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.
Panaji: The tourism departmentâs jetty management policy, which has been in the works for close to a year, is finally nearing completion and will be notified soon, said secretary for tourism J Ashok Kumar on Friday. Kumar said that the tourism department has already issued a work order to a private firm to revamp the Santa Monica jetty, and a similar effort is on to upgrade other jetties in the state so that they can be used for passenger commute and tourism. Kumar also announced that the state government has approved the notification of the Goa tourism board, which will have equal representation from the tourism industry. He said that the first meeting of the board is slated for early December. âThere are various authorities who are involved in managing the affairs of the jetties in the state, we have captain of ports, tourism department and fisheries department. We are looking to have a policy which will regulate the affairs of tourism-related activities on these jetties. It will be notified soon,â said Kumar, speaking at a conference on nautical tourism organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry. Kumar said that the upgradation of the Santa Monica jetty, which is being done through private participation, will take close to two years. âThere are a few jetties which are there either underutilised or unutilised... we need to ensure that these jetties are utilised to the maximum possible extent,â said Kumar. He said that inputs provided by CII and stakeholders from the tourism department are being incorporated in the tourism master plan and the tourism policy. âWe have also been able to get the approval of the government for notifying the Goa tourism board, an industry-driven policy and program which will cater to the development of tourism in the state of Goa,â said Kumar.
Panaji: Even as the Union government has started issuing visas to travellers from the UK, British tourists planning holidays to Goa aren’t likely to have a smooth ride here. Since India does not provide them e-visas, they are left with no option but to visit their local high commission office for a visa. “It is not easy to get a visa. Goa has a huge number of repeat clients with long stays, and usually they are senior citizens who travel to avoid the harsh winters of England. They are eager to come, but are having difficulties getting visas,” said Ralph de Souza, president, Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI). Even as getting the visa isn’t easy, there’s also the pendency of applications to account for, as several Indian expats were unable to visit their home country over the past two years, due to the pandemic. Sources said that the Indian expats too are having problems getting their visas stamped, as processing of applications takes time. “But when tourists apply for visas, they are likely to have to wait for (even) longer,” said de Souza. He added that although India has removed quarantine conditions and permitted vaccinated travellers entry, the crucial factor now is that visas are hard to come by. “The only solution is that India starts issuing e-visas. Otherwise, bookings by tourists are likely to be affected,” he said. The GCCI president said they have made a representation to chief minister Pramod Sawant “to use his good office to intervene in the matter”. The chamber has also sought the help of Union minister Shripad Naik. Interestingly, India is also not issuing e-visas to travellers from Kazakhstan, another country that matters to Goa for tourism. “With regards to the UK, we will again approach the government. If the issue is not sorted out, we will have fewer footfalls from England. If Goa is not available, there are other destinations that offer e-visas,” he said.
Panaji: After a successful bidding process, Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) has appointed M/s Prive Property Management Pvt Ltd, to conduct multimodal experiential tours in the state. These will include activities such as hop-on-hop-off buses and amphibious tour vehicles. While a hop-on-hop-off bus was operational until the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, GTDCâs plan to introduce amphibious vehicles, that operate on sea as well as land, was delayed owing to difficulties faced by the previous service provider in getting mandatory permissions. Now that a new service provider has been selected, GTDC expects to make both services operational during the current season. A tourism official said the hop-on-hop-off service had slowly become quite popular among domestic tourists. A significant number of foreign tourists, too, were seen using the service. A ride on the double decker bus, that offered an air conditioned and an open sky section, was a fun trip for many and a different experience from the coaches or buses that offer tours. âThe beauty of this service is that passengers can decide their itinerary. The elements of flexibility and choice make a difference,â he said. Now with the tourism season looking promising, and with the overall pandemic situation largely under control, he said they are hoping to have the bus back on the road soon. The official said that had their plan for the amphibious bus service succeeded in 2016, Goa would have become the first state to have introduced it. However, even after having a trial, the service provider was unable to start the services due to problems in obtaining permissions from various authorities. âWith it being a new kind of service in India then, government authorities were reluctant to give permission,â he said. Power Minister Nilesh Cabral, who was the GTDC chairperson then, had tried very hard to get the new service moving.
Panaji: The Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) has proposed to restore and beautify the Cabo de Rama fort, located at South Goaâs Khola village, at an estimated cost of Rs 29.7 crore. The iconic fort, which is one of the largest and oldest in the state and provides a picturesque view of the vast Arabian Sea, is a popular tourist attraction, but has remained neglected. A detailed concept master plan for restoration of the fort walls, with additional amenities such as pathways and beautification, have been included in consultation with the department of archives and archaeology, a GTDC official said. The decision to restore and beautify the fort was approved at the last board meeting. Material such as laterite, natural stones and wood will be used in accordance with archaeological norms. The GTDCâs consultants, together with the department of archives and archaeology, have already prepared drawings and a detailed project report. The Cabo de Rama fort was acquired by the Portuguese from the king of Sonda along with the taluka of Quepem and other areas as part of a treaty in 1763. The Portuguese subsequently rebuilt it. Parts of the structure have now slowly begun giving way due to a lack of maintenance. The area, which lacks basic facilities for visitors, is also constantly littered. Once renovated, the touristic value of the historic structure is expected to enhance substantially given that it falls within the Canacona circuit of the Khola, Palolem, Agonda and Rajbag beaches, and has good connectivity. The GTDC recently completed the restoration and beautification of the Reis Magos fort, along with setting up a museum to showcase Goaâs Liberation movement. It is expected to be thrown open to members of the general public next month.
Panaji: The first meeting of the Goa Tourism Board — which will be the final authority in deciding tourism-related projects and strategies — is expected to take place in December. The notification constituting it will be out shortly. The cabinet had recently approved the board’s formation with the chief minister as its chairperson and the tourism minister as its co-chairperson. The board will pave the way for implementing the tourism master plan and policy and has been the chief feature of the tourism policy that was approved last year. Though the composition of the board was finalised after much deliberation and consultation, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) had requested the government to have it headed by the chief minister instead of the tourism minister a few months ago. The suggestion was made as a broad consensus arose among stakeholders that having the chief minister at the helm of affairs would be prudent and that his presence would help fast-track the projects that may need authorisation and approval of departments other than the tourism ministry. A member of the trade body said that though much time was lost, they are happy the board will become a reality soon. “The board will be the final authority henceforth in deciding projects, promotions and marketing strategies,” the member said. Several trade members had been critical of Goa Tourism over the past few years when funds were utilised mainly to beautify temples and churches due to the insistence of either GTDC or the tourism minister, or sometimes both.
Panaji: Goa tourismâs plan to introduce seaplane service will take some more time to materialise since a three-month extension has been granted to the service provider to submit a detailed project report. After re-tendering for âintroduction, operation and management of seaplane service in Goa,â Air Mauryan Services Ltd Services, was selected in July. The extension was granted on the request of the service provider and a decision was taken at Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC)âs last board meeting. A successful bidder has to comply with certain conditions within 45 days from the date of receipt of the letter of award. Considering that it is a challenging task for the service provider to obtain permissions from various authorities, the serviceâs providerâs request was accepted. The GTDC had floated the idea of launching a seaplane service about five years ago, when it introduced several new tourism services in the state to up the destinationâs potential. In 2015, it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Maritime Energy Heli Services Pvt Ltd (MEHAIR) to launch seaplane service. Routes were finalised and a test flight landed in the Mandovi. The service was set to be launched in the following season, but the GTDCâs plan was disrupted as the service provider had some internal issues and failed to stick to the deadline of starting the service, an official said. He said they are confident of launching the new service at least by the next season, if all goes well.âOur biggest concern has been the unwarranted objections by certain people and activists, even where the question of environmental pollution does not arise. If we succeed in having a seaplane service, it will be a great plus in drawing the attention of quality tourists,â he said. The officer said at least as of now, they have not come across any serious opposition to their plan of having seaplane services, but they are cautious, nonetheless.
Panaji: The tourism department on Tuesday issued an order giving a 50% waiver on registration and renewal fees for various tourist trade activities. Shack operators as well as other service providers had demanded relief with the last two seasons being badly hit. The demand was also made as the department had implemented a new fee structure, hiking them for various services, rationalising charges. Services that were left out were also brought under the ambit of the law. Stakeholders wanted the government to keep the implementation of the new fees on hold until the situation improved, and submissions to the effect were made to the government. The government finally decided to offer a 50% waiver instead. Last season, only beach shack operators were given a discount on licence fees. This year, the benefit has been extended to more services. Those eligible to receive 50% relief in registration and renewal fees are âCâ and âDâ category hotels, dealers, travel agents and tour operators, watersports activities, private shacks and huts, photographers, tourist guides, deck beds and umbrellas, adventure sports activities and spice plantations. Fees already paid for the financial year 2021-22 will be adjusted against that payable for the next year, read the order issued by tourism director Menino DâSouza. A tourism trader said that things have been very difficult for small-time operators, whether a taxi operator or a person running a small Jguest house. âPaying EMIs was a huge problem though some relief was received on that front, but sustainability became difficult due to the prolonged shutdown. Then registration and renewal fees were raised, compounding our problems. Some relief is welcome,â a small-time watersports operator said.
Keri: One of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats in Goa at 726m, Vagheri’s private forests, which come under the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, are under threat due to increased illegal tree felling activities allegedly being undertaken by some of the land owners at the behest of a Delhi-based firm that plans to set up an eco-tourism project here. The Vageri hill covers Keri, Zarme, and Pali areas of Sattari and has for ages been known as the abode of the tiger. In 1999, the Sawant committee appointed by the Goa government had identified 200ha area in Keri as private forests. Subsequently, the Karapurkar committee and V T Thomas committee had also identified private forests on the Vagheri hill. Despite this, owners of private forests here have allegedly made attempts to sell their land to a Delhi-based firm. Taking advantage of the pandemic, in 2020 and 2021, land owners sought permission to clear bushes and instead undertook tree felling illegally. “Last year we booked an offence against unidentified persons for illegal felling of trees. We also told the owners not to repeat the illegal felling,” Keri range forest officer Vivek Gaonkar told TOI. Deputy conservator of forests Santosh Phadte said that he has already instructed forest officials not to allow any forest clearance and to take necessary steps for the protection of the private forests at Vagheri. “Six kilometres of the pathway going to privately-owned forests passes through the sanctuary and we have instructed our staff to restrain unnecessary entry to Vagheri hill,” RFO of the sanctuary, Deepak Tandel said. If these eco-tourism plans materialise, it will cause irreparable loss to the wildlife, ecology and environment, environmentalists said. Environmentalists said that damage was first wrought to the hill’s ecology after the state forest department undertook tree felling here with a view to afforest it with exotic tree species. Later, cashew plantations taken up by local communities had posed a threat to its natural cover. However, the more recent tree felling and clearing of bushes for proposed eco-tourism activities has only served to accelerate the degradation of the hill’s natural habitat, they said. Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s directives, Goa government had constituted a state-level expert committee on January 24, 1997, under the chairmanship of Sadanand Sawant to identify private forests. The Sawant committee had identified private forests contiguous to government forests having 75% forestry species and 40% canopy cover. In 1999, government-owned forests were included in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, which also had a one-kilometre eco-sensitive zone.
PANAJI: With Goaâs peak tourism season around the corner and international tourism set to resume, Goa police has decided to step up vigilance in the state, particularly to thwart harassment of domestic and international tourists. Police have begun booking miscreants and touts who are targeting tourists, North Goa superintendent of police Shobhit Saxena told reporters on Sunday. He said that tourist police have been deployed along Goaâs beaches to not only help tourists but to also address complaints of harassment. âI wonât say there is a rise in harassment of tourists, but Goa is a global tourist destination and like all global tourist destinations, there are instances of harassment,â Saxena said. âThere are unscrupulous people who try to cheat tourists, who try to misguide them and we are booking a lot of these people under the Tourism Trade Act.â The SP said that police are keeping a close watch on touts, malpractices and illegal vendors who are harassing tourists. âThe action is much more than it was in the previous years,â he said on the sidelines of a cycling expedition. Saxena, who also heads the crime branch, said that sleuths are also keeping a close watch on foreigners who are overstaying and who are linked to the drug trade. âWe have also carried out a full foreigner survey to see who are staying here illegally. We are trying to identify them and we are trying to take action against them,â he said. In 2019, police seized drugs worth Rs 10 crore and several foreigners were booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act for drug possession. Police are keeping a close watch on those who were booked earlier as well as their associates. Saxena said that the police force wants to âstrike hard against drugs and nip it in the budâ to ensure a safe tourism season. âWe expect to see a safe tourist season for everyone. Not only the local police station staff, but tourist police are also deployed and they have recently been trained in soft skills. They are deployed not only to assist the tourists but also to take complaints from them and they are going to be a force multiplier,â the SP said.
Panaji: Goa is participating in the 40th edition of the India International Trade Fair (IITF), where it hopes to highlight the tourist state as a promising destination for tourism as well as private investments. Organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) at Pragati Maidan in the national capital, IITF is one of the most awaited trade fairs in the South-Asian region. Goa is being represented by the department of information and publicity (DIP), Goa Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board (Goa-IPB), Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) and the department of tourism along with several other departments. âApart from the day-to-day activities, there will be cultural performances by the Goan folk artists depicting the rich cultural traditions and sale of Goan handicrafts and artifacts by the artisans. Besides the rich cultural heritage, Goaâs hospitality sector will be projected and efforts will made to promote Goa as an international tourist destination and attract investment to boost industrial growth and tourism activity in Goa in a big way,â the government said in a statement. The trade fair could not be held last year due to the pandemic. The government said that the Goa pavilion has been aesthetically designed to depict Goan architecture and the achievements of the state government.
Panaji: At Sunday Mass, parishioners of sleepy Gandaulim village arrived at the 16th century St Braz Church with a mindfulness of their rich past. The presence of Croatian visitors was just the trigger. It took them centuries back to the time when travellers from the country left behind their footprints in this tiny village. Croatians, according to records, had built the beautiful church on the scenic hillock on the banks of Cumbharjua canal, about five kilometres east of Old Goa A three-member team from HRT Croatian Radiotelevision was at the historic church at the invitation of Goa tourism, filming a documentary on the erstwhile relationship between the European nation and Goa. A Croatian indologist Zdravka Matisic had found the reference to her countryâs Goa links while studying Sanskrit in India. Fr Walter DâSouza, one of the three concelebrants at the Mass, while delivering the homily, reminded the parishioners about how Croatians had planted the seed and how they grew in faith. The chapel dedicated to St Blaise â Sao Braz in Portuguese â was built in 1541 and elevated to church status in 1563, said parish priest Fr Albino Mendonca. He was a concelebrant at the Mass with Fr Joaquim Loiola Pereira, secretary to the archbishop. The Sao Braz Church is a smaller version of Sveti Vlaho Church in Dubrovnik, Croatia. âWe have shown the team a few things. The church bell, statue of St Braz and other antiquities that are part of our rich history,â Mendonca said. While the crew flitted about and cameras zoomed in on the Sunday celebrations and the parishioners, they tried to keep themselves rooted to the present. âThe villagers are happy and thrilled to see the Croatians. A few years ago, they had collected donations in Dubrovnik church that helped our church restoration work,â villager Braz Silveira said. For the visitors, the trip will be a memorable one. âIt is a learning experience for me and my colleagues about our countryâs rich past,â Croatian journalist Dragan Nikolic said.
AMRESH PARAB | NTPanaji: Goa has a 105 km-coastline and many popular beaches and tourist hangouts. But do you know that there are just 100 tourist cops to patrol beaches and ensure the safety and security of lakhs of visitors who arrive in the state annually?Of the 100 personnel, 75 are deployed in North Goa and the rest in South Goa. The lakhs of tourists who come annually visit the beaches at least once during their stay; sadly, the number of tourist police personnel necessary to keep them safe is not enough, rued senior police officers.“There is a need for a fully functional tourist police unit in the state. A proper plan is required for establishing a tourist police unit, which will provide assistance to the tourists and also the local police,” said a senior police officer.Another officer, on condition of anonymity, said a professional unit is needed, and the personnel assigned to it should be trained in different Indian languages as well as some foreign ones.“It’s the need of the hour,” the officer reckoned.A roadmap has to be prepared, which looks ahead at least 20 years.“A dedicated tourist police unit will be very beneficial in boosting the state’s image in terms for safety and security of tourists,” said the officer.On September 27, World Tourism Day, the state government inaugurated a tourist police assistance booth in Candolim.A police officer said the personnel had undergone a two-day soft skill training programme at the Institute of Hotel Management, Porvorim.According to sources, the 100 personnel deployed at present to help tourists have been sourced from the India Reserve Battalion of the Goa police. They have been deployed along popular beaches having high footfalls – from Pernem in North Goa to Canacona in South Goa.Apart from ensuring safety and security of tourists, these personnel have handed over to the concerned police stations persons found indulging in unauthorised activities like tattooing and providing massage and hawking different wares on the beaches.Touts, jewellery sellers, those found drinking alcohol on beaches, and those found smoking and spitting have also been handed over to the concerned police stations.
NT NETWORKPanajiThe BJP is contemplating holding a Bhandari Samaj ‘melava’, or mini convention of community members soon, in light of attempts by its political rivals to capitalise on the numerical strength of the community in Goa.The announcement by the All Goa Bhandari Samaj (AGBS) that it will support a political party that will make a member of the community the chief minister, and the Aam Aadmi Party’s declaration on the same has made the local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party jittery. The think tank of the state BJP unit, it is learnt from confidential party sources, is discussing possible ways to counter the AAP assurance.“The BJP may not be able to give such an assurance to the Bhandari community as its strategy speaks about taking along not only all the Hindu communities in Goa, but also members of other religions,” the sources said, adding that the party, however, could promise “some special welfare schemes” for the community if it returned to power.Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik, one of the tallest leaders of the Bhandari community, reacting to the AAP assurance, had said that the party led by Arvind Kejriwal should first get its candidates elected as MLAs in Goa, and only then speak about having a chief minister belonging to the Bhandari Samaj.Ravi Naik, the other important leader of the Bhandari community and presently a Congress MLA, has already been “disowned” by the party for hobnobbing with the BJP.“We have stopped counting Ravi Naik as a Congress MLA,” state Congress president, Girish Chodankar had said.The BJP, with both Shripad and Ravi on its side, could wield a major influence on the Bhandari community members.Some factions within the All Goa Bhandari Samaj are supporting the BJP, irrespective of whether the party makes a Bhandari community member the chief minister or not.Incidentally, the head of the influential Kundaim Math, Brahmanand Swami, has a hold over the Bhandari community and could play an important role in the developing scenario.BJP sources said, “Everyone knows that the AAP would not be able to gather enough MLAs for forming a government in Goa. Hence, fulfilling its assurance is just out of the question.”
Panaji: The state government has notified the Goa Startup Policy 2021, while also reassuring existing startups that all incentive applications under the Startup Policy 2017 submitted by September 30 will continue to be processed and disbursed. The revamped startup policy, which has been in the works since early 2020, aims to have at least 500 startups in Goa over the next three years and provide employment to at least 6,000 Goans. Interestingly, rather than pursue the creation of new startups in Goa, the department of information and technology hopes to convince existing startups and entrepreneurs from other parts of the country to shift their operations to Goa. “All startups registered under the Startup Policy 2017 shall continue to be registered under the Startup Policy 2021. All incentive applications submitted on or before September 30 shall be processed,” said director of information and technology Ankita Anand. She also said that all registered startups will be allowed to operate round the clock. “An intimation from the startup promotion cell (SPC) will be issued to the panchayats and local bodies intimating them on the startups certified to operate 24x7,” Anand said. The new policy hopes that the state’s cosmopolitan culture, quality manpower, clean environment and qualify of life will convince entrepreneurs to make it their base. “It is towards this objective that this new Goa Startup Policy has been drafted. While the government is committed to promoting entrepreneurs from Goa and generating employment for Goans, it is equally committed to inviting the best entrepreneurial talent, the brightest innovative minds, and startup ecosystem enablers like incubators, accelerators and investors from outside Goa in order to build a robust startup ecosystem within the state,” the IT director said. The state is also offering exemptions beyond the scope of the policy on a case-to-case basis for startups operating in the domains of smart cities, urban management, mining, tourism and hospitality, gaming, waste management, renewable energy, education, healthcare, communication, and entertainment. The earlier startup policy lapsed in 2020 and was extended two times for six months each till September 30. Stakeholders and beneficiaries of the policy incentives have urged the department to implement the Goa Startup Policy 2021 in a time-bound manner with clear guidelines and clarity on the rollout of the incentives.
Panaji: The Shack Owners Welfare Society (SOWS) has sought the intervention of chief minister Pramod Sawant to deter Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) from interfering with shack allottees at the Baina and Arossim beaches in South Goa. The plea comes after two allottees at Baina beach were allegedly stopped by MPT officials earlier this week over claims that the beach stretch where the shacks were allotted lay in its jurisdiction. “We have informed both the chief minister and the tourism minister about this issue. The CM should talk directly to the MPT. If not stopped, I’m afraid it will allot the space to people from outside Goa,” SOWS president Cruz Cardozo told TOI. “It is unfortunate that the shack operators have lost over a month after having endured two bad seasons due to the MPT’s objections.” He explained that shack operators have been setting up their structures at the two beaches for years and that the MPT has no rights there. Allottees at Baina had faced similar problems during the last season too, with MPT raising objections, he recalled, following which the issue was sorted with government intervention. Shacks are allotted by the tourism department along all beach stretches after assessing the post-monsoon condition of each beach. The exercise has been conducted every season for over three decades now. Two shacks are allotted for Baina beach and four for Arossim. While the allottees at Arossim have erected their structures despite objections, those at Baina are yet to set up. The SOWS, Cardozo said, has written to the tourism department apprising it of the issue. “We were informed by the tourism director that the department has written to the MPT instructing it not to interfere,” he said.
Vasco: Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) has no problem with shacks being erected at Baina beach and nearby beaches, but shack operators need to obtain the requisite permission from the port authorities and pay the stipulated fees first, said MPT deputy chairman Guru Prasad Rai on Thursday. Rai said that MPT wants to encourage tourism in the state and is willing to co-operate with Goa Tourism and Development Corporation in the shack allotment process. MPT is facing a backlash after it stopped the erection of two shacks at Baina beach citing lack of permission issues. âAnything that is to be established in port waters and port jurisdiction, needs to take permission from the port. In future also, whenever the state government is allotting permission for shacks, we will go and check the feasiblity and give permission,â said Rai. Raiâs statement is in consonance with the Major Port Authorities Act, 2021 which supersedes Goaâs planning laws. Deputy chief minister and town and country planning minister Chandrakant Kavlekar had admitted in the state legislative assembly that Goa would lose revenue ideally owed to the state for the development that is undertaken in certain zones. âThe likely implications include redundancy of Goa Town & Country Planning Act, 2021 and the Regional Plan or outline development plans, Goa Municipalities Act, Goa Panchayat Raj Act, Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations, 2010 and Goa Land Revenue Code,â Kavlekar had said in February. Kavlekar said that areas in the periphery of Mormugao Port Trust could come under the âownershipâ of MPT, while local powers of the state, including the power to allot shacks in MPTs jurisdiction, would be lost. Chief minister Pramod Sawant had written to the Union ports minister on June 17 conveying Goaâs concerns regarding the Major Ports Authorities Act, 2021, but the Centre brushed aside Goaâs apprehensions. Urban development minister and Mormugao MLA Milind Naik said that there is a misunderstanding, and that he has spoken to the state government to clear the matter with MPT.
Margao: Complaints by the local panchayat have brought to the fore the problem of illegal hawkers, photographers and tattoo artists on Colva and similarly on other beaches.In response, the tourism department has written to the Colva police urging them to have police presence along the beach stretch so that illegalities are curbed.Earlier last month, the village panchayat of Colva, Gandaulim, Vanelim and Sernabatim had submitted a complaint to the tourism department informing of illegal activities by hawkers, photographers and tattoo artists and seeking action against them.Responding to the complaint, assistant director of tourism (South) Rodlin Mascarenhas made a letter to the Colva police station requesting for action against the illegal activities.“The sarpanch of the panchayat of Colva and Gandaulim, Vanelim, Sernabatim informed of illegal activities being carried out by hawkers at Colva beach stretch. In this context, it is kindly requested to deploy IRB police personnel (male and female) on all the beach stretches of South Goa to keep a strict vigil on the illegalities happening along the beach stretch,” said Mascarenhas in the letter.Speaking about the issue, panch member Anthony Fernandes said illegal activities have mushroomed since the start of the tourist season and are increasing daily. “There are many hawkers who can be seen on the beach. In addition, now we can also see many photographers and tattoo artists who are roaming on the beach and pestering the tourists. We have informed the police, but they have said they are not adequately staffed to increase the patrolling,” he said.Hawkers, mostly selling jewellery, have also been spotted on Benaulim beach in recent times. It is a common sight during the tourism season along the beaches in the state and usually picks up during the peak months of November, December and January.
Colva: Assistant director of tourism (South) Rodlin Mascarenhas has written to the Colva police inspector to deploy Indian Reserve Batallion personnel on the beach stretch within his jurisdiction to maintain strict vigil on illegal activities being carried out by hawkers. Colva sarpanch Johnson Coelho informed that in October, he wrote to the tourism official about “the nuisance being created for tourists by hawkers” and urged him to initiate action. “Massages, tattoos, bracelets, tricklets, beach wear, wrap around towels, photography, etc, are all being carried out migrants on commercial basis on the beaches,” said the sarpanch. Colva police inspector Tukaram Chavan said police are already present on the beach stretch in his jurisdiction, and added that he will now seek directions from his superiors on how to go about tackling the hawker nuisance. Despite being prevalent on the beach stretches for decades, authorities have failed to tackle the hawkers. Even tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar had said that there would be a crack down on anyone who creates nuisance to tourists on the beaches. In 2019, Benaulim villagers had adopted a resolution to stop hawking on the beach stretch. They had decided to form committees of villagers to rid their beach of hawkers. The committees worked for some days, after which the hawkers were back in action. Police constables who patrol the beach disclose that if they stop the hawkers at one spot, they quickly move to another place. “We do not have much personnel to continuously patrol the entire beach stretch in the Colva police jurisdictio,” said one policeman.
Panaji: A day after exuding confidence that Congress’ Sudhir Kandolkar would win the Mapusa seat in the 2022 polls, minister for waste management Michael Lobo, on Wednesday hit out at Mapusa Municipal Council (MMC) for failing to resolve the issue of garbage dumping within its jurisdiction. MMC is controlled by BJP supporters. Lobo said that a fine of Rs five to 10 lakh should be imposed on the council and that its officials should get the stick from the court for neglecting their duties. “Today if you go around the Mapusa municipality area, you will spot garbage dumped 24x7. They are not serious on this issue. The municipality should be fined Rs five to 10 lakh to get them to act. Someone will have to go to court and say that they are not doing any work. The chairperson, vice-chairperson and councillors should ‘get the stick’ for not doing any work,” said Lobo. He said any municipality which claims to be treating its own waste is bluffing. “If anyone is saying they are treating waste in their municipality, it is not true. They bring machines, inaugurate them and then the machines are lying unused. We have seen such machines for ourselves,” the minister said. He also hit out at the tourism ministry for interfering in collection of waste from the beaches. “Tourism department has given a contract to someone to collect waste and they are ultimately bringing the waste to our Saligao waste treatment plant itself for processing. Tourism department made the dramatic announcement that they will do beach cleaning. Not a single officer of the department has gone on the beaches to check because they are not interested, they have forcibly interfered in it. The minister has to be dedicated. Since we have a waste management ministry, all waste should come under us. This will change in 2022,” said the ports miniter . Lobo said that many panchayats are also still not serious about segregating their waste. “If we had not set up this plant, what would be the fate of these panchayats? They would be only filing affidavits in the court in the ongoing case and even some sarpanchs would be disqualified for dereliction of duty under the Panchayati Raj Act. Some are only collecting 30% of the wet waste. They are not collecting 100% segregated waste. In some panchayats, they are dumping waste by roadsides,” said the minister.
NT NETWORKSaligaoStating that in spite of having a modern garbage treatment plant at Saligao in the North, some panchayats are collecting only 30 to 40 per cent of wet waste generated in their jurisdiction, Minister for Waste Management Michael Lobo has warned that such panchayats will be heavily fined in the near future by the Goa State Pollution Control Board if one clicks and sends a photo of waste dumped.Lobo was speaking to media persons at the Saligao garbage treatment plant when he held a review meeting of the enhancement of solid waste management facilities at Saligao which will be enhanced from 100 tonne to 250 tonne for which new machinery has been installed at an estimated cost of Rs 103 crore and a trial run will commence from next month.Meanwhile, general manager of the waste management plant Sandeep Chodankar said that the plant has been built considering the weather conditions and experts’ views and such plants in other states, adding, “Now many other states are trying to copy this plant. The wet garbage water that is generated is used for plants in our area.”
Panaji: The work of expanding the 100-tonne Saligao waste treatment plant to a capacity of 250 tonnes is nearing completion, and trial runs on the Rs 103 crore facility will begin next month. Once the plant is fully operational from early next year, panchayats and municipalities in North Goa who do not segregate waste and bring it to the plant â and are seen having waste dumped in their jurisdictions â will be fined up to Rs 2 lakh, waste management minister Michael Lobo said on Wednesday. He said that the Goa state pollution control board will be asked to strictly monitor and fine the non-compliant panchayats. Lobo said that once the new facility, along with the South Goa plant, is operational, Goa will be able to move in the direction of banning littering. The plant has used improvised technology and its tipping floor will be underground, which will ensure there is zero stench coming from the facility, said Lobo. âThe facility now has two conveyor belts, one for dry waste and the second for wet waste. It means if panchayats send us segregated waste, it can go directly for treatment,â he said. âThe plant now also has an effluent treatment plant within the same complex, where the effluents can be treated without being sent outside for treatment. The plant has been completed in record time, with the work having been completed within one year and three months, despite the Covid pandemic and shortage of labour,â said Lobo. Lobo said that panchayats that have good revenue earnings but are using garbage trucks without a leachate tank will also be fined soon, while panchayats with poor income will be assisted through Nabard by the government to replace garbage trucks with those with leachate tanks. The minister said that the Saligao waste treatment plant will also refuse to accept waste brought by trucks without an attached leachate tank. He said that the measures will ensure that Goa becomes a state free of garbage dumping by the road sides, which will be a boost to the tourism industry. Lobo said that his ministry is also working out a subsidy for hospitals to encourage them further to turn in their biomedical waste for treatment. âGoa will soon become a state compliant in all respects as a construction waste and debris plant is coming up in Bicholim. An e-waste treatment plant is also coming up,â said Lobo. Sandip Prabhu Chodnekar of the Goa Infrastructure Development Corporation said that the plant has not copied any other model, and has been made by adopting technology that is suitable to the local environment, in consultation with experts from IIT, BITS-Pilani and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. âAt present, we are getting 180 tonnes of waste at the Saligao plant daily, and we are working in three shifts to process the waste. Once the 250-tonne capacity plant is operational, we will complete processing the waste in one and a half shift,â said Lobo. ------------------------
Vasco: The Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) stopped the erection of two shacks at Baina beach citing permission issues. The port officials visited the site at Baina and asked the operators to first seek permissions from MPT. Shack owners Kalidas Phadte said he and one more person have the requisite permission from the tourism department. As there were some issues with the Mormugao Municipal Council, they had approached the court and won the case. When they started erecting the shacks, MPT personnel told them that they cannot carry on with work without taking their permission and paying certain fees. “MPT has started harassing shack owners at South Goa beaches. This cannot be tolerated,” founder member of Goencho Ekvott, Orville Dourado said. President of the Goa Shack Owners Welfare Society, Cruz Cardozo has warned that shack owners will oppose MPT’s decision tooth and nail. He said that MPT cannot dictate terms as permission has been granted by the tourism department and the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority. A couple of days ago, Arossim shackowners also questioned MPT officials on the issue.
Panaji: For yet another day, traffic snarls at the Merces junction and along the Siridao-Agassaim stretch saw bumper to bumper traffic. Goa police blamed ongoing highway works and the closure of the Ribandar causeway for the congestion, which has become a daily occurrence. In view of the massive traffic congestion witnessed in Panaji on Monday, Goa police roped in additional personnel from various traffic cells and deployed them at the entrance of the city to streamline vehicular movement and ensure smooth flow of traffic. Director general of police (DGP) Mukesh Kumar Meena also held a meeting with various authorities and officials to find ways to ease the traffic congestion. On Tuesday, traffic was seen backed up on Atal Setu and near the Merces junction. A similar logjam at Siridao brought all vehicles heading to Vasco and Margao to a grinding halt. Traffic was diverted through Goa Velha since the bypass was closed for south-bound traffic. Meena said that due to the closure of the Ribandar causeway, all vehicles have been diverted on one road, and also many choke points have developed owing to maintenance works. “We have deployed additional manpower. We have also asked the authorities to repair the roads as early as possible,” Meena said. He also said that the police department has issued instructions to identify vulnerable points and deploy additional staff at night time wherever there is a high volume of vehicles and traffic congestion. “Travelling on Goan roads has become a nightmare not just due to potholes, but also traffic mismanagement,” said a disgruntled motorist, Harshal Naik. Several ambulances were seen stuck in the traffic jams, which also inconvenienced office-goers, tourists and those rushing to catch flights. With domestic tourism in full flow, vehicles parked outside the off-shore casinos in the state capital also create a nuisance and a bottleneck. Meena said that he has also asked police stations to identify at least one or two places where round the clock personnel can be deployed to avoid untoward incidents during the tourism season. “We have provided new vehicles to the police control room, and these are being used for patrolling,” he said. The DGP said that while there is no rise in theft cases in the state, the detection rate of such cases is satisfactory.
Potters Fest Goa is all set to begin on November 12 at The Patio, Arpora. NT BUZZ detailsCHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZWith the aim of bringing the potter community from across the country together and give them an opportunity to further learn and polish their skills, the Potters Fest Goa, an annual national potters event is all set to begin its first edition from November 12 to 14 at The Patio, Arpora.The brainchild of Bipasha Sen Gupta, the fest which is supported by Goa Tourism is being held in association with Bhoomi Pottery.“As a potter myself, I have been attending these kinds of fests for long. It is a place where the community gets to meet in harmony and brotherhood. We all keep in touch on Facebook. But this is a platform where we get to meet in person, show our work, discuss techniques and make some money. We can also meet local potters of the region and learn about how they work,” says Gupta, adding that the aim of the festival is also to bring Goa on the national map of pottery.The festival will see potters from the whole country – Mumbai, Delhi, Bhopal, Indore, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Puducherry, Agra, and Pune.“The diversity of India reflects in the work of the potters. Some of them use terracotta which is defined by the region they live in. We will see hand built and wheel techniques using different kinds of clay, glazes, and firing, from large functional ware to tableware to sculptures to contemporary pottery, miniatures and even jewellery,” shares Gupta, adding that guests will be able to dabble in clay and listen to talks anddemonstrations.She further states that an increasing number of people are getting into pottery these days despite it being an expensive process. “There is also an equal amount of financial returns here and potters can make both contemporary art based work as well as functional pottery and tableware which is much in demand as people are now aware of not using plastic in their daily use,” she states. “Teaching pottery after you are a certified ceramist is also paying, plus it helps you move towards mindful living which is the call for the day.”Gupta herself was a visual artist before she turned her attention to pottery. “The three-dimensional aspect and the magic of fire has always attracted me so it was just moving from one medium to another. I joined the Delhi blue pottery course for three years and then, of course, the sky was the limit,” she says. “I am still on the path of discovering. It’s a bottomless ocean out there and a life too short.”Gupta is looking at making this an annual event and hopes to make it one of the most sought-after festivala in the country. “I also hope that through this festival I am able to help the community artistically and financially. In time we will get in more workshops and demonstrations to enhance their art which in turn will bring out the quality of products,” she says. “I believe it will also be a great platform for the Goan potters to gain exposure.”
PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said on Monday that he raised the issue of violence against women in West Bengal at the BJP national executive meeting. He said that even though Bengalâs CM was a woman, there was violence against women there. âI criticised the violence against women in West Bengal. I condemned the act of TMC with regards to rape of women in West Bengal,â he said. He also said that West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee should first understand the meaning of democracy and then go to other states. Sawant said that everyone can come to Goa, but that there should be no anarchy Sawant said that he welcomes political tourism in the state, and that it would gain momentum by February. Sawant said that he twice got the opportunity to speak at the national executive â first, at the time of passing of the political resolution introduced by Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, and second, on the preparation for the Goa assembly elections. Sawant said that a resolution was also passed that the violence against women in West Bengal should not take place in other states.
PANAJI: Months after chief minister Pramod Sawant came for sharp criticism for his insensitive remarks on gangrape of minor girls at a South Goa beach, he said on Monday that the state government would soon take more steps towards ensuring womenâs safety and security in the state. Sawant, who had earlier dismissed issues of rising crime against women, indirectly admitted the state needs to do more. âWe will take more steps towards the safety and security of women in the coming days,â he said at the inaugural function of the National Womenâs Parliament, organised by the legislature secretariat and the state government. While he said he feels upset when crimes are committed against women in the state, the chief minister maintained that Goa leads all other states where crime detection is concerned. âGoa has a crime detection rate of 93%. One canât compare this with other states,â he said. A few months ago, Sawant had told the state assembly after the gangrape of minors that teens, particularly minors, should not be âspending the nights on beachesâ. âWhen 14 year olds stay on the beach the whole night, the parents need to introspect. Just because children donât listen, we cannot put the responsibility on the government and police,â he had tried to justify. Sawant said resolutions passed at the National Womenâs Parliament would be sent to the Goa assembly and to Parliament, too. Highlighting Goaâs achievements, Sawant said the state has accorded 33% reservation for women at the panchayat and zilla panchayat levels, enabling many to become public representatives. He also said Goa is steadily becoming self-reliant, a goal that will be achieved in this, the 60th year of its Liberation. The National Womenâs Parliament, he said, has been organised to encourage women in the avenues of business, career, employment, and leadership. He also said that people from all sectors should visit the venue and participate in debates and discussions involving central and state government schemes, and problems faced by women, among other topics. Lauding women for working in all sectors, Union minister for state Shripad Naik exhorted them to come out in large numbers and take the country forward. Benaulim NCP MLA Churchill Alemao, who was also present at the event, urged the chief minister to protect the communal harmony of the state. The National Womenâs Parliament comprises participants from Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The first day saw sessions on socio-political challenges in women empowerment, womenâs status and decision-making power, and women in corporate life.
Panaji: Expressing concern over the rising crimes against women, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Monday said the state government will take more steps for the safety of women in Goa in the near future.Speaking at the inaugural function of the National Women’s Parliament at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium at Taleigao Plateau, Sawant said he feels grief, as crimes against women have been increasing in the state.The two-day event has been organised by Goa legislative assembly in coordination with the state government and MIT School of Government, Pune.“It is a matter of concern when crimes against women are increasing. However, it is also important to note that the detection rate with regard to crime cases in Goa is very high. Goa is on top in the country in detecting crimes with 93 per cent detection,” he said.Highlighting various initiatives and schemes, the Chief Minister said the state government has been supporting women to take up self-employment so that they are self-reliant. “Under Swayampurna Goa initiative, the government is working with ten-point programmes, especially focussing on women empowerment. The state government has also launched the website ‘know your schemes’ so that people can take benefits of various schemes,” he said.Sawant said efforts of the government to make Goa self-reliant can be successful in the near future if women support the Swayampurna Goa initiative and avail benefit under various schemes.Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Tourism Shripad Naik appealed to the women to pursue their passion and hobbies to become self-reliant.Minister for Arts and Culture Govind Gaude said India can become a superpower in the world if women are empowered with all facilities.Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Churchill Alemao said when we celebrate democracy through a women’s parliament, all should keep aside political differences. He appealed to the government to take measures for maintaining unity among the Goan people.Former minister Nirmala Sawant, executive director of MIT School of Government Rahul Karad and Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha also spoke on the occasion. Speaker of the state legislative assembly Rajesh Patnekar welcomed the dignitaries.
‘Evolution Over Time’ a painting exhibition that is currently on view celebrates 27 years of India’s longest laterite sculpture at Ancestral Goa, Loutolim. NT BUZZ gets detailsANNA FERNANDES | NT BUZZBack in 1994, a 14-by-5-metre sculpture of Sant Meerabai, carved in 30 days by Maendra Alvares, was unveiled at Ancestral Goa, Loutolim. The laterite sculpture – the longest in India – soon garnered global attention including a spot in the Limca Book of Records that put Goa on theart world map.Today, Ancestral Goa celebrates 27 years of the laterite sculpture with an exhibition that documents each year and milestone of the sculpture through 27 paintings.The exhibition titled ‘Evolution Over Time’ however not only marks the journey of the laterite sculpture over the years but also Alvares’ journey to recovery after suffering a stroke in late July, this year.“While I was in bed, I kept thinking about doing something. But I couldn’t move because my left side was paralysed and my right side wasn’t very steady,” he says and adds that as soon as he managed to get up, he decided to start painting. “It took time and willpower. I had to start from zero because my hand was still shaky,” he says, adding that it gradually improved and soon he had27 paintings ready.In the paintings, Alvares depicts the eternal devotee of Lord Krishna, Meerabai in several shapes that represent power, love, faith, perseverance, and bravery. Each painting is arranged chronologically according to shade, which goes from orange to black signifying how the sculpture has aged and changed in colour over time. They are hung from the ceiling which is brightly decorated using coloured paper. Further, each painting embodies an achievement that the sculpture has garnered over the course of its 27-year history. These include The Vincent Verodiano Award, The Lokmat Gaurav Puraskar (Tourism), Dalgado Puraskar, State Cultural Award, special cover, Goa’s first pictorial cancellation stamp, apart from being recognised in the Limca and other books of records.“The exhibition represents hope,” says Alvares and adds that it is proof that with rock-solid determination, one can achieve anything. “The doctors told me that it would take me six months to walk. But it’s been three months now, and I have started limping and walking,” he says with a smile.And before he makes his way to a physiotherapy session, Alvares adds that through the exhibition, he hopes that viewers will gain insights into Meerabai’s various facets including her unbreakable faith, steadfast drive, and unwavering strength – each of which is reflected in the making of the exhibition. “I am partly better now and I am happy with my progress and what we have achieved so far,” he says.(‘Evolution over Time’ will run till November 10, between 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.at Ancestral Goa, Loutolim.)