farmers in Canacona who have large cashew and mango orchards under cultivation have expressed fear over potential losses this season due to weather conditions. A local farmer Ram Velip said that the flowering for these two crops was affected partially due to unseasonal rains in late November and early December. Similarly dew in the initial stages of flowering also affected the crop, he said. Director of agriculture Nevil Aphonso told TOI, “Though both the crops were affected by rain initially and the flowering was delayed, I am certain that there will be no loss to farmers growing these two crops.” He added that there wasn’t too much dew for a prolonged duration and hence the cashew and mango yield should be good and normal. He said, “Farmers shouldn’t be worried. Now that the temperature is gradually getting warm, this should help crops which are in full bloom.” Ajit Pai, who has large orchards of cashew and mango, said that both the crops will suffer this season because the climate was more favourable to male flowers. This, he said, has resulted in more male flowers than female flowers. Another farmer, Madhav Acharya from Loliem, who has about 300 mango grafts, said that a lot depends on favourable climate conditions for particular crops. “This year the climate changed a little during the flowering stage,” he said, adding, “I doubt there would be a normal yield this year like the previous years.” However, zonal agriculture officer, Kirtiraj Naik Gaonkar said that there will be a normal yield this season and farmers needn’t worry. Rajesh Gaonkar, a farmer from Cotigao who has between 250 to 300 cashew trees said, “I try some innovative methods every year to ensure a better yield as compared to other farmers.”
Canacona: The water resources department (WRD) has commenced works to fix the ruptured pipeline along Chine Arc, Gulem, in Canacona that were causing potholes to develop along this stretch. Last week, WRD had levelled the potholes with concrete, however, the craters soon resurfaced due to leakage in the pipeline beneath the road. Authorities have now decided to pursue a permanent solution and have dug up the area to carry out repairs to the pipeline, said WRD Section XI assistant engineer, Dhananjay Nagvekar. TOI had recently highlighted the issue as numerous accidents were reported due to the potholes. Many motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, have fallen in the trench that had formed despite constant repairs to the pipeline. Recently, a person from Barcem had sustained head injuries after attempting to negotiate these potholes. This section of the highway has already witnessed a series of accidents in the past, and the authorities had failed to find a permanent solution to it. Nagvekar had sought assistance from the traffic police cell to block the area where work was being carried out.
PANAJI: Goa Tourism Development Corporation’s (GTDC) ambitious Rs 2.9-crore project for the restoration and beautification of Cabo de Rama fort has hit some turbulence as the directorate of archives and archaeology (DAA) has raised an issue over ownership of the monument. The 12th century fort, which overlooks the Arabian Sea and is perched at a strategic location in Canacona, commands a picturesque view of the taluka’s coast. In recent years, it has been hit by weather elements and conservation issues. GTDC had recently released a tender in e-procurement mode, announcing a two-stage competitive bidding process for its conservation work from eligible contractors. Work was expected to be completed in a year. But DAA has written to the GTDC’s MD with a request to withdraw the tender as the corporation had apparently not obtained the department’s approval before commencing the tendering process. “The fort is a protected monument of the directorate as per the Goa Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1978 and Rules, 1980. The said fort premise is under the directorate’s ownership and NOC of this directorate is mandatory,” DAA director B Medeira, stated in her letter. A GTDC official, however, stated that the project will be taken up as it has been okayed by the cabinet and has also received financial approval. “Efforts are on to resolve the matter with DAA,” the official said. Heritage lovers have been underscoring the neglect of the structure. “This fort is one of Goa’s finest and most historical forts. It predates the presence of the Portuguese in Canacona taluka. It is disappointing to see it in such a state of neglect and disrepair,” Heta Pandit, secretary of Goa Heritage Action Group, said. “The fort was built by the Raja of Sounda. The Soundekars sought asylum with the Portuguese to protect them from attack by King Hyder Ali of Mysore as he had attacked the kingdom of Sounda,” history researcher Prajal Sakhardande said.
CANACONA: A tyre-laden truck proceeding from Ponda to Hyderabad fell into a gorge on Tuesday morning at Khaddem near Paddi, Canacona, after the driver lost control of the vehicle due to loose gravel. The driver of the Andhra Pradesh registered truck was attempting to negotiate a turn, sources said. The vehicle fell 15m into a gorge and landed on its side. The driver said that had there been some roadside retaining wall or crash barrier, the vehicle might not have landed in the gorge. The driver luckily escaped with minor injuries. “I hope the government takes note of this accident and erects road barriers at this spot on priority,” the driver said.
Canacona: Potholes along the ruptured pipeline area at Chine Arc, Gulem, in Canacona, that were filled with concrete and cement, have resurfaced. With this, the area has again turned into an accident-prone zone. As reported earlier by TOI, a number of motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, have fallen into the trench that had formed despite constant repairs to the pipeline. Recently, a person from Barcem had sustained head injuries after attempting to negotiate these potholes. “This section of the highway has already witnessed a series of accidents in the past, and the authorities have failed to find a permanent solution to it,” a motorist said, adding, “Everyone is aware that the department concerned had been working on this trench several times, but it is not properly repaired which is leading to frequent ruptures.” The water resources department’s section XI assistant engineer Dhananjay Nagvekar said that he has asked the public works department to make arrangements so that water doesn’t accumulate in the potholes.
Canacona: Canacona municipality on Monday cleared the roadside garbage strewn near the Canacona hospital at Chaudi. TOI had highlighted the issue in its Monday edition. The area had turned into an eyesore as dry waste, including plastic bags, were scattered around the place as well as the NH66. Despite waste bins placed in the area, people resort to dumping garbage as these bins get filled up soon, said a local. Chairperson of Canacona municipal council Mario Simon Rebello had assured to clear the garbage on priority. Citizens have appreciated the efforts by the authorities in cleaning the area.
Canacona: Several residents of Chaudi in Canacona have called upon the municipal authority to clear the roadside garbage regularly as it is becoming an eyesore to the public. Garbage is also strewn opposite the Canacona community health centre. A senior citizen said the garbage is scattered along the road even as dustbins are kept at several spots. “It is important that the authority concerned clears the scattered garbage as it often becomes unwanted food for stray dogs and cattle, besides birds,” he said. Chairperson of Canacona municipal council Mario Simon Rebello told TOI that the collectors said the waste collected at certain spots is being scattered by stray cattle.
Canacona: Eighty-eight Olive Ridley hatchlings, hatched from Agonda’s first turtle nest of this season, made their way in to the sea on Friday night. The spectacle was witnessed by a number of onlookers including wildlife officials and staff guarding the nests, villagers and tourists. A first nest, comprising 118 eggs, was laid on December 31, 2021. This year, the Agonda turtle nesting site has 18 pits with a total of 1,682 eggs while the neighbouring Galgibaga beach has eight pits with 118 eggs. Canacona wildlife range forest officer (RFO) Anant Velip said that on Friday, one batch of Olive Ridley turtle eggs was transported from Fatrade by the Margao RFO. These have been kept in a pit at Galgibaga. Forest staff are working at the two turtle nesting site in Canacona taluka under the guidance of the assistant conservator of forests (ACF) Gautam Salelkar and deputy conservator of forests (DCF) Aniket Gaonkar, Velip said.
Canacona: Officials of the water resources department (WRD) levelled the two potholes along the highway at Chine Arc, Gulem, in Canacona using concrete on Friday. TOI in its Friday edition had highlighted the issue of the dangerous potholes that had formed due to a ruptured pipeline. The area had turned into an accident-prone zone as a number of motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, were reported to have fallen in the trench that had accumulated water owing to the leakage. Making matters worse, motorists were unable to spot these potholes, especially after dusk, due to the absence of streetlights in the vicinity. A Barcem resident recently sustained serious head injuries while negotiating the potholes. On Friday, executive engineer (roads) Dattaprasad Kammat inspected the area and said that the potholes had formed due to the leakage of the 1.2 diameter pipe laid under the road. Though a temporary solution has been met after the potholes were levelled and concretised, Kammat said that if the leakage recurs, there is a possibility that the potholes can surface again. The executive engineer said that the road will get a hotmix carpet soon, and directed assistant engineer of WRD XI to carry out all repair formalities before the hotmixing work commences. Assistant engineer of WRD XI, Canacona section, Dhananjay Nagvekar told TOI that said that the pipeline has been looped with filter media that will prevent any leakage on the top, and in the event of any leakage, the water will drain below the surface. Nagvekar also said that he will seek emergency funds from the department for a permanent solution to the leakage issue before the hotmix carpet is laid.
Canacona: The residents of Canacona have appealed to the government to start a daily shuttle service between Chaudi and Polem to ease their travelling woes while the Ardhofond bridge remains partially closed due to renovation and repair work. With half of the bridge closed for vehicular traffic, buses can no longer ply on the Chaudi-Polem route via the bridge. This has posed a travelling challenge for locals of Poinguinim, Partagal, Ardhofond, Bhatpal and Shristhal, who are now forced to hire motorcycle pilots to go to Chaudi. Chaudi is the main town which houses the bazaar, banks, post office, hospital and pharmacies among other things. Repair work on the bridge started three weeks ago and residents have learnt from the authority concerned that it will take two to three months to complete.
Canacona: The monsoon season is often blamed for the numerous potholes that surface on roads across the state. However, at Chine Arc, Gulem in Canacona, two potholes have developed after the water resources department (WRD) failed to repair the loose joints of the connecting pipeline under the main road, that has resulted in leakage of water. Citizens have pointed out that the potholes, which have remained unattended for more than a year, are posing as death traps for motorists, with several accidents taking place recently. Two days ago, a scooterist lost control after hitting one of the potholes, and sustained serious head injuries. He is undergoing treatment at Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim, and is said to be battling for his life. Residents said that motorists, and two-wheeler riders in particular, get confused after they reach the spot as they are unable to negotiate the potholes. During the past one year, these potholes were initially small and negligible. However, over the course of time, the depressions have increased in size and have now become puddles, thereby endangering the lives of motorists. Some people told TOI that verbal complaints were given to the department concerned, but the officials are yet to act. WRD had laid a water pipeline towards Devbhag across the road, and the joints of the pipeline loosened over time, resulting in huge wastage of water. When TOI contacted WRD assistant engineer Dhananjay Nagvekar, he said that the joints were treated with the required material and that the potholes were covered with concrete, but this didn’t resolve the issue. He said that a meeting will be held with the NH assistant engineer concerned to arrive at a permanent solution. Residents said that last week, at least three to four tourists had a fall while trying to negotiate the potholes.
CANACONA: Heaps of garbage were found scattered along the NH 66 stretch at Dapot and Sheli in Canacona on Wednesday after the tarpaulin covering an overloaded transportation truck snapped, resulting in waste spilling on the road. The Karnataka-registered garbage truck was transporting waste to Karwar, former Loliem-Polem panch Santan Costa said. Residents said that the garbage spilled from the truck and fell along the roadside. They immediately alerted the police at the Polem checkpost, where the truck was detained. On inquiry, truck driver Bakirappa said that the contractor at Margao loaded an additional six tonnes of garbage over the permissible 10 tonnes, which resulted in the tarpaulin snapping. Road Transport Authority officer Sarvesh Gaonkar, stationed at Polem, said that the vehicle owner can be fined a maximum of Rs 800 for the lapse. Sources said that the vehicle driver informed the contractor at Margao about the incident, who said the garbage would be cleared.
CANACONA: Congress Canacona candidate Janardhan Bhandari along with Goa Forward Party spokesperson Prashant Naik confronted PWD (water supply) assistant engineer Santosh Prabhudesai over erratic water supply in various parts of Canacona taluka, especially during the past fortnight. They asked the engineer to furnish reasons over the irregular water supply. Bhandari held the engineer responsible for the lapse and demanded that the supply should regularise immediately. The Congress candidate said that during door-to-door canvassing, several residents of different places complained that they were not getting proper water supply. Others who accompanied Bhandari and Naik included Congress Canacona chief Pralhay Bhagat, Shristhal sarpanch Ramu Dhillon Naik, Canacona Congress Mahila president Ursula De Costa and some residents.
PANAJI: At the government primary school, Karaswada, palm fronds woven into the shape of a large heart welcomed voters on Monday — polling day, which also happened to be Valentine’s Day. The Karaswada polling station, on this election day, was one of ten in different parts of the state designed as green polling stations. At these eco-friendly stations, not only was the decor made entirely from biodegradable material, but it was made by traditional artisans brought together from Goa’s interiors. From dry paddy sheaves hanging over the polling booth doorway to bamboo baskets for BLOs to carry election related material, voters saw an eco-friendly avatar of the polling exercise at the ten booths for the very first time in Goa. Each of the green polling stations had uniquely designed décor, with some also flaunting eco-friendly selfie points. The chief electoral officer’s team joined hands with the Goa state biodiversity board (GSBB) to get these environment-friendly crafts done, and officials are now hoping to increase the number of such booths for the next polls. “Instead of carpets made from synthetic material, coir mats were used. Clay jugs and cups were also provided for polling booth staff. After the elections, we will also be conducting green skilling workshops, so we are ready to provide 50 to 100 green booths by next elections,” said GSBB member secretary Pradip Sarmokadam. While the bamboo trays and garbage bins have been procured from the state government handicraft outlets, the rest of the décor was handmade specially for polling day by local artisans. Navaso Harijan from Keri, Sattari, Suryakant Gaonkar from Honda, the family of Ramkrishna Gaude from Keri, Ponda, and Dattaprasad Prabhugaonkar from Loliem, Canacona, were among the key artisans to help ready the green polling stations. Two polling stations in Panaji and one each in Bicholim, Mapusa, Karaswada, Valpoi, Ponda, Cortalim, Fatorda, Canacona received the green makeover. “Along with me, my wife Rashmi, daughter Rupita and brother Shambu were handed the responsibility to prepare eight green polling stations. It took us around two full days to create one booth. I was already into the business of making eco-friendly decors for weddings and thread ceremonies, so we had the skills for it,” said Gaude. “There are so many different ways in which we can weave palm leaves and there are unlimited possibilities in creating such green décor. If these possibilities are explored, there will be no need to use thermocol and other non-biodegradable material ever again.” The artisans said that if it is ensured that all government events utilize eco-friendly décor, only then can the sector generate jobs for rural youth. “To ensure safety at the green polling stations due to the nature of the material, we have also provided fire extinguishers,” said Sarmokadam. Meanwhile, voters said they would like to see more green at their polling booth. “It was a good start. We could do with more of such décor,” said voter Mukesh Dias at the Dona Paula green polling booth.
Poinguinim: Ram Yadav hit the road divider at Galgibaga bridge in Canacona, after losing control over his car, which then turned turtle. Yadav, his wife and his daughter, who were travelling in the car, escaped with minor bruises. As per sources, on seeing the rear bumper of a car in front of his hanging, Yadav was moving ahead to alert the driver. However, while doing so, he lost control over his car.
Panaji: Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) on Saturday expelled Daya Pagi, executive member and Maurelio Carvalho, general secretary of the South Goa District Congress Committee from the primary membership of the party for a period of five years alleging anti-party activities during the election campaign. The order expelling the two was issued by M K Shaikh, senior vice-president of GPCC. A source said the complaints were received against the two that they were working against the Congress Canacona candidate Janardhan Bhandari. tnn
Staff ReporterCanaconaThe Canacona coast welcomes the Olive Ridley turtles every season from December to May mainly on the shores of Galgibaga and Agonda which are the preferred nesting sites of the flipped visitors from the sea.Range forest officer (RFO) Anant Velip said that on February 11, five Olive Ridley turtles arrived in the wee hours and the forest guards collected 583 eggs laid in different nests, for protection.As per data given under the turtle conservation programme, this year the Olive Ridley turtles favoured Agonda by nesting at 16 sites and where 1,629 eggs were recorded, while Galgibaga has witnessed six nests with 654 eggs till date, said Velip.Due to vigilance and protection offered by the forest department for the nesting, the endangered species are saved on land from predators such as dogs, birds and human poachers, said Velip.Though saved on land, many dangers await the turtle juveniles as they venture into the sea till they become adults and make their way back for nesting to the same shores where they were hatched.As a part of the food cycle, the young ones may be eaten by sea animals and sea birds, but they face more human made challenges when they are caught in ghost nets, are injured due to the boat propellers, eat plastic mistaking it for jelly fish,water pollution and are troubled due to other human activities in the sea.Sea turtles are comparatively defenseless in this situation, as they cannot pull their heads into their shells like freshwater and terrestrial turtles, added Velip. However, the initiative taken by the government, through the turtle conservation programme, is helping to save the turtles till their hatching stage and release in the sea.Wildlife guards attached to the Canacona forest department monitor the female turtles as they come on the shore; following their trail to the nest dug in the sand, the guards relocate the clutch of eggs from the original nests to the turtle hatchery constructed by the department to protect the eggs.RFO Velip informed that nearly 2,283 eggs have been collected and kept in the hatchery this season. Under suitable condition, eggs normally hatch after 45-65 days. The hatchlings are later released in the waters at Galgibaga and Agonda usually close to midnight under the supervision of forest department, said the RFO.
Panaji: Looking at the plight of a farmer who lost his herd of 42 goats to a train related accident in Canacona last month, a few Good Samaritans joined forces and provided 10 adult goats to him. The herdsman, Navalo Kolekar, from Sadolxem, Canacona, was the sole breadwinner with dependants. The herd was run over by a train leaving the farmer without his primary source of income. A Canacona-based woman visited him at his home and upon discovering the financial and emotional distress the family was in decided to reach out to the organisation Street Providence and other citizens to help. “It’s a small gesture to help a Goan shepherd to recover from his loss,” she said. “The situation was getting from bad to worse for the family as there was only one female goat left and the farmer had to choose between selling the milk and using it to feed his children. Within five days we got cracking,” founder of Street Providence Donald Fernandes said. “We found a farmer in Savoi-Verem, Ponda, who agreed to sell us 10 goats and we handed over the first batch of the adult goats to Kolekar. We will now raise resources for another 32 goats and donate them to him,” Fernandes told TOI. The volunteers will also attempt to reach out to farmers in neighbouring states to provide their animals.
Panaji: The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) has granted a resort owner an additional 15 days to demolish the illegal structures constructed on the Agonda coast in Canacona. GCZMA has further warned that officials will carry out the demolition and recover the cost from the resort owners if they fail to comply. The proceedings are being heard by GCZMA since 2018. Stretches of the Agonda coast are among four sites preserved for nesting of Olive Ridley turtles. During the GCZMA hearing in January, the resort owners sought as much as six weeks to carry out the demolition. “Due to Covid restrictions, the demolition could not be completed in time,” GCZMA was told. However, the authority refused to grant excessive time of more than two months. GCZMA had first issued the demolition order in December 2019, but the resort owners knocked on the doors of the high court challenging the order. Following this, the GCZMA decided to hear the matter afresh. The high court of Bombay at Goa, in its directives on October 26, 2021, ordered an inspection of the property through a committee comprising expert members of GCZMA and the deputy collector of Canacona. The committee was required to ascertain the structures, click photographs of the site and submit the report on or before November 15, 2021, before the high court. The authority was also directed by the court to act against any violation found during site inspection in accordance with law. The matter is also being monitored by the National Green Tribunal. The GCZMA accordingly carried out the site inspection and it was submitted before the high court that necessary action would be taken within six weeks. During the GCZMA proceedings that followed, the offenders agreed to remove the structures on their own to comply with the orders and produce the compliance report. However, the violators later cited Covid pandemic as the reason for delay in demolishing the offending structures.
Panaji: District election officer (DEO) South has notified the date and time for the category of absentee voters that is senior citizens (above 80 years of age), Persons with Disability (PwD) flagged in the electoral roll, COVID-19 suspect or affected persons and absentee voters on essential services (AVES).For voters above 80 years of age, PwD and COVID-19 category, voting through postal ballot are scheduled till February 13, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.For AVES category, voting is scheduled till February 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the postal voting centres (PVC) that is for assembly constituency Ponda, the PVC is office of Mamlatdar Ponda, 3rd Floor Govt. Building; for Shiroda, PVC is government primary school, Bazaar Shiroda; for Mormugao, PVC is Ravindra Bhavan-Baina; for Vasco, PVC is Mata Secondary School No. 1, Baina-Vasco; for Dabolim, PVC is Government Middle School, Alto Dabolim; for Cortalim, the PVC is M.E.S. College, Zuarinagar; for Fatorda, PVC is room no. 109, First Floor, Mathany Saldanha Administrative Complex, Margao; for Benaulim, PVC is Holy Family High School, Seraulim; for Navelim, PVC is Office of Industrial Training Institute (NorthWing), Aquem Baixo; for Cuncolim, PVC is Govt. Primary School, Gudi (East wing); for Velim, PVC is Mount Mary Higher Secondary School, Chinchinim; for Quepem, PVC is Courtroom of Joint Mamlatdar-II, Quepem; for Curchorem, PVC is Chamber of Member Secretary, Ravindra Bhavan Curchorem; for Sanguem, PVC is Office of Deputy Collector and SDO, Sanguem and Canacona, PVC is Office of Mamlatdar, Canacona.DEO has further mentioned that the absentee voters who have applied for postal ballot facility as on cutoff date January 26, 2022 and the list of the absentee voters whose application under form 12D have been received in time and are in order, have been prepared by respective ROs, and now the process of delivery of postal ballot paper to and voting by the above referred absentee voters will commence.Separate teams of polling officers will be visiting the registered address of the absentee voters in the category voters above 80 years of age, PwD and COVID-19 category, as informed by the Department of Information and Publicity.
Margao: In a state where identity politics scores over political ideology, caste has predominantly been the X-factor in determining poll outcomes in Goa, albeit in a subtle manner. Appeal to caste identity wasn’t a part of the political discourse in Goa until AAP set the narrative on a tangent after it promised that its chief minister, if it forms the government in Goa, would be from the dominant Bhandari samaj. The Bhandari community, constituting nearly 30% of the Bahujan samaj classified under OBC, plays a decisive role in Goa’s electoral politics, followed by the Kshatriya Maratha samaj. Besides these two, the scheduled tribes constituting over 12% of the state’s population have been politically active and their might was witnessed during the tribal agitation at Balli in 2011. “The Kshatriya Maratha samaj is not as powerful as the Bhandari community in terms of influencing a poll outcome, as its voter population is fragmented across the state,” a political scientist said. “However, the community leaders on account of their ‘feudal lord’ lineage still wield influence over locals,” the political scientist said. Aware of the potential of caste identity politics in the elections, political parties have over the years been quietly connecting the dots of the caste matrix in a nuanced manner. BJP even institutionalised social engineering methods by forming a dedicated OBC cell. Post-Liberation, the Bhandari community stood solidly with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), but as the regional outfit’s fortunes waned, the loyalties of the community split between BJP and Congress, although MGP still retains a miniscule section of its loyal voters in some pockets of the state. Since Ravi Naik broke away from MGP to join Congress in 1990, a sizable chunk of Bhandari votes moved over to Congress. Emergence of new Bhandari leaders saw votes split between Congress and BJP. Take the case of the 2012 assembly polls. In order to balance caste equations, when BJP fielded tribal leader Ramesh Tawadkar from Canacona, the party had to dump its sitting Sanguem MLA Vasudev Meg Gaonkar, also from the tribal community, and nominate Subhash Phal Dessai to fulfil the aspirations of the Kshatriya Maratha samaj. And when BJP denied a ticket to Tawadkar in 2017 bypolls that led to his rebellion, the tribals vented their anger in the polls leading to the party’s defeat not only in Canacona, but also in Sanguem and Sanvordem—constituencies which have a sizeable tribal population. BJP’s nomination of Tawadkar and Ganesh Gaonkar (Sanvordem) this time was driven by the need to factor in caste considerations, political observers said. “No discrimination on basis of religion or caste is a constitutional guarantee, and binds the state and its instrumentalities,” said former state election commissioner Prabhakar Timble. “However, as caste identities are present in the community, political parties will not be democratic and inclusive if representation is not provided to these identities. But public announcement of caste-wise ministerial berths is ugly politics.” Besides criticising AAP for playing the caste card, political observers said they also failed to get the caste calculus right. “The Bhandari community comprises 30% of the Bahujan samaj, which is roughly 60% of Goa’s population. So, by appeasing the Bhandaris, they have risked antagonising the non-Bhandari Bahujan Samaj,” said political commentator Rajendra Kakodkar. Political observers said it was former CM Manohar Parrikar, who used his social engineering skills to precision during allocation of party tickets. To illustrate Parrikar’s finesse in leveraging caste politics, they point out several instances. Take the case of Aldona in the 2012 polls, when BJP bounced back to office with a majority. In order to unseat veteran Dayanand Narvekar (Congress), BJP fielded Glenn Ticlo, then a greenhorn in electoral politics. The strategy was simple but rooted in caste arithmetic. Aldona has a sizable population of Brahmins in both Hindu and Catholic communities (bamon), and caste identity largely prevails. By fielding Ticlo, BJP aimed at leveraging the caste faultlines—it not only meant nominating a minority candidate but also gaining the added advantage of consolidating ‘bamon’ votes. The strategy seemingly clicked as Ticlo defeated Narvekar, a Bahujan samaj candidate, by 3,476 votes. Timble is of the view that although caste is a factor influencing decisions on ticket distribution, “it’s not the only persuasive variable”. “Candidates should have other merits in addition to caste to win. An exceptionally good candidate may carry the baton, irrespective of the demographic status of the constituency,” Timble said. “Generally, if the candidate does not reflect the major caste group of the constituency, it would be like a blouse not matching the saree,” he added. The die will be cast(e) on February 14.
Panaji: The Congress on Sunday said people in Goa are suffering because of “misgovernance” by the BJP-led Centre and state government.Interacting with media persons, AICC spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is boasting of promoting tourism, trade and technology, while Goa is suffering in these three areas.“Destruction of basic livelihood of fishermen has taken place in Goa under the BJP rule. Besides this, destruction of moral, ethical, political and constitutional values has been done by the BJP at center and also in Goa,” Singhvi said.He said that the BJP-led government at the Centre and state has failed on all fronts and hence people of Goa have suffered and are still suffering due to their mis-governance.
Canacona: After much delay, the long-awaited repairs of Portuguese-era, Ardhofond bridge across Talpona river has begun. Not only it will allay the fear of motorists, but also give a new lease of life to the pre-Liberation era bridge that weathered immense traffic during last several decades. Every year, during rainy season, the bridge bears the brunt of flood waters. It witnessed a major damage during the flash floods in Canacona some years ago. It was also partially damaged when a huge tree got uprooted and fell over its span. Following the floods, a team of experts did visit the bridge, but no major work was done except for the replacement of a few railings damaged by vehicles. It may be noted that a coke-laden truck heading to Sanvordem from Mangaluru had rammed into the already weak culvert of the bridge. Several such incidents had taken place in the recent past. This bridge is vital to many as it drastically reduces the distance between the bypass road to the interior areas. Recently, the then MLA of Canacona Isidore Fernandes has got Rs 1.8 crore sanctioned for its renovation along with the Bhatpal and Mashem culverts. With the resumption of renovation work, the residents have expressed happiness over the development.
Canacona: BJPCanacona candidate Ramesh Tawadkar said he initially faced an uphill task due to the party rebels but now with many having returned to the saffron fold his position has strengthened. Former Canacona MLAs, Isidore Fernandes and Vijay Pai Khot, are contesting as independents after resigning from BJP. “Now things have come to normal as several block members have started campaigning for me,” Tawadkar said. The former minister said that the party’s central and state leadership have reposed faith in his candidature by alloting him the party ticket to contest the Canacona seat. Many block members have already returned to the party and those who are yet to return will do so in the next few days, he said. Chairperson of Canacona Municipal Council Mario Simon Rebello said though the ruling council had declared withdrawal of support to BJP, they have decided to support the party’s candidate, Tawadkar. He said that for more than eight months the then BJP MLA had not supported them.
A rebel who contested as an independent candidate in Canacona after BJP denied him a ticket in the 2017 assembly elections despite being an incumbent MLA and cabinet minister, Ramesh Tawadkar ended up dividing the traditional BJP votes, leading to the defeat of Vijay Pai Khot. While Congress’ Isidore Fernandes emerged triumphant in 2017, he was among the 10 Congress MLAs who defected to BJP in July 2019. Ahead of the February 14 elections, time has turned full circle. Tawadkar, who did a ‘ghar wapsi’ and was rewarded with important party positions, has been nominated as BJP candidate, ignoring claims of Fernandes, the incumbent turncoat MLA. Fernandes is now contesting as an independent and so is Khot, determined to avenge his defeat as, if not for Tawadkar’s rebellion, he may well have triumphed in 2017. While Fernandes polled 10,853 votes, Khot secured 8,745 votes, and Tawadkar 7739, largely eating into the BJP vote base. This time, however, political observers say, Fernandes, who has raised the flag of rebellion, enjoys the covert support of BJP workers, in addition to his sizable personal votes. Thus, a three-way split of BJP votes is imminent in Canacona, as Khot is also likely to wean away a sizable share. Khot, who had represented Canacona constituency for two consecutive terms as BJP legislator, was denied ticket in 2012, thanks to the delimitation of constituencies that led to Poinguinim assembly segment being merged into Canacona, and Tawadkar, a tribal leader, bagging the ticket. Though he had supported Tawadkar in the 2012 polls, Khot had made known his intentions of contesting the 2017 polls and eventually managed to bag the ticket. Fernandes, political observers say, enjoys considerable support among a section of the tribal community as well as in Gaondongrim, Cotigao and Sadolxem. Sources say, these votes will be crucial as they could prove to be a game changer. A swing in these votes in favour of Tawadkar could enhance BJP’s chances. Congress has nominated its foot soldier Janardhan Bhandari to take on its heavyweight rivals. What, however, is working to Congress’ advantage is the support extended by GFP’s Prashant Naik who had to sacrifice his aspiration to contest the polls in the interest of his party’s alliance with Congress which denied the Canacona seat to its junior partner. Though Bhandari was left with not much time to campaign owing to the relatively late announcement of his candidature, he has managed to cover ground. Apart from the robust voter base that Congress has in this constituency, Bhandari holds appeal to the younger generation of voters which could lend the 47-year old an edge, political observers say. AAP’s Anoop Kurtarkar and Revolutionary Goans (RG) Party’s Prashant Pagi are likely to make a dent mainly in BJP’s prospects. Besides TMC’s Mahadev Dessai, independent Kanay Pagi is also in the fray. Though a multi-cornered contest is at play, the battle is poised for an exciting finish.
Theatre Flamingo is all set to presents a play called ‘Hattalamlachya Pallyad’ which is originally written by Badal Sarkar, an Indian dramatist and theatre director, best known for his anti-establishment plays during the Naxalite movement in the 1970s and taking theatre out of the proscenium and into public arena.The play tells the story of two likeable thieves, Chikkuram and Vikkuram who jump into a river to escape being caught. They wash up on the shores of a Never-Never land where buying and selling are alien concepts. In this new land, everyone works together to produce what the entire community needs and wants and money does not exist. Being thieves, Chikku and Vikku do not understand the concept of “no-money” and hence several humorous misadventures follow as they make their journey through this land.The play has been directed by young theatre artiste Mahesh Khandhare. The young director has completed his bachelor’s in theatre from Pune University’s Lalit Kala Kendra.Theatre enthusiasts can catch play performances on February 5 at Satyawati Soiru Angle Higher Secondary School Hall, Mashem, Canacona; on February 6 at Mokhard, Bhatpal, Canacona; on February 7 at Parecatta, Shristhal, Canacona; and on February 15 at Shri Sattyanarayan Devasthan, Kadchaal, Bhailifaal, Surla.Details: 97658 44698/ 9637058935