In the past two decades, as the world has become ever more globalised and the international middle class has gotten richer, casino tourism has become increasingly popular. Casino tourism is a form of high-end tourism whereby people travel far and wide to visit casinos all over the world.
A plastic clean-up drive was held at Divar Island where over 50 kgs of garbage was collected. Members of the Rotary Club Panjim Midtown, students from Goa University (tourism department) and others rode for over 20 kilometres on BLive e-bikes from Old Goa Residency to Divar Island collecting plastic and waste material in an effort to amplify the message of Save Soil. Save Soil is a global movement launched by Sadhguru to save soil from extinction, and bring the necessary policies to address the catastrophic issue facing humanity. According to recent studies, soil extinction is an issue of growing concern in the state. The residents of Goa are concerned about the almost irreparable, unprecedented soil erosion seen on hills, river sides as well as other scenic locations in Goa. The quantity of plastic that makes its way into the rivers and also gets washed ashore makes for a shocking visual for the locals and tourists. Talking about the initiative, Sandeep Mukherjee, Co-founder and COO at BLive said, “BLive has been a key driver of sustainability in Goa. The 'Save Soil' effort saw participation from various volunteers and Rotary Club members who rode electric cycles across the island of Divar and collected plastic garbage amounting to over 50 kilos. We believe that consistent efforts need to be taken to spread awareness about sustainable mobility and saving the environment to make the planet cleaner and greener.” The clean up drive was also joined by John Corte, a resident of Divar Island and an environmental activist whose mission is to make the island a plastic-free zone. Said John, a resident of Divar, "However irreversible the problem may seem, there is always an opportunity for the people to do their part and contribute to aiding the planet. This clean-up initiative led by BLive has made a significant effort to spread awareness about the soil problem at hand."
Calangute: A day after Calangute residents demanded that a bar and restaurant be shut down for operating as a dance bar, the management, on Thursday, denied any illegal activities and stated that the premises have been taken on lease from former tourism minister Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar. Management representative Dinesh Yadav told reporters that the entire controversy is a fallout of an assault wherein three sons of a woman security supervisor were assaulted by some locals. One of the sons has received serious head injuries following which police registered an offence of attempt to murder under Section 307 IPC against the locals. “It’s because an offence under Section 307 IPC has been registered that the locals are upset,” Yadav said. The assault had nothing to do with the bar or its customers, but was because of some quarrel between them, he said. Asked about permissions to operate the bar, Yadav said the Calangute panchayat had revoked the licence last year, but they have a stay order from the director of panchayats, so they can continue to operate. “We have been here for a long time and nobody made any complaints. It’s only because of this assault that we’re being unnecessarily dragged into a controversy,” he said. Locals who had gathered in front of the nightspot on Wednesday alleged that the place only has a bar and restaurant licence but operates as a dance bar.
Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant held a meeting with Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Thursday to discuss efforts to attract new private investments into the state along with steps that can improve the ease of doing business for existing local industries. GCCI president Ralph de Sousa said that administrative reforms need to be introduced in all government departments so that the private sector can operate efficiently. Pointing out that the government aims to remove the need for various licences, Sawant said that the government has introduced ease of doing business reforms in the town and country planning department with more reforms planned in other departments. GCCI also urged the state government to reduce power transmission and distribution losses, obtain more power from the Centre and form district-level committees to oversee the power situation. “Regarding labour issues, GCCI requested a dialogue with the industry and government in labour-related matters. We have also asked the government to promote mass plantation of Goan fruit bearing trees along national highways,” Sousa said. GCCI has assured full support to create awareness about various schemes announced both at the state and the national level. Chief secretary Puneet Kumar Goel along with other officials were present for the meeting. During his interaction, Sawant spoke about nurturing Goa into an agro industry state, while also facilitating growth of tourism, logistics, retail and manufacturing sectors. The chief minister also agreed to set up a Grievance Redressal Committee with GCCI members and industry stakeholders. The committee will directly connect with the chief minister’s office and discuss industry specific issues. Sawant said that the committee would aim to resolve all major concerns within six months. Sawant informed GCCI that the state government is working with the Telangana government to emulate their industrial model in Goa. He also said that a retail policy and logistics policy for Goa is on the anvil. The chief minister assured industry representatives that the Mormugao port connectivity will be completed within the next six to nine months. “This will be part of the multimodal linkage under the Gati Shakti programme and modernisation of infrastructure,” Sawant said.
Panaji: The state cabinet has approved Drishti Lifesaving Pvt Ltd as the licensee for the management, operations and maintenance of Aguada lower fort (former Central jail) for a period of 15 years and extendable by another 15 years. Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) had undertaken the restoration of the lower fort to repurpose it as a monument for the freedom struggle of Goa. On completion of the restoration work last year, GTDC, after taking necessary approvals, had floated a tender for appointing an agency for its management, operations and maintenance. During its tenure, Drishti Lifesaving, under the supervision of GTDC, will ensure that the Aguada jail premises are open throughout the week, including public holidays. However, the timings for visitors will be from 8am to 11pm. It will be responsible for operations and maintenance of the ‘Information Zone’, including but not limited to managing the ticket counters, operation and maintenance of Tourist Information Centre, handicrafts shop including marketing outlet for products made by Colvale jail inmates and other jails in Goa and operations and maintenance of the cafe. The operator will also undertake operations and maintenance of the museum zone including but not limited to operations of administration block, maintenance of small visitor's area along with seating arrangement and photo booths, organising outdoor events in the area along the fortification wall. The fort, constructed in 1612 by the Portuguese to guard against European invaders, has not been notified as a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India or the state archives. It is classified into two broad areas - upper fort and lower fort. While the upper fort was built as a vantage point to serve as a fort and a watering station for ships, the lower fort was used to offer a safe berth to the Portuguese ships. Before Liberation, the lower fort was used as a prison, where freedom fighters including Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and T B Cunha, were jailed during Goa’s freedom struggle. After Liberation, the state converted the fort to Central Jail until 2016, when it was shifted to the new jail complex constructed at Colvale.
Centre gives Rs 15 crore for projectPanaji: The central government has sanctioned a fund of `15 crore for setting up a tribal museum in Ponda.The project cost of `15 crore will be borne by the tribal welfare ministry.In all, 10 museums of this kind will be set up across the country, in the states where tribal movements took place against the colonial rule.“To commemorate the long-overdue sacrifices of the valiant tribal freedom fighters and exhibit their traditional heritage, the ministry is establishing ten tribal freedom fighters museums across the length and breadth of India,” it stated.The ten museums will come up in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Mizoram and Goa.The ministry maintained that the tribal museum in Ponda will be established to showcase the contribution of tribal heroes during the Indian freedom struggle in Goa.These museums will further preserve and promote songs, music, art skills, handicraft and crafts passed down from generation to generation.The tribal museums will help educate the younger generation about India’s tribal history and will also boost tourism in the respective regions.The announcement as regards the ten tribal museums were made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year after inaugurating a museum in Ranchi dedicated to Birsa Munda, the folk hero and freedom fighter.
Tourists, fishermen face inconvenience as beaches lay littered with black lumpsMargao: The coastal stretch of Salcete from Colva to Cavelossim has in recent days been facing the resurgence of the menace of tarballs.Several beaches in Salcete have witnessed varying sizes of the sticky black lumps washing up ashore. This occurrence is common during the pre-monsoon days and is a nuisance to the beach goers as well as the fishermen.A group of fishermen from Benaulim said that “the sea conditions have been rough these days. There are some areas that have a lot of tar deposits. The sea level has also increased with water reaching up to where we park our boats.”“Tarballs have again come to haunt our pristine beach in Cavelossim. The entire beach stretch is covered with the black lumps; it is posing a problem to tourism activities, besides environment,” said resident and chairman of Cavelossim Biodiversity Village Committee Dixon Vaz.He further said that several authorities were informed of the severity of the issue. “For the past few years, we have been taking up the matter with higher authorities such as the environment ministry, the state biodiversity board and the Coast Guard but the issue continues to remain unresolved. I inspected the beach and also spoke to the member secretary of Goa State Biodiversity Board to seriously look into the matter so that there is no adverse impact on environment and tourism,” said Vaz.The NIO had studied the tarball phenomenon in the past and had narrowed down on the source of it linking it to oil tankers that were en route between the Middle East and Southeast Asia or from accidental spills.
Panaji: The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa has welcomed the government’s move to increase floor area ratio (FAR) for three- and four-star hotels along with five-star hotels, but said this should be done with sensitivity to Goa’s ecology. “Instead of illegal extensions, this will bring in more revenue to the government,” TTAG president Nilesh Shah said, adding that overall the proposal looks good on paper, but the association will have to see how it pans out. TTAG had requested that the benefit of additional FAR that was being permitted for five-star hotels be extended to lower category hotels, too, so that “it becomes more rationalised”. “There are many projects coming into Goa and it’s better that the additional FAR is rationalised so that illegalities are curbed and to bring in more revenue to the government.” At the same time, care should be taken to retain Goa’s beauty, Shah said. “Higher FAR cannot be permitted point blank. It must be done with sensitivity to Goa’s environment. Care will have to be taken, especially in congested areas, so see that Goa’s ecosystem is preserved. FAR cannot just be given for the sake of it. Goa’s beauty should be retained,” he said. Smaller hotels were hit badly during the pandemic. “There were takers for five-starred hotels, but not for small hotels. Small hoteliers have not revived completely. We are looking at sustainable tourism today. We see a lot of tourists coming into Goa and, if we want to increase their spending capacity, we need to work. Existing businesses need to be sustained,” he said. Goa has something for everyone—from high spending to low spending tourists—and all the people in the trade need to be sustained along with other verticals of business—tour operators, water sports activities, cruise activities etc, he said. TOI had reported that the town and country planning board on Tuesday decided to increase the FAR for four and five starred hotels from the existing 20 percent to 30 percent in both rural and urban areas.
Panaji: The Niti Aayog supported Atal Incubation Centre at Goa Institute of Management (AIC-GIM) at Sanquelim has invited ideas of innovations as replacement for single-use plastic. The AIC-GIM Foundation said that consumption of single-use plastic grew at a 2.5-fold rate in the food and beverage industry during the Covid-19 outbreak. The Centre said it has thrown up the single-use plastics challenge to innovators with the aim of reducing the use of such plastic in Goa’s F&B industry. “Solutions for single-use plastics will enable Goa to build a sustainable tourism model. Goa can be a model state for these solutions and then this model can be replicated at different locations,” AIC-GIM Foundation CEO Rajesh Joshi said. He said AIC-GIM has partnered with Climate Collective Foundation and IHCL’s Taj Hospitality and the selected solutions will get the opportunity to test their ideas in Goa with the partner hotel network. Insights derived from the pilots will contribute to a study around understanding the environmental impacts of alternatives to single-use plastic packaging, Joshi said.
They will be absorbed into position of aircraft rescue and firefightingPanaji: Altogether 31 Goan candidates, including two girls, selected for the position of aircraft rescue and firefighting at the Mopa Greenfield International Airport, recently completed their basic firefighting course at the Raibareli-based Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University.These candidates also participated in the passing out parade. They will be inducted into the service at Mopa airport as soon as the first phase of the airport is commissioned later this year.Director of civil aviation Suresh Shanbhogue, speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, on Tuesday, said that more recruited Goan staff has also been sent to Hyderabad for training in baggage screening.“The work of the first phase of the airport is almost 80% complete and we are certain of completing the first phase on schedule, as the airport is proposed to be inaugurated on August 15, 2022, commemorating the 75 years of Independence of India,” he stated.Speaking further, Shanbhogue said that the runway at the new airport is ready and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower as well as the ATC technical building has been handed over to the Airport Authority of India, and the AAI has commenced the process of putting up installations. “Furthermore, some external work of the ATC tower is still being carried out,” he noted.The director of civil aviation informed that the passenger terminal building is ready and its interior work is presently in progress. “Furthermore, the process of providing connectivity between the passenger terminal building/ apron area and the runway is in full swing,” he stated.Shanbhogue informed that the estimated budget of the airport has increased due to the court matters as well as the corona pandemic. “A new revised budget has already been prepared, with an increase from `1,900 crore to `2,615 crore, due to time overrun of 724 days,” he mentioned, pointing out, “We lost 634 days due to court restrictions, while 90 days due to pandemic.”Shanbhogue also said that the work of expressway near the airport has long started.Meanwhile, Minister for Tourism Rohan Khaunte has stressed on the need for a consolidated and comprehensive plan to attract more visitors to Goa after the commissioning of the first phase of the Mopa airport. He made this observation during a review meeting attended by the GMR representatives and officials of the tourism department.Khaunte stated that there is a need to create facilities and services to attract high-spending tourists, private jets, freight movement and chartered flights. “We need to look at how we can increase revenue and contribute to the GDP; if the GMR airport gets its things right, then it will be a game-changer,” he added.
Panaji: Goa power minister Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar said on Tuesday that remains of demolished temples will “100% be found” in Goa. His remarks come in the backdrop of the case of a Shivling that is said to have been found at the Gyanvapi masjid in Uttar Pradesh. Responding to a question on whether such remains will also be found in Goa, he said, “The Archeological Survey of India and our archives and archeology department could look into this. In my personal opinion, there will be (remains)”. Dhavalikar said that in the 15th century, temples were destroyed in Goa during the Portuguese regime. “I am not saying remains of only Hindu temples, but even of other religions may be there,” he said. “If a survey is conducted, 100% it will be found,” he said. He also said that many people in Goa want the temples (that were destroyed during the colonial era) either to be restored or rebuilt. Last month, CM Pramod Sawant said that work has already begun on the plans to restore and reconstruct these temples. In a first-of-its-kind provision, Sawant announced a budgetary provision of Rs 20 crore for this project. “Our places of worship are symbols of our rich cultural heritage,” Sawant said in his budget speech. “At many places in Goa, we find several temples in a dilapidated and neglected condition. During the Portuguese regime, there was a systematic effort to destroy these cultural centres. Considering tourism development, we have made a provision of Rs 20 crore for reconstruction and restoration of these temples and sites.” It was in December 2021 that Sawant had first said that in the 60th year of Goa’s Liberation, he wanted to initiate the reconstruction of temples that had been destroyed by the Portuguese.
Calangute: Director general of police Jaspal Singh recently held an interactive meeting with tourism stakeholders from the Calangute-Candolim beach-belt to discuss law and order issues. Panchayat members were also present for the meeting. Singh said police have been receiving many complaints from tourists about being assaulted by security guards at nightclubs and other touristic places. He urged the stakeholders not to take the law into their own hands. “Tourists are our guests. One should not take law into their own hands, the law enforcement agencies are there to take care of any untoward incident or if a tourist creates a problem after getting drunk,” he said. “If one has any issue, dial 112, and within 10-15 minutes, a PCR (police control room) vehicle will be at the site as the number is connected to the police headquarters,” the DGP further added.
Panaji: Forest minister Vishwajit Rane on Monday said that he has issued directions to the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) to suspend the range forest officer (RFO) on duty when tree clearings at Vagheri hill resumed. Rane said that the work of tree cutting at Vagheri hill resumed despite stop work orders. “Despite the department taking action and stopping the work at Vagheri hill, some people have taken the law in to their own hands and resumed work without permission from the town and country planning & forest department. I have instructed the PCCF to suspend the RFO on duty,” said Rane. He said that a show cause notice has also been sent to the former deputy conservator of forests (DCF) who was in charge of the area when the violation was carried out. “If the explanation is not satisfactory, the DCF will be suspended as well. No hill cutting, filling of low-lying fields, khazan lands, or similar activities will be tolerated. Similarly, I have directed the DCF to keep an eye on the lapses happening in the department; such lapses will not be tolerated,” said Rane. On April 30, based on a TOI report, Rane had inspected the site at Vagheri hill and confirmed the work being carried out without the necessary permissions. As per RTI documents obtained by environmentalists, the work is being carried out to set up an eco-tourism project. Forest patches were cleared to construct a road leading to the supposed eco-tourism project. Rane had earlier said that the forest department has taken the coordinates of the site at Vagheri Hill in the Western Ghats of Goa to determine whether it falls within the ecologically sensitive zone. The ongoing clearing activity is threatening the stability and the ecology of the hill, which forms part of the Western Ghats of Goa, recognised as a Unesco world heritage site. The Sawant committee in 1997 had identified the forest on Vagheri hill as qualifying as private forest because of its dense tree canopy. This area also falls in the eco-sensitive zone of the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary.
Panaji: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte reviewed the progress of the under-construction international airport at Mopa on Monday after which he said that a consolidated plan will be prepared in coordination with GMR Goa International Airport Ltd (GGIAL) to increase the flow of passenger traffic. Khaunte has also directed officials from the tourism department and GGIAL to conduct a full-fledged review of the airport infrastructure, facilities and expected tourist flow based on which a roadmap can be prepared. “We need to have a consolidated plan after working together so that we can increase the tourist footfalls in Goa,” Khaunte said. “We had a recce of the whole infrastructure and we have asked for a full review in 15 days. We will come up with a plan on who needs to do what.” The minister travelled to Mopa with a team of officials and discussed ways to increase employment and revenue for the state, while also stressing on the need to create facilities and services to attract high-spending tourists, private jets, freight movement and chartered flights. Khaunte said that GGIAL officials remain confident about commencing flight operations on August 15. “Today’s meeting was to see how we can help and support them. We also need to look at our requirements. A lot of things have to be put in place like connecting flights, easy flow of passengers, a satellite hub for airlines, e-visa, new airlines, facilities,” Khaunte said. The minister said that once the new airport becomes operational, it will become a game changer for the state. “We need to look at how we can increase the revenue, contribution to GDP. If GMR Airports gets its things right, then we will have a game changer. If way GMR works the way we expect them to do, then we expect a major revenue churner for the state and for the country in the days to come,” Khaunte said.
PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday said that Goa, “which till now is known for sun, sand, and sea tourism, will soon also be known for spiritual and cultural tourism.” The chief minister said that for the past several years, religious institutions have create awareness about dev (god), dharma (religion) and desh (nation). Padma Shri Sadguru Brahmeshanand Acharya swami said that he will support the government to rebuild temples. “We call ourselves Hindus. We never attack or trouble anyone, whereas Hindus are attacked and converted. Temples are demolished. If we try to rebuild or restore our temples then we are blamed,” the swami said. Sawant in an exclusive interview to TOI had said Goa being a touristic state, the state government wants to develop it as the tourism capital of India. In his budget speech, Sawant has made a provision of Rs 20 crore for reconstruction and restoration of temples and heritage sites destroyed during the Portuguese era. Sawant had said that the state government will develop a spiritual tourism circuit that will enable tourists to visit temples and churches in villages.
Staff ReporterPanajiThe Tourism Minister said that when Goa is being spoken about, we are projecting Sun, Sand and Sea but henceforth we will also add ‘software’ to it, making the coastal state, a tourism tech destination.Khaunte was speaking during the First Incredible India International Cruise Conference organised by Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways in Mumbai on Saturday.The usual Sun, Sand and Sea that attracts tourism will have another ‘S’ added to it in the form of ‘software’, State Tourism Minister, Rohan Khaunte revealed.Khaunte informed that though Goa is geographically a small state, it prominently features on the world map as tourism destination. “Sun, Sea, Sand and Software is something that we are trying to sell to promote tourism-tech concept,” he said.Khaunte said that the state has a population of 15 lakh but there are 80 lakh tourists visiting the state annually.He said that the state is also harnessing on the potential of cruise tourism. “Around 1.49 lakh tourists arrived through cruise tourism in Goa between 2017-2020,” he said adding that 57% of those who arrived on the cruise were from Europe.“Goa has been selling only Sun, Sand and Sea. Now, we are looking at the opportunities like hinterland, heritage tourism and various more things that will allow the economy to grow. But when we start looking at these opportunities we cannot only look at tourists who are coming by air,” he said stressing importance of cruise tourism.While India is getting ready to develop itself as a Cruise Hub, there is great opportunity for Goa, he said. Khaunte said that Goa has all the potential in terms of sea, air and road.The tourism minister said that the country follows the model of cooperative, collaborative and competitive spirit of federalism. “We look at the opportunities of how we can make our states better. The nation building can happen only with the state building itself,” he maintained.Khaunte pointed that each state is fighting back the challenge of economy and generation of employment for their people.Khaunte said that the trade, tourism and technology has to work together and each state has to think out of box adding through Sagarmala we are connected to Chennai, Mumbai, Vizag, Andaman,he added.
PANAJI: With the aim to have 1,000 certified tourist guides in the state within the next two years, the state government has framed a scheme to offer tourist guide certification programmes to Goan youth to provide better services to the tourists. A senior officer said that tour guides are among the most influential frontline players in the tourism industry, their knowledge and interpretation of a destination’s tourist attractions plays an important role in creating a brand image of a state. The senior officer said that currently, there are a limited number of tourist guides in the state. Hence, training the local youth will help increase the number of tourist guides in the state and also provide better service to the tourists. It will also build the entrepreneurial capacity of local youth and widen their opportunities in the tourism sector, the officer said. The tourism department has adopted the Union tourism ministry’s ‘Incredible India Tourist Facilitator (IITF) (basic) certification programme’. The programme is divided into various modules. The first six modules aim to equip the candidate with basic knowledge and skills required by a tourist facilitator such as basics about society and nature of India, basics of tourism industry and its terminologies, building rapport and communication. The last module is related to tourist destinations and experiences of different states of India. “The tourism department has also developed an advanced tourist guide curriculum. The aim of the advanced tourist guide curriculum is to train the participants in Goan history, heritage, culture, tourist destinations, soft skills and etiquettes and enhance their employability within a short span of time,” the senior officer said. The fee of the IITF (basic) programme will be reimbursed to the candidate and the cost of the advanced tourist guide curriculum will be sponsored by the state tourism department. “On completion of the advanced tourist guide certification course, the tourism department will award tourist guide certificate to the candidate. After completion of the tourist guide certification scheme (basic and advanced tourist guide modules), the participant can apply for registration under the department of tourism,” the scheme said.
CALANGUTE: Two children’s parks in Candolim, inaugurated a few years ago, are lying locked and unused, reportedly because of management issues. One of the two parks, at the Sinquerim plateau, opposite the St Lawrence church, had been inaugurated a few years ago. Built through ZP funds by Calangute ZP member Dattaprasad Dabholkar, the park also has a jogging track. Dabholkar said the park, built on land belonging to the St Lawrence church, is lying locked because of differences between the church committee and the Candolim panchayat. “The committee was supposed to hand over the park to the panchayat for operations and maintenance, but it has not been done,” Dabholkar told TOI. Another children’s park at the Candolim beach promenade is also not being used although a large number of tourists along with children visit the area. The park, inaugurated by former chief minister Manohar Parrikar four years ago and built by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) through central government’s ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme, was also supposed to be handed over to the panchayat, but that too has still not been done. There is a concrete stage inside the park which was supposed to host music shows and other performances. Tourism stakeholders said the parks should be kept open so that visiting tourist children can play there. “What is the use of building them and keeping them locked?” they said. Another park with a jogging track at Khobrawaddo, Calangute, the foundation stone for which was laid just before the last assembly elections, has now hit a roadblock with the Calangute MLA now in the opposition, panchayat members said.
PANAJI: Forest minister Vishwajit Rane on Friday said that areas for camping will soon be created inside Goa’s forests for visitors. He said that such facilities will encourage more citizens to visit Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries and parks. Plans are also on the cards to upgrade infrastructure at Goa’s only bird sanctuary – Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary at Chorao. “Following discussions with forest department officers, we have decided to give thrust on development of forest eco-tourism within forest areas and forest parks. We will improve infrastructure of Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, build camping areas, jungle trails, etc,” said Rane in a tweet. Recently, he said that the Goa Forest Development Corporation will act as the nodal agency for all eco-tourism activities in the state. “We will carry out these activities with guidance from experts to ensure that people are more interested in and visit forest parks. Camping areas and jungle trails will be prioritised. We will create an entirely new ecosystem so that we can see the animals within the park,” said Rane. He said last week that Vinay Luthra and Raman K, who have served as principal chief conservators of forests in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, respectively, are being engaged to replicate sanctuary-based tourism models like those states in Goa. There are plans to develop jungle lodges like those in Karnataka’s forests and wildlife parks similar to those in Madhya Pradesh. A forest management plan is also being prepared for Goa.
Panaji: The Goa Forest Development Corporation will be the nodal body for all ecotourism activities in the state, forests minister Vishwajit Rane said on Thursday. Rane also said that jungle lodges like those in Karnataka’s forests and wildlife parks similar to those in Madhya Pradesh will now be developed in Goa. “In addition to its current responsibilities, Goa Forest Development Corporation will be in charge of all #ecotourism activities, as well as the management of forest parks under the @goaforests. It will serve as the nodal agency for these activities,” Rane tweeted on Thursday. The state forest development corporation is led by Rane’s wife and first time MLA from Poriem constituency Deviya Rane. Santosh Kumar, additional principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden for Goa, will serve as the coordinating officer ‘to ensure that this transition goes smoothly’, Rane said. The minister said that former principal chief conservator of forests for Madhya Pradesh is being roped in to prepare the forest management plan for Goa. “The government will bring in experts such as Mr Luthra, instrumental in creating the successful jungle lodges in #Kabini (Karnataka) and has a vast knowledge in park management & development in forest areas, along with Mr Raman Ji former PCCF of Madhya Pradesh & former field director of Bandavgarh (MP),” Rane said. The latter will help Goa implement “the vision of the government, prepare a forest management plan and develop wildlife parks”, the minister said. Vinay Luthra in Karnataka and Raman K in Madhya Pradesh have served as principal chief conservators of forests.
Panaji: Director general of police (DGP) Jaspal Singh on Saturday chaired two separate meetings with residents of Calangute and Anjuna, and stakeholders from the tourism industry to understand the issues faced by them. Inspector general of police (IGP) Omvir Singh was also present at the meeting. The purpose of this public outreach was to understand issues faced by those in the tourism industry and also provide a platform for more such regular interactions. The aim was to facilitate tourism while ensuring peace and safety for the community. This initiative is the third such initiative pioneered by Goa Police this year after Samadhan and revitalising beat policing. Last month the DGP launched ‘Samadhan’, aimed at lending people a ear and helping them find an appropriate solution for their grievances. Goa Police also launched ‘beat police book’ for beat officers with an emphasis on preventing crime and ensuring closer public interaction at the beat level.
Panaji: The Union ministry of shipping and tourism is looking into factors such as favourable taxation and infrastructure augmentation that could boost cruise and river tourism in the country, minister of state for tourism Shripad Naik said at India’s first ever international cruise tourism conference. Pointing out that Goa and Mumbai attract the most number of cruise vessels, Naik said that the Centre is aware of the infrastructure gaps that prevent other cruise lines from making port calls to Indian ports. “It is time India takes up cruise tourism in a big way. The government is seriously contemplating on what the gaps are that prevent the industry from realising its full potential,” he said. Naik said that the Union ministry of tourism has realised the need to bring India’s cruise terminal infrastructure on par with international standards. Expectation of favourable cruise taxation, lower duty on cruise vessel transactions, lower tax on cruise bookings and faster immigration and customs clearances are also factors that deter cruise vessels and tourists, he said. “Efforts are on to find solutions to the above factors to boost the nascent industry,” the minister said. Meanwhile, minister for tourism Rohan Khaunte said that he aims to diversify Goa’s tourism sector. “Goa has been traditionally selling tourism along the lines of ‘Sun-Sand-Sea’. Now we want to look at it differently; Hinterland, heritage and various other things that allow the state to grow. I have added ‘software’ to the ‘Sun-Sand-Sea’ and we want to make Goa a tech tourism state,” Khaunte said. Both Naik and Khaunte urged international cruise lines to operate more vessels from Indian ports, particularly Goa. “River cruises have a significant and untapped potential. Request the cruise industry to actively participate and share their expectations and suggestions. I invite more vessels and footfalls at Indian ports,” Naik said.
Staff ReporterCalanguteTaking cognisance of complaints of tourists being beaten up, harassed and cheated in the beach belt of Calangute, DGP Jaspal Singh held a meeting and interacted with the tourism stakeholders.Speaking at the meeting, the DGP said that it has been brought to our notice that tourists are being beaten up by bouncers and some were even seriously injured, adding that there are two such cases that have come to light.“Tourists are our guests and one should not take law into their own hands; the law agencies are there to take care of any untoward incident or if a tourist creates problem after being drunk,” the DGP said.He said that the tourism stakeholders have the right to employ bouncers to protect their properties but one should restrain from taking law into their own hands.“There were incidents that have pained me wherein tourists were assaulted and they even had their bones fractured; complaints have been received by my office,” he noted.He said that “Goa is known to be safe for women; this certificate has been given by a professional agency employed by the Government of India. Tourists come to the state to enjoy and unwind themselves. They need to be treated well so that they come back to the state.”“If one has any issue dial 112; within 10 to 15 minutes a PCR will be at the site as this number is connected to the headquarters. 1000 cases have been solved following complaints on this number,” he said. Other top police officials were also present for the meeting.Some locals pointed out that the police were not acting on complaints given by the residents regarding dance bars, touts.“Tourists drink and roam with liquor bottles on the roads, touts are tarnishing the image of the beach belt, prostitutes are roaming freely, there are dance bars that are operating illegally and so also massage parlours but the police have turned a Nelson’s eye to these illegalities,” they alleged.Calangute sarpanch Shawn Martins said that “dance bars are being operated by outsiders who are well connected and as such police are under pressure not to stop such illegal businesses,” he alleged.Sarpanch of Candolim Blaize Fernandes said that “beggars in the beach belt have an organised network; this needs to be stopped as they are harassing the tourists. More traffic police personnel are needed during the weekends as there are traffic jams in Candolim.”
Panaji: The government of Goa has re-constituted the Goa Town and Country Planning (TCP) board and TCP’s Conservation Committee with the notification being issued on Friday. TCP minister Vishwajit Rane will head both the entities while chief town planner Rajesh Naik will serve as the member secretary. The TCP board has representatives from the Union ministries of defense, surface transport and tourism. The state government has also included representatives from the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) along with architect Rajiv Sukhtankar. The secretaries of the departments of TCP, industries, panchayats, planning, and urban development will also serve on the board. Aside from the heads of several government departments, the government has also included representatives from the Indian Institute of Architects, Institute of Engineers-India, Institute of Town Planners and Confederation of Real Estate Developer Association of India (CREDAI) on the TCP’s conservation committee. Two MLAs will also serve on the TCP board, but the government has not notified the names of the two MLAs.
Panaji: Agro-ecotourism has opened up a new avenue to increase farm income, said Union minister of tourism, shipyard and waterways, Shripad Naik. He was speaking at the national symposium on self-reliant coastal agriculture at Old Goa. “The symposium will act as a knowledge platform and a way forward to sustainable coastal agriculture which will benefit farmers, scientists and other stakeholders,” he said. Mahesh Patil, chairman, Goa State Pollution Control Board said that khazan land has to be revived through an integrated farming approach and encourage agro-ecotourism to improve the income of farmers. “Climate change is a fact and we should prioritise our research and development on climate-resilient agriculture,” he said. Hosted by the ICAR-CCARI, Old Goa, the symposium featured different sessions and deliberations on coastal agriculture. On this occasion, Padma Shri Awardee Amai Mahalinga Naik was felicitated by the dignitaries for his innovation in water conservation and converting barren lands into green and fertile lands. Environment minister Nilesh Cabral stressed on the need for reviving the fifth century old and traditional agriculture system of Goa through eco-friendly methods of bund stabilisation, integration of pisciculture and agriculture to make Goa a self-reliant state in agriculture.
Panaji: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Wednesday said the state government will act against illegal activities along the coastal belt while also assuring proper beach-cleaning management to provide clean and safe shorelines for tourists visiting Goa during the next tourism season. At a meeting with director general of police (DGP) Jaspal Singh, police officers and representatives of the tourism department, Khaunte said, “We have to work together to ensure that ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is equivalent to God) is properly experienced. Unwanted harassment of tourists in the form of fines due to traffic violations on national highways, among other issues, has to be reviewed.” The minister called for better coordination between the Goa police, director of tourism, beach-cleaning agency and lifesaving agency to ensure that beaches are clean and safe for tourists. “We need to take immediate action against illegalities along the coastal belt. We will use technology to achieve smooth coordination and will also take the opinion of members of the general public to improve the experience at beaches during the coming tourism season,” he said. “Several issues have been irritating tourists, so if we want to amplify the message of clean and safe beaches, a lot needs to be done.” Khaunte highlighted the need for surveillance cameras to better manage beach-cleaning and for the requisition of better equipment to ensure safety at beaches. He said tourism stakeholders, including shack owners and those involved in watersports, should assist the state government with these initiatives.
PANAJI: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Wednesday said the state government will act against illegal activities along the coastal belt while also assuring proper beach-cleaning management to provide clean and safe shorelines for tourists visiting Goa during the next tourism season. At a meeting with director general of police (DGP) Jaspal Singh, police officers and representatives of the tourism department, Khaunte said, “We have to work together to ensure that ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is equivalent to God) is properly experienced. Unwanted harassment of tourists in the form of fines due to traffic violations on national highways, among other issues, has to be reviewed.” The minister called for better coordination between the Goa police, director of tourism, beach-cleaning agency and lifesaving agency to ensure that beaches are clean and safe for tourists. “We need to take immediate action against illegalities along the coastal belt. We will use technology to achieve smooth coordination and will also take the opinion of members of the general public to improve the experience at beaches during the coming tourism season,” he said. “Several issues have been irritating tourists, so if we want to amplify the message of clean and safe beaches, a lot needs to be done.”
Margao: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday said that the government has identified land in Sanguem for setting up the permanent campus for IIT-Goa. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the ‘Sarkar Tumchya Dari’ programme in Netravali, Sanguem — the second edition of the government’s flagship programme — Sawant said that the process of verification of documents of the land was underway. “Once the documents are verified and everything is found to be in order, the location will be finalised. But definitely, Sanguem will be our preference for setting up the IIT,” Sawant said. Addressing the gathering, Sawant said that his government was committed to solving all difficulties and issues of the locals. He said that the issue concerning rehabilitation of some of the families displaced by the Salaulim dam that had remained unresolved over the years would also be addressed at the earliest. Sawant further said that all efforts will be made to ensure that this constituency comes into the mainstream of development. He said that all cases pertaining to Forest Rights Act and revenue land cases will be put on the fast track. “The government is concerned about every person of the state and treats every individual’s issue as its own,” Sawant said. “Sarkar Tumchya Dari was not just an election stunt, and that is why it will be continued for the next five years. It is an initiative to provide maximum administrative services as well as schemes and facilities to the people at their doorstep.” Sawant said that the government was of the opinion that every individual should get electricity, toilet, water, their own house, as well as financial and social security. “Every Goan should be self-sufficient and for that, united efforts of government, bureaucracy and public are required. People should also come forward to derive benefits and be self-sufficient. Government is making every effort to provide employment to its people in their constituency itself by way of self-employment,” Sawant said. Minister for social welfare, Subhash Phaldessai, said that the botanical garden at Salaulim dam will be developed at the cost of Rs 35 crores as an eco-tourism project.
Staff ReporterCurchoremChief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday said the state government has identified land for setting up of the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Goa) in Sanguem taluka.Stating that the taluka will be given preference in establishing the IIT-Goa campus, Sawant said land has already been selected and the related process in that direction has begun.The Chief Minister was speaking in Netravali after inaugurating the second edition of the flagship programme of the government ‘Sarkar Tumchya Dari’ or ‘Government at your Doorstep’ for the Sanguem constituency. Heads of about 38 government departments were present on the occasion.He said the government is committed to solve all the difficulties and issues of residents of the Sanguem taluka and added that holding the flagship programme in the taluka after the Assembly elections was the first step towards it. “This programme will continue for two days, as the Sanguem constituency is geographically vast,” he said.Assuring overall development of the constituency, Sawant said Sanguem comprises of tribal community and added that the government is committed to see that benefits of all the government schemes reach the community. Stating that 10,000 forest rights cases and 136 people have been issued sanads, he said other such cases and revenue land cases will be put on fast track.The Chief Minister also said that ‘Governance at your Doorstep’ programme was not an election stunt and that it will be continued for five years. “It is an initiative to provide maximum administrative services as well as schemes and facilities to the people at their doorstep,” he said.Appealing to the people to take benefit of the 121 schemes available online, Sawant said the government is making every effort to provide employment to the residents of the constituency by way of self-employment.Minister for Social Welfare, Subhash Phaldessai, who was present on the occasion, said the government is working on the concept of serving the last citizen of the society.Electricity, mobile network, drinking water, educational infrastructure, road network, other infrastructure, forest rights issue and issues of the people affected by the Selaulim dam are the major issues in the taluka and every effort is being made to resolve them, he said.Phaldessai informed that the botanical garden at the Selaulim dam will be developed at a cost of `35 crore under ecotourism. “Also, 40 cottages will come up in the constituency to provide facilities to tourists. Around 400 people will get employment in the next year through different projects, which are in the pipeline,” he said.Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the programme, the Chief Minister said the government respects the verdict of the Supreme Court with regard to the double tracking project in the state.It may be noted that the apex court on Monday set aside the clearance granted by the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) for double tracking of railway line from Castle Rock in Karnataka to Kulem in Goa.Accepting the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) report on the Tamnar 400 kV High Tension Line passing through territory of the Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary, the apex court agreed with the CEC’s recommendations on cancellation of the double track proposal for construction through the Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park.