Goa Tourism News

PM Modi Remembers Manohar Parrikar, Says 'He Took Goa to New Heights of Development'
News18 | 11 months ago | |
News18
11 months ago | |

PM Narendra Modi inaugurated multiple development projects in Goa. (Image: ANI)(Image: ANI)Remembering late Manohar Parrikar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said seeing Goa prosper and its strength reminds him of the former chief minister. Modi, who is in Goa, also hailed the incumbent CM and said Pramod Sawant is working with a vision for the development of the state.“The sincere nature of Goans was reflected in the commitment of Manohar Parrikar who was seen carrying out his duties till his last breath," he said. Parrikar served as the union defence minister during the first term of the Narendra Modi government. He died on 17 March, 2019 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. PM Modi reached Panaji in the afternoon to participate in the celebrations marking 60 years of the coastal state’s liberation from Portuguese rule and later witnessed a fly past and sail parade at Miramar.Unlike Other Countries, PM Modi Involved People in Govt's Fight Against Covid-19: Amit Shah'Truly Humbled', Says Former Army Commander After PM Modi Assures Help Within Hours of SOS TweetThe prime minister in his speech said, “if former union home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had lived for more time, Goa would not have needed so long to get liberated."“Goa came under Portugal rule when the other major part of the country was ruled by the Mughals. But even centuries later, neither Goa has forgotten its Indianness, nor India has forgotten its Goa," he added. He further said, “freedom fighter Mohan Ranade continued to be in prison in Portugal for over a decade after Goa was liberated. The issue had to be pursued by Atal Bihari Vajpayee." Hailing the state for topping in good governance and per capita income, he said “Goa is giving strength to the country through its flagship program Swayampurna Goa." PM Modi urged the people of Goa to set new goals to achieve greater heights by the 75th year of the state’s liberation.He also congratulated Goa for completing first dose vaccine coverage to its eligible population. He also praised the state’s growth of tourism even during the pandemic and congratulated chief minister Pramod Sawant for keeping the pace of development up in the state. Speaking about his recent visit to Rome and meeting with Pope Francis, he said, “Some time ago, I went to Italy and Vatican City. There I also had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis. I invited him to visit India, to which Pope Francis said “This is the greatest gift you have given me” This is his love for India’s diversity, our radiant democracy."He inaugurated multiple development projects, including the renovated Fort Aguada jail museum, super speciality block at the Goa Medical College and new South Goa district hospital.The prime minister also offered floral tributes at Martyrs’ Memorial on the occasion of Goa Liberation Day at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium in Panaji. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates multiple development projects incl the renovated Fort Aguada Jail Museum, Super Speciality Block at Goa Medical College, New South Goa Dist Hosp, Aviation Skill Development Center at Mopa Airport & Gas-insulated Substation at Davorlim, Navelim in Goa pic.twitter.com/ZdQY0Orum0— ANI (@ANI) December 19, 2021Modi felicitated freedom fighters and veterans of ‘Operation Vijay’, undertaken by the Indian armed forces to liberate Goa from Portuguese rule. He also released a Special Cover and Special Cancellation to mark the commemoration of Indian armed forces freeing Goa from Portuguese rule. This special episode of history is shown on the special cover, whereas the special cancellation depicts the war memorial at the Indian Naval Ship Gomantak, constructed in memory of seven young gallant sailors and other personnel who laid down their lives in ‘Operation Vijay’.Modi also released ‘My Stamp’ depicting the ‘Hutatma Smarak’ at Patradevi, which salutes the great sacrifices made by those who made the supreme sacrifice in the Goa liberation movement.The expansion of healthcare infrastructure is in line with PM Modi’s vision to improve medical infrastructure and provide top class medical facilities across the country. The super speciality block at the Goa Medical College and Hospital has been constructed at a cost of over Rs 380 crore under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana’ scheme. The new South Goa district hospital, built at a cost of around Rs 220 crore, is equipped with modern medical infrastructure, including OPD services in 33 specialities, latest diagnostic and laboratory facilities and services like physiotherapy and audiometry.The re-development of the Aguada Fort jail museum as a heritage tourism destination under the ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ has been done at a cost of over Rs 28 crore, it said. Before Goa’s liberation, the Aguada Fort was used to incarcerate and torture freedom fighters, the PMO said. The museum will highlight the contributions and sacrifices made by prominent freedom fighters who fought for the liberation of Goa and will be a befitting tribute to them. Modi will also release a Special Cover and Special Cancellation to mark the commemoration of Indian armed forces freeing Goa from Portuguese rule, it said.Modi also inaugurated an aviation skill development center at the Mopa airport and a gas insulated substation at Dabolim-Navelim in Margao. He will also lay the foundation stone for the India International University of Legal Education and Research of the Bar Council of India Trust at Goa, according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).Goa Liberation Day is observed on December 19 every year to mark the day Indian armed forces freed Goa in 1961. Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.

PM Modi Remembers Manohar Parrikar, Says 'He Took Goa to New Heights of Development'
Goa needs to wake up
Times of India | 11 months ago | |
Times of India
11 months ago | |

PANAJI: Lush landscapes, a miniscule geographical footprint and bountiful resources make Goa not just a traveller’s paradise but every policy maker’s ideal canvas. With a geographical area of less than 0.11 per cent of the country’s total size and a similar share of 0.12 per cent of national population, the state boasts of the perfect recipe to become a beacon of sustainability. Goa attained freedom from its colonial masters 14 years after the country tasted independence, but 60 years after Liberation, the state shed its susegad skin to top most socio-economic development charts. The state’s contribution to India gross domestic product (GDP) is a mere 0.4 per cent, but Goa is today the richest state in India with a per capita income of Rs 5.23 lakh, more than three times the country as a whole. In the NITI Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index for 2020–21, Goa stands a tall third and tops the charts in terms of clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy. In terms of efforts towards eradicating poverty, Goa is a front runner standing second after its Southern cousin, Tamil Nadu. The NITI Aayog states that just five percent of Goa lives in poverty and less than one percent of the state’s population lives in “kutcha” homes. A rosy picture to say the least, but statistics alone don’t paint the correct picture. “Goa has done exceptionally well on the socio-economic front post-merger compared with rest of India,” says former chief secretary B. Vijayan. “Most parameters on social economic indices of Goa are among the best in the country and in fact comparable with some of the Western European countries. This, however, does not mean that everything is hunky dory.” If one takes off-budget borrowings into account, the state is staring at a debt of Rs 23,473 crore, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. The government has tried to start marinas, floating jetties, tree-top hotels and convention centres. A national highway project snakes through the state, leading to an ever-widening trust deficit between the government and its people. The Goa of old is disappearing amid pollution, over-development and fears over personal safety. Goa’s image of a sunny state with laid back vibes and beaches has slowly given way to garishly-lit casinos, drugs, economic disarray and haphazard construction that permanently covers the state in dust and debris. The hills and roadsides are covered in garbage, a testament that the state’s fragile ecosystem is unable to keep pace with the double-engine growth promised by policy makers. Goa’s lifeline, the Mandovi river, hosts half a dozen floating casinos and swallows untreated sewage on a daily basis. “Parashurama, who is said to be the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, made Goa his home. Today, our state is known for gambling, prostitution, drugs and crime,” says former Union law minister and former deputy chief minister of Goa Ramakant Khalap. Khalap says fingers have to be pointed at all political parties for Goa’s failure to become a model state. Political instability and betrayal has marred Goa’s political history since it achieved statehood in 1987. The state has had 13 chief ministers since the state was liberated from 451 years of Portuguese rule in 1961. “What I found is that rent-seeking behaviour, corruption level, is very high in Goa. This rent-seeking behaviour comes because of political instability,” says Vijayan. Political analyst Bhasker Assoldekar is also disillusioned with the current state of affairs. “From around 10 highly-qualified MLAs in 1964 who represented Goans from every strata, we have now 10 MLAs with serious crimes. If only we do self-introspection, we will realise we have failed ourselves,” says Assoldekar. Against the stereotypical view that Goa economy is being led by tourism and mining, an analysis of individual share of each sector reveals that manufacturing and communication contributed substantially to the growth of the economy. Yet, political apathy, driven by corruption, has stymied Goa’s industrial growth. “Corruption is extremely high, and people are put off by this. To get anything to move is very difficult and that means that the cost of doing business moves up,” says Vijayan. The absence of a long-term and sustainable vision for Goa’s tourism sector has eroded the state’s tourism capital. Even tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar came out and said that Goa doesn't want tourists who “come to Goa and cook food inside a bus” or consume drugs. “We want the richest tourists," says Ajgaonkar. That’s easier said than done. As Khalap points out, Goans are a minority in their own state and the influx of residents from other states coupled with steady out-migration by locals has done little for Goa’s cultural growth. Vijayan describes this as a “disaster waiting to happen”. “The decline of the population of Konkani language speakers in Goa... their number is going down and they are likely to become a minority sooner than later. This would mean extinction of a language and the associated culture,” says Vijayan. This once-upon-a-time paradise has lost its sheen. Goa was among the top five fastest growing states in 2009-10, but the closure of mining and subsequent economic slowdown put brakes on it. Having registered a high rate of growth, the challenge for Goa is to see growth in a sustainable way. “Over the last 60 years, Goa has gone down from self-sufficiency to being dependent on other states even for basic amenities. Arable land area has gone down by 70% since 60s and sustained agriculture is now a thing of past,” says Assoldekar.

Goa needs to wake up
On one-day trip, PM to inaugurate development projects worth over Rs 650 crore in Goa
Times of India | 11 months ago | |
Times of India
11 months ago | |

Panaji: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will arrive in Goa on a one-day visit on Sunday to participate in the 60th anniversary of Goa’s Liberation, will inaugurate and lay the foundation stone for multiple development projects worth over Rs 650 crore. Some of the major projects Modi will inaugurate are the renovated Fort Aguada jail museum, the super-specialty block at Goa Medical College (GMC), the new South Goa district hospital, the aviation skill development centre at Mopa airport, and the gas-insulated substation at Davorlim-Navelim, Margao. The GMC’s super-specialty block, constructed at a cost of over Rs 380 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, is the only state-of-the-art super-specialty public hospital in Goa that provides high-end services to the public. It has services like angioplasty, bypass surgery, kidney transplant, dialysis, etc, and will house a 1,000lpm PSA plant. The district hospital, built at a cost of around Rs 220 crore, is equipped with modern medical infrastructure including OPD services in 33 specialities. It will have the latest diagnostic and laboratory facilities and services like physiotherapy and audiometry. The hospital has 500 oxygenated beds, a 5,500-litre LMO tank, and 2 PSA plants of 600lpm. Meanwhile, the re-development of the Aguada Fort jail museum as a heritage tourism destination has been done at a cost of over Rs 28 crore. Before Goa’s Liberation, this fort was used to incarcerate and torture freedom fighters. The museum will highlight the contributions and sacrifices made by prominent freedom fighters who fought for Liberation. The skill development centre at Mopa, built at a cost of Rs 8.5 crore, will provide training in 16 job profiles. And the Davorlim substation, constructed at a cost of Rs 16 crore, will provide power to surrounding villages. Modi will also lay the foundation stone for the India International University of Legal Education and Research of the Bar Council of India trust, aimed at transforming Goa into a hub of higher and technical education. Ahead of the 2022 assembly elections, Modi’s visit is also expected to galvanise BJP workers in the state. State BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade told TOI that Modi is the tallest leader of the party, and his visit will definitely boost the morale of karyakartas. “We launched our poll campaign during the visit of BJP national president J P Nadda. Modi’s visit will further enhance the enthusiasm of karyakartas,” he said.

On one-day trip, PM to inaugurate development projects worth over Rs 650 crore in Goa
PM Modi's Goa Visit on Sunday to Focus on Reviving Heritage, Boost Healthcare Infrastructure
News18 | 11 months ago | |
News18
11 months ago | |

File photo of PM Modi inaugurating Kashi Vishwanath Dham. (Image: News18)Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Goa on Sunday and attend the Goa liberation day celebrations along with felicitating freedom fighters and veterans of ‘Operation Vijay’. During the visit, PM Modi will inaugurate Super Speciality Block at Goa Medical College and New South Goa District Hospital in a bid to improve the medical infrastructure and provide top class medical facilities across the country. The super speciality block at the Goa Medical College and Hospital has been constructed at a cost of over Rs 380 crore under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana’ scheme, it said. It is the only state of the art super-speciality hospital in Goa, providing high-end super speciality services. Goa Elections: TMC Promises Rs 5,000 a Month Under Griha Laxmi Scheme, BJP Says Mamata 'Fooling People'It will provide specialised services like angioplasty, bypass surgery, liver transplant, kidney transplant and dialysis, among others, the PMO said, adding that the super speciality block will also house a 1,000 liter per minute (lpm) oxygen pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plant installed under PM-CARES. The new South Goa district hospital, built at a cost of around Rs 220 crore, is equipped with modern medical infrastructure, including OPD services in 33 specialities, latest diagnostic and laboratory facilities and services like physiotherapy and audiometry. The hospital has 500 oxygenated beds, 5,500 litre liquid medical oxygen tank and two PSA plants for generating the life-saving gas at 600 lpm, the PMO said. Modi will felicitate freedom fighters and veterans of ‘Operation Vijay’, undertaken by the Indian armed forces to liberate Goa from Portuguese rule, and will also inaugurate multiple development projects, including the renovated Fort Aguada jail museum. The re-development of the Aguada Fort jail museum as a heritage tourism destination under the ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ has been done at a cost of over Rs 28 crore, it said. Before Goa’s liberation, the Aguada Fort was used to incarcerate and torture freedom fighters, the PMO said. The museum will highlight the contributions and sacrifices made by prominent freedom fighters who fought for the liberation of Goa and will be a befitting tribute to them.Besides these, the prime minister will inaugurate an aviation skill development center at the Mopa airport and a gas insulated substation at Dabolim-Navelim in Margao. He will also lay the foundation stone for the India International University of Legal Education and Research of the Bar Council of India Trust at Goa, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.

PM Modi's Goa Visit on Sunday to Focus on Reviving Heritage, Boost Healthcare Infrastructure
BJP to send vehicle to collect suggestions for poll manifesto
Navhind Times | 11 months ago | |
Navhind Times
11 months ago | |

NT NETWORKPanajiChief Minister Pramod Sawant will flag off a vehicle on December 21 which will move around Goa up to January 5, 2022 to collect suggestions from the public for inclusion in the party manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections.Maintaining that BJP government has fulfilled 75 per cent of the assurances that the party had given in its manifesto for the 2017 state assembly polls, convenor of BJP manifesto committee Laxmikant Parsekar on Thursday said that the vehicle will carry ‘sankalp peti’ – a resolution box – in which the public can drop their suggestions.“The BJP manifesto will have many assurances – some short-term assurances, while some long-term assurances for up to next 15 years – which would be finalised in consultation with the public,” he added, pointing out, “In addition, stakeholders meetings and public congregations would be held for the purpose.”Parsekar, addressing a press conference at the city BJP headquarters, also said that the co-convenor of the BJP manifesto committee Subhash Shirodkar will hold public interactions on education, youth affairs and housing to gather public suggestions for the manifesto, while Nilesh Cabral will hold interactions on power, senior citizen’s problems, environment and solid waste management.“Nilkanth Halarnkar will hold public interactions with fishing community, Govind Parvatkar on commerce and industry, and Sidharth Kunkalienkar on tourism, water supply and infrastructure,” he informed, adding that Vasu Gaonkar will hold public interactions with the ST community, while Suvarna Tendulkar on agriculture, self-help groups and women.Earlier, Parsekar read out the achievements of BJP government during past 10 years in various fields including infrastructure, health, education and sports. He also said that some of the assurances are still being implemented and would find a place in the new manifesto.“In fact, today, the higher education government colleges in the state are preferred by the students and their parents, over private colleges, and the enrollment in the government colleges provides the evidence,” Parsekar mentioned, stating that government colleges at Quepem and Sankhali are on the way to get the rank of deemed university.Replying to a question, Parsekar said that the two projects namely Electronic City at Tuem as well as the under-construction Mopa airport, have capacity to replace the activities of the mining industry, which have now been stopped.The co-convenor of BJP manifesto committee, Subhash Shirodkar stated that the vibrations of the new National Education Policy would be felt in the new election manifesto of the party. “We, through this manifesto, expect to tell people as to what kind of human resource would be created in Goa, during next 15 years,” he added.It was informed that the 2022 Goa election manifesto of the BJP will be released 10 to 15 days before the polls.

BJP to send vehicle to collect suggestions for poll manifesto
Goa: Malabar tree nymph wins the vote to be state butterfly
Times of India | 11 months ago | |
Times of India
11 months ago | |

Panaji: The Malabar tree nymph, known for its attractive black and white wing pattern and unique flight movement, was declared Goa’s state butterfly on Thursday, at the fifth Goa Bird Festival at Chorao. This has made Goa eighth in the country to have a state emblem species. Malabar tree nymph won the vote overwhelmingly when the state forest department held consultations with scientists, ecologists, conservationists and the public. The species is endemic to the Western Ghats and though it is found in southern Maharashtra, its real distribution starts from Goa. Malabar tree nymph has a wingspan of 120–154mm. “The plant that its caterpillar feeds on is found along riparian forests lands along watercourses and water bodies. This highlights the habitat of the species,” said naturalist Parag Rangnekar. The butterfly has an attractive flight as while gliding over a tree canopy it suddenly stops flying and starts hovering. “Goa is not just about the sun, sand and sea, but is also known for the hinterland tourism, nature tourism and patriotic tourism and the government is endeavouring to promote all types of tourism to boost tourism activities in Goa,” said chief minister Pramod Sawant as he declared the state butterfly of Goa. The two-day bird festival of Goa is being hosted at Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Chorao. A short film on the state butterfly was also screened on the occasion. In areas in Goa like Bibtyan, Brahma-Karmali, Sattari, Malabar tree nymphs are found throughout the year in the evergreen vegetation. The forest department had formed a committee of ecologists and Commander, Clipper, Common Jezebel and Blue Oakleaf were the four other butterflies shortlisted. Some of the attributes considered while selecting the state butterfly are the species’ uniqueness, endemism, ecological status, encounter rate, aesthetic appeal, conservation status and its associated cultural importance. At Thursday's event, Goa Bird Conservation Network (GBCN) member Mandar Bhagat was also felicitated for his work in the field of conservation.

Goa: Malabar tree nymph wins the vote to be state butterfly
For 2022 polls, BJP to kick off sankalp peti from December 21
Times of India | 11 months ago | |
Times of India
11 months ago | |

Panaji: Former chief minister and chief of BJP manifesto committee Laxmikant Parsekar on Thursday said that the ‘sankalp peti’ would be taken across the state to seek suggestions from the public to prepare the BJP manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections. The sankalp peti, which will be flagged off on December 21, will travel across the state till January 5. Parsekar said that they want to complete the manifesto at least 10 days before the polls. BJP said that 75% of the last election manifesto has been implemented. The party will also organise a convention to get suggestions to prepare their manifesto. He said that the party has given them the responsibility of preparing the manifesto for the next five years, but they will prepare a manifesto for the next five, 10, 15 and 20 years. “Some suggestion would be short-term and some long-term,” he said The sankalp pethi will be mounted on a vehicle and it will travel across 40 constituencies and will be parked at prominent places so that people can give their suggestions. Shiroda MLA Subhash Shirodkar will hold discussions with the public on the issues of sports, education, youth and housing, he said. Power minister Nilesh Cabral will discuss issues pertaining to power, senior citizens, environment and solid waste. Tivim MLA Nilkant Halarnkar will interact with the fishing community while senior party person Govind Parvatkar will look after commerce and industry and former Panaji MLA Siddharth Kuncalienker will get public feedback on tourism, water supply, sewerage and infrastructure. Senior party functionary Vasudev Gaonkar will handle issues related to scheduled tribes and Suvarna Tendulkar will discuss agriculture, women and self-help groups. Parsekar said that suggestions will be invited online through the BJP website as also a WhatsApp number that will be circulated.

For 2022 polls, BJP to kick off sankalp peti from December 21
  • Goa assembly polls: BJP to kick off sankalp peti from December 21
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Former chief minister and chief of BJP manifesto committee Laxmikant Parsekar on Thursday said that the ‘sankalp peti’ would be taken across the state to seek suggestions from the public to prepare the BJP manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections. The sankalp peti, which will be flagged off on December 21, will travel across the state till January 5. Parsekar said that they want to complete the manifesto at least 10 days before the polls. BJP said that 75% of the last election manifesto has been implemented. The party will also organise a convention to discuss major issues, like health and education, among others, to get suggestions to prepare their manifesto. Parsekar said that there will be a meeting with stakeholders. He said that the party has given them the responsibility of preparing the manifesto for the next five years, but they will prepare a manifesto for the next five, 10, 15 and 20 years. “Some suggestion would be short-term and some long-term,” he said Parsekar said that the sankalp pethi will be mounted on a vehicle and it will travel across 40 constituencies and will be parked at prominent places so that people can give their suggestions.

After gap of 2 years, first charter flight lands in Goa
Times of India | 11 months ago | |
Times of India
11 months ago | |

PANAJI: After a break of close to two years, the first international charter flight landed at Goa International airport bringing 159 tourists from Almaty, Kazakhstan. Officials said that slots for 40 charter flights have been allocated with the numbers expected to go up. The Air Astana flight landed just before daylight on Wednesday and all the international passengers were screened and tested before being permitted to depart from the terminal. The excitement among the arriving tourists was also visible. BJP minister and local MLA Mauvin Godinho was on site to welcome the tourists to Goa. He said that the arrival of the international tourists indicates that Goa is the number one destination for tourism. Caper Travels, which is coordinating the charter flights from Kazakhstan, expects around 500 tourists to visit Goa on a weekly basis with Air Astana charter flights operating thrice a week on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday till April. “This is the first charter to land this season. As of now, around 40 slots have been given to the charters flights, but I expect these numbers to grow because as confidence grows more slots will be asked,” said airport director Gagan Malik. As of now, Kazakhstan’s largest airline SCAT and Russian airline Rossiya are also expected to operate charter flights to Goa. “It is a good sign in itself that after two years international tourism has restarted. All the protocols are being followed and every aspect has been taken care of,” said the airport director. He said that the spurt in domestic tourism has seen domestic flights soar past pre-Covid levels several months earlier. “Last Sunday we had 95 departures which was never the case even in pre-Covid times. Domestic tourists are coming into Goa,” said Malik. Meanwhile, playing down speculation that the airport at Dabolim will be shut once the new international airport at Mopa becomes operational. Godinho said that the Goa international airport terminal has been modernised and new aerobridges are being installed. “All this is not for military flights,” said Godinho. “Under no circumstances will they allow it to close,” he added.

After gap of 2 years, first charter flight lands in Goa
As tourism kickstarts, Candolim health centre sees high turnout for vaccinations
Times of India | 11 months ago | |
Times of India
11 months ago | |

Calangute: While the number of people visiting Covid vaccination centres across the state has dropped considerably, walk-ins at the Candolim primary health centre (PHC) for inoculations have shot up dramatically in the past few weeks, largely due to the start of the new tourist season. Around 250 persons visit Candolim PHC for their vaccinations everyday, and a majority of them comprise outstation staff of tourism-related businesses in the Calangute-Candolim tourism hub, said health officer Dr Roshan Nazareth. “The number of locals is practically zero because almost all of them have taken their second dose,” Nazareth said. Earlier, till the end of October, around 100-150 people would turn up for vaccinations after the initial rush during the second wave. With a large number of hotels, resorts, shacks, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses opening up again following a decline in Covid cases, staff and job seekers from other states have started coming in large numbers, stakeholders said. Vaccinations are now being conducted everyday, except Sundays and holidays, at Candolim PHC. “We had to put up a special pandal to accommodate the crowd,” Nazareth said. Saligao PHC, which falls under Candolim PHC, is also undertaking vaccinations, only once a week. “We have told the eight panchayats which come under Candolim PHC to inform us if they want to have one-day vaccination camps whenever required. The Calangute panchayat is planning to have one soon,” he said.

As tourism kickstarts, Candolim health centre sees high turnout for vaccinations
Transport dept fines 1,576 cabbies for digital taxi meter violations
Times of India | 11 months ago | |
Times of India
11 months ago | |

PANAJI: Over the past two weeks, 1,576 taxis plying without installation of digital fare meters were issued challans by enforcement agencies, director of transport Rajan Satardekar stated. During the past two weeks, 1,994 vehicles were fitted with digital meters. As on date, 7,726 taxis have fitted digital meters, the directorate of transport submitted to the high court. The number of bookings of vehicles awaiting installation is at 597, it was submitted to the high court, falling from 1,943 two weeks ago. After the directorate of transport held meetings with the two agencies executing the work of installing meters — Rosmerta Auto Tech Pvt Ltd and Securinex Pvt Ltd — to urge them to improve the rate of installation, the average daily number of installations has gone up from 108 installations to 142. The directorate of transport submitted the updates in a status report to the high court which is monitoring the implementation of taxi meters in the state.The division bench of the high court has called for another status report to be submitted by the directorate of transport at the next hearing on January 12, 2022. Last month, the directorate of transport passed an order directing that tourist vehicle permits/All Goa tourist vehicle permits of vehicles without digital fare meters will be “cancelled immediately”. The high court is monitoring the fitment of digital fare meters in taxis after the travel and tourism association of Goa and other tourism stakeholders filed their second contempt petition in two years over non installation of digital meters in taxis. There are roughly around 20,000 taxis registered in the state, of which about 16,000 are operational. The government had earlier set a deadline of October 31 for the series-wise fitments of digital meters, following which the pending taxi operators were given until November-end to get the installation complete.

Transport dept fines 1,576 cabbies for digital taxi meter violations
Goa: Low on numbers, tourist cops yet to make impact
Times of India | 11 months ago | |
Times of India
11 months ago | |

PANAJI: A stroll along the busy beach stretches of Calangute and Baga shows that nothing much has changed there even after specially-trained tourist police personnel began patrolling the area. Vendors, touts, hawkers, children selling colourful bands, and masseurs are seen freely moving about, despite the shack policy barring them from the beaches. The beach shacks too continue to occupy as much space as possible, with their umbrellas, decks beds, chairs and tables, and canopies. While tourist police attend to petty crimes — resolving fights among tourists or between tourists and lifeguards, search for a missing child, attend to complaints against shack operators playing loud music — vendors seize the opportunity to slip on to the beach to sell their wares and services. The number of masseurs and vendors on beaches may have significantly decreased over the years, but they continue to operate, as many of them conduct their business in connivance with shack operators. Want a head massage? Pay Rs 200. Throw in another Rs 200 to get a shoulder massage too, and enjoy the pampering while relaxing on a deck bed at no extra or hidden charges, and indeed, at a cost that is much lower than that charged by spas. “If we question masseurs, shack operators rescue them claiming that they are their staff hired to do odd jobs,” a tourist police personnel said. Shacks on popular and crowded beach stretches have one or two women attendants who work primarily as masseurs. The number of masseurs swells after 5pm, even as police patrol the Calangute, Baga and Candolim beaches 24x7. A policeman said that though North Goa has over 70 tourist police personnel, there are only four female cops. “After 6pm, we don’t engage with female masseurs and most of the time they are defended by shack operators,” he said. Additionally, police said that nabbing vendors and masseurs is not easy as beaches have multiple entrances, enabling them to make their entry strategically so as to evade them.“When they spot a cop from afar, they disappear or will find shelter at a beach shack,” another tourist cop said. He said that besides keeping a watch on vendors, they have other tasks to handle. A lot of their time, he said, is taken up in resolving fights. “We have to first resolve the fight, take the injured to a doctor, and hand over the accused at the respective police station. All this can easily take an hour or two to bring under control,” the policeman said. They also have to attend to complaints about shacks overcharging or a tourist not paying the bill. Last week, a tourist from South India was detained for not paying a bill of Rs 2,000. “The man was in his twenties and had fled home and appeared mentally disturbed. He had no money on him. We contacted his family, and after they paid, he was released,” the cop said. No doubt, the presence of tourist police has helped bring some semblance of order, but it is foolish to expect the illegalities to stop completely, locals said. A local resident said that vendors are a vote bank and, naturally, get protection. Complaining about shacks playing loud music, locals said they stop when police arrive only to restart once they leave. “A shack in my neighbourhood plays loud music right from morning, everyday. I have called the police several times, besides the tourism department. They directed me to contact the tourist police,” Calangute resident Cais D’Silva said. Shacks playing loud music beyond 10pm is quite common, as it is a tactic to attract domestic crowds, a policeman said, adding that when questioned, operators point fingers at 10 others who are indulging in some or the other illegality. “We send reports to the tourism department about the excesses of the beach shacks,” he said. A senior tourism official said that it cannot be accepted that police cannot control vendors or masseurs, or that they cannot act against a female vendor or masseur. With regards to illegalities by beach shacks, he said, whenever a team is sent for inspection at any beach, it is cleared before the team reaches. To fight it, he said that they will introduce an app to collect pictorial evidence of violation of the beach shack policy.

Goa: Low on numbers, tourist cops yet to make impact
Ready to resign as minister for any interested politician, says Michael Lobo
Times of India | 11 months ago | |
Times of India
11 months ago | |

Panaji: Ports minister Michael Lobo on Wednesday said that he is ready to resign as minister for any politician who is either not sure about winning the upcoming assembly election or who is interested in becoming a cabinet minister. He said that, to become cabinet minister, these politicians should contact chief minister Pramod Sawant and later him. His statement comes in the wake of speculation in political circles that there might be a cabinet reshuffle before the election code of conduct comes into force. When asked if there will be any cabinet reshuffle, Lobo said that he has heard that the code of conduct for the upcoming assembly election will come into force from December 20. The PM will arrive in Goa on December 19 and the code of conduct will come into force any time after that, he said. “If a new person is inducted in the cabinet what will he do,” he said, adding, “If someone wants to become a minister, he should contact me. I am ready to resign as minister. Anyone who wants to become minister in this term or feels that he will not get elected in the upcoming election should contact me and CM and CM should agree.” On the Omicron situation, Lobo said that tourists are coming to Goa and “we have to take precautions” and that the state cannot stop economic activities. “We cannot scare the tourists coming to Goa. Tourism is part of the state’s economic activities, which went through a bad time, but then life also is important and we have to balance both,” he said.

Ready to resign as minister for any interested politician, says Michael Lobo
Use traditional knowledge, tech to become atmanirbhar: Shripad
Times of India | 1 year ago | |
Times of India
1 year ago | |

Panaji: Farmers must blend their traditional knowledge with newer technologies to achieve the dream of atmanirbhar or self-reliant Goa, said Union minister of state for tourism and ports, shipping and waterways Shripad Naik, while speaking at the ‘World Soil Day’ event held at Old Goa. The Old Goa-based ICAR-Central Coastal Agricultural Research Institute (CCARI), Old Goa and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), North Goa celebrated the event recently wherein the theme for the year 2021 is ‘halt soil salinisation, boost soil productivity.’ Emphasising on the theme and the coastal saline soils (locally called khazan), he suggested use technological interventions and suitable policies for its sustainable utilisation. Further, he stressed on judicious use of fertilisers based on soil testing and promotion of organic farming in the state. Naik referred to soil as “our mother” and explained how soil health and human health are intricately related. Parveen Kumar, director, ICAR–CCARI, Goa appealed for bringing agro-ecotourism to the main stream tourism to attract and retain youth in agriculture. The event was attended by farmers, students, scientists, subject matter specialists and staff of institute and KVK. A technical session was held, which included lectures on the balanced use of fertiliser by Gopal Ramdas Mahajan, scientist, soil science, ICAR–CCARI, soil sampling and analysis by Shashi Vishwakarma, technical officer, soil science, ICAR–KVK, North Goa and Yogic Kheti by B K Darshana Didiji, Brahma Kumaris, Goa.

Use traditional knowledge, tech to become atmanirbhar: Shripad
No plans to hand over Fort Aguada to private party: Michael Lobo
Times of India | 1 year ago | |
Times of India
1 year ago | |

Calangute: The state government has cancelled plans to hand over the former Central jail premises at Fort Aguada on lease to a private party, minister for ports and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo said on Saturday at a function at the fort. Union minister for tourism G Kishan Reddy, who was also present at the event said, “The renovated lower fort with a museum dedicated to the freedom struggle will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 19 to mark the 60th anniversary of Goa’s liberation from Portuguese colonial rule.” A week ago a proposal was placed before the cabinet to hand over the maintenance and operations of the central jail complex to a private party. The complex had recently been renovated and a museum was set up to showcase Goa’s Liberation movement. Lobo had opposed the move to involve a private party and the decision was deferred to the next cabinet meeting. Talking at the function Lobo said the chief minister called him on Friday night to inform him that the plan to give the fort on lease has been cancelled. “The CM told me that nothing will be outsourced and it will remain with the state government,” he said, adding that a formal statement on this would be issued shortly by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC). Dayanand Sopte, the chairman of GTDC was also present at the function. “The jail, known as the lower fort, was where freedom fighters were lodged during the freedom struggle not just from Goa but from other parts of India. It’s a place with a lot of history. It’s a place which should always remain with the government,” Lobo said.

No plans to hand over Fort Aguada to private party: Michael Lobo
Goa will be top destination ahead of New York, New Zealand or Singapore
Times of India | 1 year ago | |
Times of India
1 year ago | |

Panaji/ Calangute: Union tourism minister G Krishan Reddy said on Saturday that Goa would “remain the best tourist destination in the country”, and would also become the best tourism destination in the world. He also said that the Union government would support the state for development and that many tourism-related projects would be taken up. “The best tourist destination would be Goa and not New York, New Zealand or Singapore, and for that, there is a need for development in Goa, a stable government and a good chief minister. Today, we have good leader in form of chief minister Pramod Sawant,” he said Reddy inaugurated the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts’ (IGNCA) regional centre at Sakhali, and said that it would benefit the culture. Sawant, among others, was present at the function. Reddy said that BJP has given the state a stable government and taken it on a development path. He also said that the Union government has decided to provide a free toilet to each and every household in the country. Sawant said that IGNCA indulges in various forms of art. He said the institute will conduct a study on Goa’s art, culture and history, and the presentation would be given at the Centre. “In the next five years, this institution will be made a world institute for exchange of culture,” he said. Reddy also said that it’s because of the countrywide vaccination programme that so many domestic tourists are visiting Goa. “Without vaccination, no tourist would have come to Goa,” he said, speaking at the launch of six tourism development projects at Fort Aguada. “The reason there are so many tourists here in Goa is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s desire to see all Indians vaccinated. Because they’re vaccinated, they feel safe.” Sawant, meanwhile, urged Reddy to grant approval for the phase-II tourist circuit which passes through Bicholim and Sattari talukas. He also said that after Panaji, the only other masterplan prepared is for Sakhali (his constituency).

Goa will be top destination ahead of New York, New Zealand or Singapore
50 EV charging stations in Goa in 3 months: Government
Times of India | 1 year ago | |
Times of India
1 year ago | |

Panaji: The state government on Saturday launched the Goa Electric Vehicle (EV) Concessional Charging Infrastructure Policy-2021 to install charging stations at 50 locations initially identified by the state government. Chief minister Pramod Sawant launched the policy on Saturday. “Fifty charging stations would be commissioned within three months,”Sawant said. The charging stations would be provided with 20% subsidy, Sawant said, adding that Goa would be the first state to implement the mobility policy The government will appoint Goa Energy Development Agency (GEDA) as the authority to issue permissions for installation of charging stations in public and private property. GEDA will advertise a list of concessional electric vehicle charging locations against which applications will be received by GEDA and licences will be granted to applicants after following due process. In case of multiple applications for any particular location, GEDA will award the concessional location to the applicant offering maximum fixed monthly contribution to Goa Decarbonisation Fund for the period of allotment. “If there is no operator coming forward for a particular location, GEDA, with the approval of the Tariff Committee, may offer a higher tariff for such locations,” a senior officer said. GEDA will establish a single window process within 30 days from the date of the policy’s publication for submission of applications. Till such time, GEDA, on receipt of application, will process it along with all documents received for necessary action. The officer said that adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) for daily commute is essential for a wide range of goals, including better air quality, reduced noise pollution, enhanced energy security, along with lowered carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. With vehicular pollution being a constant source of reduced air quality within the state, rapid adoption of zero-emission vehicles is of great importance, he said. The Goan economy is largely dependent on tourism as the annual arrival of visitors are almost five times that of the local population. The movement of these seasonal tourists is largely dependent on unorganised transportation, including taxis, motorcycles, ferry boats and rickshaws, the officer said. “High vehicle density in Goa leads to greater environmental impact due to higher Co2 emissions. Therefore, an affordable and efficient concessional public EV charging infrastructure is needed,” he added. The state also launched the Goa Electric Mobility Policy 2021 with the objective of adoption of electric vehicles to at least 30% by 2025. The policy aims to create 10,000 jobs in the sector by 2025.

50 EV charging stations in Goa in 3 months: Government
Special ASI team to probe construction in Old Goa: Union minister
Times of India | 1 year ago | |
Times of India
1 year ago | |

Panaji: Union tourism minister G Kishan Reddy said on Saturday that the Centre has formed a special team comprising Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials to probe how permissions were granted to construct a massive bungalow within the Old Goa heritage zone. He said that unauthorised construction around the historic monuments without the approval of ASI is wrong, and that action would be taken against those responsible for flouting norms. “I found that it has been built without ASI’s permission, (and) we will take action,” Reddy told reporters in Panaji. He added that Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar had informed him about the illegalities, based on which a probe was sought. “What happened is very wrong. The inquiry is on. I have asked ASI to form a special team to do the inquiry. We will definitely take action against... whoever it (may) be,” said Reddy. The Union minister said that domestic and international tourists come to Goa to admire the 15th and 16th century heritage structures that dot the state, including the churches at Old Goa. “We are aware that there are many heritage sites in Goa, and a lot of international travellers come here to see this heritage,” said Reddy. When asked if he agrees with the need to create buffer zones around protected sites and heritage zones, Reddy replied in the affirmative. “I am convinced of the issue and definitely this should not happen again,” said Reddy. The Union minister is in Goa to inaugurate a slew of tourism projects around the state and to unveil funding for art and cultural projects. Town and country planning minister Chandrakant Kavlekar recently asked the Old Goa panchayat to initiate necessary action and demolish the illegal house, built adjacent to the St Cajetan church in Old Goa.

Special ASI team to probe construction in Old Goa: Union minister
Government open to calling Goa casino capital
Times of India | 1 year ago | |
Times of India
1 year ago | |

Panaji: Union tourism minister G Kishan Reddy said here on Saturday that “people have already given casino capital title to Goa” and the Centre was open to declaring it as the “casino capital of India” if it benefits the state. “If Goa benefits from it, we can definitely do it. But there is no need to do it. People have already given Goa that title,” he said in response to a question whether the Centre has plans to declare Goa as the casino capital of India. Reddy said people come to Goa for casinos. “They are either here or in Sikkim (both places were casinos are allowed),” he said in the presence of Union minister of state for tourism and North Goa MP Shripad Naik. Although Goa has six offshore casinos and a dozen onshore casinos in starred hotels, the state is yet to come out with a casino policy to regulate their operations. The offshore casinos are in the Mandovi, and the ports department is looking at alternative sites to relocate them but have failed to do so for years. Former chief minister Manohar Parrikar had launched an agitation against casinos ahead of the assembly elections in 2012. BJP had fought the election on the issue of removing offshore casinos from the Mandovi, but over the past 10 years despite running the government, the party has failed to relocate them. Every six months, the state government takes a decision to grant an extension to them to continue in the Mandovi. Panaji MLA Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate, in his election manifesto, had promised to move casinos out of the Mandovi within 100 days of getting elected, but later said that they were required in the river for the business community.

Government open to calling Goa casino capital