Goa Forward Party (GFP) News

Let us join hands to protect Mhadei: CM, House agrees
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

Panaji: After over seven hours of heated discussion over the Mhadei diversion by Karnataka, the opposition and the ruling party members kept aside their political differences to protect Goa’s lifeline, as the state assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution to urge Centre to withdraw the nod given to Karnataka for diversion of water and immediate formation of the Mhadei Water Management Authority.Chief minister Pramod Sawant also announced the setting up of a 12-member panel headed by water resources minister Subhash Shirodkar, including MLAs from all parties, to decide the future course of action. “The committee will also seek inputs from legal and environment experts,” he said.Making a strong appeal to all the members to put up a united front, Sawant said: “Let us make whatever comments we have to make here today itself and from tomorrow we should not make any statements outside the House which will adversely affect Goa. We should all come together from tomorrow.”Putting forth his government’s efforts to save the Mhadei, Sawant said Goa would not be found wanting in either action or deed and would strongly oppose any move to divert the water.“Though we have not asked for an early hearing in the Supreme Court, we are constantly monitoring the case. We have filed an interlocutory application already. We have also written to the central government to form the Mhadei Water Management Authority. We are also objecting to out of basin use,” said Sawant.The issue of increase in salinity if water is diverted is also being pursued with the Jal Shakti ministry.“Water from the Kalasa and the Bhandura (tributaries of the Mhadei) is already being taken. It is a well-established fact. I am not denying it and nobody can deny it. Karnataka had stated in the court earlier that the openings to the canals carrying the water into Karnataka have been shut. And though they have carried out constructions to show shutting of the opening, we have our doubts. Our engineer went there and using deep cameras, a report has been made to show how the openings are deep and water is still flowing below into Karnataka,” said the CM.Sawant accepted the opposition argument that six wildlife sanctuaries, including Karnataka’s Bhimgad, is dependent on the Mhadei’s water and that diversion of water from the river will lead to scarcity for Podoshem, Sanquelim and Assonora water treatment plants of Goa.While the opposition—GFP’s Vijai Sardesai and AAP’s Venzy Veigas—insisted on a time frame for withdrawal of permission given to Karnataka’s revised detailed project report (DPR) for water diversion, Sawant said he would leave it to the House committee to lay the groundwork for it.At the start of the discussion itself, Sawant made it clear that he was converting the notice given by Aleixo Sequeira for a short duration discussion on the Mhadei diversion into a House resolution.“Our resolution raises three points: It objects to out of basin use of the Mhadei’s water, we want the sanction granted to Karnataka’s DPR withdrawn for the Mhadei water diversion and seek immediate formation of the Mhadei Water Management Authority,” he said.But opposition MLAs said a House resolution would be inadequate legally to stop diversion by Karnataka.Sawant said Goa has a strong legal team and legal consultants who have been engaged for years and have deep understanding of the Mhadei dispute.The chief minister also made it clear that any adverse decision by the water management authority would not put any restrictions on Goa for legal recourse.Besides water resources minister Shirodkar, the other members in the committee include BJP’s Michael Lobo, Ganesh Gaonkar, Premendra Shet, and Deviya Rane; Congress’s Carlos Ferreira; MGP’s Jit Arolkar; AAP’s Venzy Veigas; GFP’s Vijai Sardesai; RGP’s Viresh Borkar; and Independents Alexio Reginaldo Lourenco and Chandrakant Shetye.

Let us join hands to protect Mhadei: CM, House agrees
GFP slams RG for breaking ranks with oppn
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

Panaji: Upset with Revolutionary Goans’ (RG) decision to break ranks with the opposition, Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Monday said RG president Manoj Parab is trying to expand his party’s base through the Save Mhadei campaign.GFP’s environment cell convener Vikas Bhagat said that Parab’s actions suggest that RG is working with BJP to undermine the opposition parties.“Manoj Parab wants to go alone when all activists and political parties have decided to come together for the cause of Mhadei. This is one issue where all Goans want to come together, so why is he trying to create a divide?” said Bhagat. On Sunday, RG held a protest meeting at Azad Maidan to raise awareness about Goa’s long running dispute with Karnataka over the neighbouring state’s plans to divert water from the Mhadei river basin. At the public meeting, Parab accused BJP, Congress and GFP doing little to thwart Karnataka’s claims on the water.GFP appears to have taken offence at this. “Manoj seems to be attacking only the opposition. Why is he not speaking against the government, against Karnataka and BJP? We are beginning to have doubts about his links with BJP,” said Bhagat.GFP functionaries said that all political parties, including BJP leaders, should come together to get justice for Mhadei. Activists and political parties have decided to hold a Together For Mhadei rally at Sanquelim on January 16.

GFP slams RG for breaking ranks with oppn
Margao councillor urges Kannadigas in Goa to join battle to save Mhadei
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

Margao: The special meeting of the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) held on Friday over the Mhadei river issue took an amusing turn midway through the proceedings as councillors from both sides of the political divide engaged in mudslinging, each trying to outdo the other in proving one’s political allegiance. Peace was restored only after chairperson Damodar Shirodkar warned of concluding the meeting if the councillors failed to maintain decorum.Trouble began when BJP councillor Camilo Barreto stood up to speak on the issue and began congratulating chief minister Pramod Sawant for the “various steps he has taken to protect Goa’s interests” over the Mhadei issue. When GFP councillor Pooja Naik interrupted him and claimed that it was GFP alone that had consistently raised the Mhadei issue, Barreto accused the regional outfit of doing nothing about the Mhadei when it was a part of the government. As a war of words ensued, other GFP councillors joined in as barbs and innuendos were freely exchanged. After normalcy was restored, rest of the councillors, even those who are usually reticent, spoke passionately about the need to prevent the Mhadei’s diversion by Karnataka.Ghanashyam Shirodkar sounded caution that South Goa could also face prospects of rationed water if the Mhadei was diverted.Sadananad Naik urged the Kannadigas staying in Goa to join Goans in their battle to save the Mhadei.Sagun Naik advocated the need for all to rise as one by sinking all political differences for this cause. Shirodkar later told reporters that the resolution pledging the council’s support to the state govern-ment in its fight over the Mhadei issue was passed unanimously and would be sent to the chief minister, Prime Minister, home minister, and union minister for water resources.

Margao councillor urges Kannadigas in Goa to join battle to save Mhadei
Congress, Goa Forward Party say event management tender rigged to favour agency with ties to BJP
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: The Congress party and Goa Forward Party (GFP) alleged that the government has rigged the tender for the event management agency for the Purple Fest. The two parties pointed out that one firm has already started work on the decor even though the government has yet to evaluate bids of the agencies that have shown interest.The Congress party released a video of the outdoor decor being set up at the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) complex. In the video, a man is heard saying that the work is for the "Purple Fest -2023" which is being organised by the Social Welfare Department. As per the tender document, the Department of Information and Publicity is supposed to evaluate the various bids on Monday.“We will officially write to the chief secretary and urge him to take serious cognizance of the loot of the state treasury. We demand that chief secretary Puneet Kumar Goel must scrap the tender process. If he does not act, we will explore other options as well,” said the Congress party’s media cell in charge Amarnath Panjikar.The congress party has also urged the Goa State Commission for Persons with Disabilities to take serious note of the allegations. The Congress party claimed that the contract, which is yet to be officially awarded, is worth Rs 6 to 7 crores. Once the work order is issued, the selected agency will have to provide all the required infrastructure and handle logistics for Purple Fest which will be held from January 6 to January 8 at ESG Complex.Panjikar claimed that Pramod Sawant government has rigged the contract for the event management agency to favour the “BJP's in-house agency”.“First scam of 2023? Tender rigged for Purple Fest. How come even before the tender is opened, work has been executed by the son in law of the BJP government? Chief minister Pramod Sawant should act immediately,” said GFP’s general secretary Durgadas Kamat.The Congress used the episode to once again taunt the state government, accusing ESG chairman Subhash Faldessai of “mission commission” at the cost of Persons with Disabilities.

Congress, Goa Forward Party say event management tender rigged to favour agency with ties to BJP
CM has overseen sellout of Goa to K’taka, says Vijai
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Margao: Continuing his diatribe against chief minister Pramod Sawant, GFP president Vijai Sardesai said that Pramod Sawant was appointed chief minister “only for the sellout of Mhadei to Karnataka,” and demanded that he step down from his post. “Sawant was never serious about the Mhadei. The Pramod Sawant-led BJP government neither pressed for the cases in the Supreme Court nor politically applied pressure in Delhi in the interest of Goa,” Sardesai said.“During his tenure, ex-CM Manohar Parrikar had appointed a team of senior Goan lawyers led by former AG Atmaram Nadkarni to fight the Mhadei case, but the moment Sawant became CM, he shunted out the Goan lawyers and appointed a lawyer from Delhi, who gave consent in the SC on behalf of the Goa government that Goa doesn’t have any objections in notifying the Mhadei Award by the Tribunal. This was the final nail in the coffin.”Referring to information sought by GFP through the RTI Act on the Mhadei matter on October 11 asking for the Action Taken Report on the note moved by him on August 5, Sardesai said he received the reply only on Friday. “It was on November 17, 2022, that Pramod Sawant wrote a letter to the Karnataka CM asking to facilitate the inspection of the site citing news reports that appeared on August 5, 2022. Why would the CM of Karnataka allow a site inspection by Goa officials within the jurisdiction of his state?” Sardesai said.Accusing Sawant of effecting a “sellout of Mhadei to Karnataka,” Sardesai demanded that he step down immediately in the interest of Goa and Goans

CM has overseen sellout of Goa to K’taka, says Vijai
No-trust against Ponda civic body chairperson fizzles out
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Ponda: With no councillor, including those who had issued notice, turning up, a motion of no-trust against Ponda Municipal Council (PMC) Ritesh Naik fizzled out on Friday. Following a notice of no-trust motion signed by eight members of the council, the director of municipal administration had summoned a special meeting on Friday to discuss and vote on the motion.Ponda deputy collector Sitaram Sawal, who was present as the presiding officer, declared the motion fizzled out.It could be perhaps a lone example in the history of Goa’s municipal councils that a similar motion moved against two different chairpersons of the same council has fizzled out within 14 months.It may be recalled that a similar motion propelled by the BJP-backed group against then chairperson Shantaram Kolvenkar on October 4, 2021, had fizzled out after no councillor was turned up for the meeting. Interestingly, Kolvenkar had wrested the post about four months ago by defeating Naik.In the present case, eight councilors of the 15-member council had joined hands to oust the agriculture minister’s son. Those who had signed the notice include GFP-backed Venkatesh Naik, MGP-backed Amina Naik, Geetali Talaulikar, Jaya Sawant, Seema Fernandes and Pradep Naik, Congress-backed William Aguiar and independent Kolvenkar.However, in a later development, Kolvenkar joined the BJP camp raising the strength of the Ritesh group to eight against seven opponents, including one of GFP, five of MGP and one Congress-backed councillor.

No-trust against Ponda civic body chairperson fizzles out
GFP, TMC flay govt for saying state’s youth lack job skills
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Accusing chief minister Pramod Sawant of belittling Goa’s unemployed youth, Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Thursday said that the BJP government “lacks the skills” to provide youth with jobs in Goa. The Vijai Sardesai-led outfit was reacting to Sawant’s claims that Goan youth remain unemployed because they lack the required skills.While Sawant put the onus on educational institutes for not imparting the right skills, GFP said that it is the state government’s responsibility to bring in private industries and ensure that Goans get employed with the companies.“Stop demoralising our youth. Pramod Sawant’s refrain that Goa’s unemployment rate is high because Goan youth are unskilled and deficient is not only wrong, but also demotivating,” said the party in a tweet that Sardesai endorsed. “If the Goa chief minister lacks the skill to find jobs for them, the least he can do is to stop belittling them.”GFP said that while the youth may need skill development programmes, “parallel skilling is essential” for the government of Goa. The party said that Sawant’s “cut and paste policy making” and the inability to provide basic needs to the people prove that the chief minister and the cabinet lack the skills necessary to govern.TMC also joined GFP, with the West Bengal outfit’s South Goa chairman Jorson Fernandes slamming Sawant for “abdicating his responsibility” towards job creation. Fernandes said that it is the government’s duty to create job opportunities for local youth.“We demand the BJP government formulate an effective policy to curb the rising double digit unemployment rate in Goa,” said Fernandes.

GFP, TMC flay govt for saying state’s youth lack job skills
GFP objects to police recruitment, says all legal remedies are on table
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Given the allegations of widespread irregularities in the recruitment of police sub-inspectors (PSIs), Goa Forward Party (GFP) has expressed surprise with the government’s move to go ahead and appoint 145 male and female candidates to the posts. GFP which had also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to halt the recruitment process said it will pursue “all remedies available” to challenge the appointments.GFP had highlighted the irregularities in the process to recruit PSIs, police constables and home guards which began before the state assembly elections. Though the government initially put the process on hold and even conducted an inquiry into the process, the home department headed by chief minister Pramod Sawant has given the go ahead to complete the recruitment process.“Even after I exposed the widespread irregularities of the mega police recruitment scam with irrefutable evidence, the DGP and Goa Police have defied the people of Goa by going ahead with the appointments. There’s no doubt the government has colluded. I will seek all remedies available,” said Sardesai.GFP has maintained that corruption in the police recruitment will lead to a deterioration in Goa’s law and order situation. “The government and Goa Police have chosen to betray the trust that many young aspirants had placed in them to uphold merit, fairness and justice in government recruitment. By going ahead with the list, they have become patrons of deceit,” he added.Even after I exposed the widespread irregularities of the mega police recruitment scam with irrefutable evidence, the DGP and Goa Police have defied the people of Goa by going ahead with the appointments

GFP objects to police recruitment, says all legal remedies are on table
  • GFP objects to PSI recruitment, says all legal remedies are on the table
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Given the allegations of widespread irregularities in the recruitment of police sub-inspectors (PSIs), Goa Forward Party has expressed surprise with the government’s move to go ahead and appoint 145 male and female candidates to the posts. GFP, which had also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the recruitment process, said it will pursue “all remedies available” to challenge the appointments. GFP had highlighted the irregularities in the process to recruit PSIs, police constables and home guards, which began before the state assembly elections. Though the government initially put the process on hold and even conducted an inquiry into the process, the home department headed by chief minister Pramod Sawant has given the go ahead to complete the recruitment process. “Even after I exposed the widespread irregularities of the mega Police recruitment scam with irrefutable evidence, the DGP and Goa Police have defied the people of Goa by going ahead with the appointments. There’s no doubt the government has colluded. I will seek all remedies available,” said Sardesai. GFP has maintained that corruption in the police recruitment process will lead to a deterioration in Goa’s law and order situation. The government of Goa and Goa Police have chosen to betray the trust that many young Goemkar aspirants had placed in them to uphold merit, fairness and justice in government recruitment. By going ahead with the list, they have become patrons of deceit,” said Sardesai.

Goa: ‘No question of change in leadership’
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: Revenue minister Atanasio Monserrate said on Thursday that there’s no question of a change of leadership in Goa, and that CM Pramod Sawant has got the mandate of the people. “He got a majority to form the government, he is our leader, and there is no question of change in leadership,” Monserrate said. Reacting to GFP president Vijai Sardesai’s statement that health minister Vishwajit Rane could be a good chief minister, Monserratre said, “Everyone is capable and not only one person. I am not capable of becoming chief minister.” Monserrate said that every state has a staff selection commission (SSC), and that Goa is the only state which does not have it. “What is wrong in having a SSC? It will have transparency in the recruitment process,” he said.

Goa: ‘No question of change in leadership’
  • ‘No question of change in leadership’
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Revenue minister Atanasio Monserrate said on Thursday that there’s no question of a change of leadership in Goa, and that CM Pramod Sawant has got the mandate of the people. “He got a majority to form the government, he is our leader, and there is no question of change in leadership,” Monserrate said.Reacting to GFP president Vijai Sardesai’s statement that health minister Vishwajit Rane could be a good chief minister, Monserratre said, “Everyone is capable and not only one person. I am not capable of becoming chief minister.”Monserrate said that every state has a staff selection commission (SSC), and that Goa is the only state which does not have it. “What is wrong in having a SSC? It will have transparency in the recruitment process,” he said.

Goa CM misled laid-off mining workers: GFP president Vijai Sardesai
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: A day after TOI reported that companies that acquire mining leases have no obligation to recruit retrenched mining workers, Goa Forward Party (GFP) said that chief minister Pramod Sawant had lied to the mining dependent families. The BJP-led government is playing a “cruel joke” on the mining workers and their families, said GFP president Vijai Sardesai. Sardesai appealed to the government to make it mandatory for new lease holders to hire mining workers who lost their jobs. “Is his promise to put up a condition to new lease holders that they must employ retrenched workers a cruel joke played on mining workers and their families?” said Sardesai as he condemned the “U-turn” taken by the government. TOI reported on Wednesday that the director of mines and geology has not made it mandatory for new lease holders to recruit unemployed or retrenched mining workers. The director said that companies that are participating in the auction of mining blocks have been requested to give “preference” to workers who lost their jobs because of the mining ban. The GFP president said that the government’s policy runs contrary to the assurance given by Sawant in the recent monsoon session of the legislative assembly. “BJP (in the assembly elections) painted a fantastic picture of the future and promised the mining dependents and their families that mining would soon be resumed, and that they will be re-employed by the new mining lease holders,” said Sardesai. He said that the induction of the eight Congress MLAs into BJP has made Sawant “arrogant, rash and apathetic”.

Goa CM misled laid-off mining workers: GFP president Vijai Sardesai
Niti Aayog is frustrated with Sawant: GFP
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

Panaji: The war of words between GFP and BJP over the Niti Aayog’s findings continued on Sunday with GFP president Vijai Sardesai saying that BJP is making “ridiculous” claims instead of presenting facts. Sardesai also challenged BJP to present government data to counter the Niti Aayog’s findings.“The Niti Aayog has exposed that, of the double engine government, the lower engine in Goa is not working properly. The figures that I have shown are not mine but the Niti Aayog’s. BJP has not given a response to any of the seven points that I have raised,” Sardesai said.On Saturday, Sardesai had challenged BJP to defend Sawant’s performance as a chief minister and the saffron party took the bait, deploying industries minister Mauvin Godinho, MLA Daji Salkar and party spokesperson Giriraj Pai Vernekar.The three said that Sardesai’s allegations are driven by “frustration”, a charge the GFP chief said is ridiculous.“Three Pramod Sawant bhakts talking humbug won’t change facts. If you were loyal to Goa, you’d have used the press conference to present Goa government data. It’s Niti Aayog who’s frustrated because the Goa chief minister cannot rise to its expectations,” Sardesai added.“There’s nothing more ridiculous than to say that Prime Minister’s Niti Aayog exposed Pramod Sawant’s failures because Vijai Sardesai is frustrated,” the MLA said.He added that Godinho, who has been charged in the power scam, has no option but to defend Sawant due to fear of being prosecuted. “Godinho should realise that while he is defending the chief minister, Pramod Sawant is not defending him in the power scam case,” Sardesai said.

Niti Aayog is frustrated with Sawant: GFP
  • Goa Forward Party cites NITI Aayog report, calls for Pramod Sawant’s ouster
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Citing the NITI Aayog's findings on Goa's unemployment figures, fiscal debt and the decline in the ease of doing business environment for small entrepreneurs, Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Saturday demanded that the BJP high command should sack chief minister Pramod Sawant immediately. GFP president Vijai Sardesai said that instead of accepting criticism, Sawant has accused the NITI Aayog, which is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of making mistakes. "NITI Aayog's findings point to Pramod Sawant's utter failure as chief minister. He must resign or be sacked," said Sardesai at a press conference. "The scathing report of NITI Aayog has exposed the repeated lies that all is well in Goa, and has pointed to serious and far reaching failures in Sawant's administration." Sardesai said that the state's finances have eroded due to Sawant's faulty fiscal policies, which is why the NITI Aayog has asked the state to give away government assets. The GFP MLA said that because of the government's fiscal policy, Goa will be burdened with heavy taxes while the development of the state will slow down. "The NITI Aayog's solution is to give away all the state's wealth, the assets, jetties, hotels, land, hospitals, etc. This is akin to selling the family wealth when you have no money. My demand is that such recommendations such as asset monetisation should not be accepted," said Sardesai. At the press conference, Sardesai cited two TOI reports to back his critique against the government. On Friday, TOI carried a report on the NITI Aayog's asset monetisation recommendations and on Saturday, TOI carried report on former AG J E Coelho Pereira's recommendations about the sale of land that was acquired and handed over to Zuari Agro.

  • GFP cites NITI Aayog report, calls for Sawant’s ouster
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Citing the NITI Aayog’s findings on Goa’s unemployment figures, fiscal debt and the decline in the ease of doing business environment for small entrepreneurs, Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Saturday demanded that the BJP high command should sack chief minister Pramod Sawant immediately.GFP president Vijai Sardesai said that instead of accepting criticism, Sawant has accused the NITI Aayog, which is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of making mistakes.“NITI Aayog’s findings point to Pramod Sawant’s utter failure as chief minister. He must resign or be sacked,” said Sardesai at a press conference. “The scathing report of NITI Aayog has exposed the repeated lies that all is well in Goa, and has pointed to serious and far reaching failures in Sawant’s administration.”Sardesai said that the state’s finances have eroded due to Sawant’s faulty fiscal policies, which is why the NITI Aayog has asked the state to give away government assets. The GFP MLA said that because of the government’s fiscal policy, Goa will be burdened with heavy taxes while the development of the state will slow down.“The NITI Aayog’s solution is to give away all the state’s wealth, the assets, jetties, hotels, land, hospitals, etc. This is akin to selling the family wealth when you have no money. My demand is that such recommendations such as asset monetisation should not be accepted,” said Sardesai.At the press conference, Sardesai cited two TOI reports to back his critique against the government. On Friday, TOI carried a report on the NITI Aayog’s asset monetisation recommendations and on Saturday, TOI carried report on former AG J E Coelho Pereira’s recommendations about the sale of land that was acquired and handed over to Zuari Agro.

Goa: Criticism should be based on facts, BJP tells Vijai Sardesai
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: Hours after GFP president Vijai Sardesai said that chief minister Pramod Sawant should step down as the Niti Aayog report had said he failed in all sectors, BJP on Saturday hit out at the Fatorda MLA and said that Sardesai is "nervous" after eight Congress MLAs joined BJP. "Everyone has joined BJP and he (Sardesai) feels that he has been left out. I sympathise with him," industries minister Mauvin Godinho said. Referring to the Niti Aayog report and hitting out at the Goa government will not change anything as the people of the state have faith in BJP, Godinho said. "Criticism should be based on facts and not for the sake of criticism." The minister said that the Niti Aayog has not contradicted the state government's figures and the GFP president is trying to spread negativity by providing false figures. Referring to Niti Aayog figures, Godinho said that in sustainable development goals, Goa got a score of 72 and secured the fourth position, similarly Goa secured first position in clean water and sanitation among others. "If we highlight a select figure then one has to believe Sardesai, but I want to tell the people of the state that no one can speak against us that there is no development in the state. Next month Zuari bridge will open, Mopa airport is waiting for inauguration and we can see development because of the support from the Centre," Godinho said. The minister said that the GFP president should not bother who is performing and who should be replaced in the cabinet as the BJP central leadership is there to look after it. He said that the state government will lay more focus so that the private sector employs more youth. The minister also said that industries want to invest in Goa even when land prices are higher compared to other states where they get free land to set up industry.

Goa: Criticism should be based on facts, BJP tells Vijai Sardesai
Chair rotation in Margao civic body ignites discord
Times of India | 3 months ago | |
Times of India
3 months ago | |

Margao: With Margao MLA Digambar Kamat finally succeeding in installing his trusted lieutenant, Damodar Shirodkar, firmly in the saddle of the Margao Municipal Council’s chairperson’s post, uncertainty now looms over the continuance or otherwise of the vice-chairperson, Dipali Sawal, who also belongs to the Kamat camp. As a consequence, signs of discord have already begun to set in, though in a hushed and discreet manner, political observers say.The election to the chairperson held earlier this month was necessitated owing to the resignation of his predecessor, Lyndon Pereira, in August, in accordance with a verbal agreement between the civic alliance partners — Kamat and GFP president Vijai Sardesai — over the rotation of the posts of chairperson and his deputy every fifteen months during the five-year tenure. As Pereira belonged to the Sardesai camp, he was to be succeeded by a councillor from the Kamat camp. As regards the vice-chairperson, Sawal, who belongs to the Kamat camp, was to step down to make way for a councillor from the Sardesai camp to occupy the post.However, with Kamat having defected to BJP, power equations in the civic body have turned topsy turvy, as the civic alliance crumbled the day the Margao MLA turned saffron last month. After Pereira stepped down, Sardesai had then said that once the new chairperson is elected, the incumbent vice-chairperson would resign and a councillor from his Fatorda Forward panel would be nominated. With Kamat’s defection, BJP’s strength in the civic body has risen to 16, thereby elbowing out GFP from authority of power in the civic politics of Margao. However, with Kamat maintaining ambiguity over the rotation of the posts, several councillors from the ruling panel, who have been aspiring for the top two posts, have turned restive. The disenchantment is more palpable in the original BJP camp as Kamat has almost managed to assert his dominion over the local unit of BJP soon after his defection.“If BJP cadres are seen amongst the Kamat-affiliated group, it has more to do with political posturing. If there are no noises from within the local BJP camp, it has more to do with their submission to party discipline than adjusting to the defection,” a political observer said, summing up the mood.

Chair rotation in Margao civic body ignites discord
Goa Forward Party demands rollback of shack licence fees
Times of India | 3 months ago | |
Times of India
3 months ago | |

PANAJI: Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant must end his “indifference and lethargy towards state’s tourism industry” and support it by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators, said Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Wednesday. GFP president Vijai Sardesai said that Sawant had promised to keep shack licence fees unchanged but the tourism department has gone ahead and increased the licence fees, which is a “disastrous situation.” “In spite of repeated appeals to roll back the hike and also after an assurance from the Chief Minister to that effect, the government has gone ahead and implemented the new fee structure,” said Sardesai. “Instead of providing such relief, the government has decided to increase the license fee to erect temporary beach shacks from Rs 65,000 to Rs 1.25 lakh per year.” The tourism department has also hiked the fees to put up deck beds and umbrellas on beaches from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 while an additional fee of Rs 10,000 will be levied for garbage collection. “As Goa’s tourism sector tries to recover from serious setbacks in the previous years and limps back to normality, there is uncertainty about the number of international and national tourists reverting to pre-pandemic levels,” Vijai. “Given this state of affairs, it is vital that the government support the industry by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators across the state.” Sardesai said that around 60% of the beach shack owners have not paid the fees in expectation of a reduced fee structure. “This habitual indifference toward traditional Goan businesses by the BJP government will wipe the iconic shacks from our beaches and therefore tourists from our state. The season already looks bleak thanks to BJP’s double engine sarkar, with its new visa policy for UK visitors causing damage to Goa’s tourism,” said Sardesai.

Goa Forward Party demands rollback of shack licence fees
  • Goa Forward Party demands roll back of shack license fees
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant must end his “indifference and lethargy towards state’s tourism industry” and support it by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators, said Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Wednesday. GFP president Vijai Sardesai said that Sawant had promised to keep shack licence fees unchanged but the tourism department has gone ahead and increased the licence fees, which is a “disastrous situation.” “In spite of repeated appeals to roll back the hike and also after an assurance from the Chief Minister to that effect, the government has gone ahead and implemented the new fee structure,” said Sardesai. “Instead of providing such relief, the government has decided to increase the license fee to erect temporary beach shacks from Rs 65,000 to Rs 1.25 lakh per year.” The tourism department has also hiked the fees to put up deck beds and umbrellas on beaches from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 while an additional fee of Rs 10,000 will be levied for garbage collection. “As Goa’s tourism sector tries to recover from serious setbacks in the previous years and limps back to normality, there is uncertainty about the number of international and national tourists reverting to pre-pandemic levels,” Vijai. “Given this state of affairs, it is vital that the government support the industry by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators across the state.” Sardesai said that around 60% of the beach shack owners have not paid the fees in expectation of a reduced fee structure. “This habitual indifference toward traditional Goan businesses by the BJP government will wipe the iconic shacks from our beaches and therefore tourists from our state. The season already looks bleak thanks to BJP’s double engine sarkar, with its new visa policy for UK visitors causing damage to Goa’s tourism,” said Sardesai.

GFP demands roll back of tax hike in Ponda
Times of India | 3 months ago | |
Times of India
3 months ago | |

Panaji: Goa Forward Party (GFP) expressed its dismay over Ponda Municipal Council’s (PMC) move to hike house tax and taxes for commercial establishments in the town. While recognising the civic body’s need to increase revenues, GFP said that all stakeholders should be consulted so that the hike can be reasonable.GFP said that the constant increase in fuel prices, house tax, water and electricity tariffs is making it difficult for the common man to meet monthly expenses. “GFP wants the municipality to immediately take a decision to roll back these taxes. Put yourselves in the place of the common man and try to understand the people’s plight,” said GFP general secretary Durgadas Kamat.He added that he will write to the PMC chief officer as well as the director for municipal administration seeking a review of the decision.On October 19, PMC increased the house tax from Rs 7 per sqm to Rs 15 per sqm while tax on commercial establishments was hiked from Rs 20 to Rs 100. New homes will have to pay Rs 50 per sqm while new commercial spaces will have to pay Rs 206 per sqm. The hike will be rolled out from the next financial year.GFP has also drawn the government’s attention to the plight of para teachers, who have not been paid salaries since June. “In spite of bringing to the notice of chief minister Pramod Sawant on October 14, the para teachers have not received salaries since June,” said Kamat.

GFP demands roll back of tax hike in Ponda