Vasco: Mormugao MLA Sankalp Amonkar on Wednesday highlighted “revenge politics” in the constituency alleging that selective transfer of government employees, registering of cases against innocent people, and stop work orders for under construction houses was being carried out. Amonkar said that it was unfortunate that the altercation between two families during Holi was politicised. “So many cases were registered against innocent people over this,” he said. Stating that, in Mormugao taluka, several houses are standing on government land, Amonkar said that where so many are building and repairing houses, only a selective few people are being targeted. He said, transferring government staff has started. with “75% of the transfers being from Mormugao”.
Vasco: Mormugao police on Monday filed a chargesheet before judicial magistrate first class, Vasco against 20 persons from Headland Sada in the recent assault case. Anticipatory bail has been granted by the court to four persons who were accused of assaaulting a person from Sada on the day of Holi celebrations. Mormugao police inspector Ajit Umarye said that the chargesheet has been filed against Suraj alias Balan Chodankar, Amit Palkar, Rohit Kasalkar, Abhijeet Palkar, Satish Mesta, Nitin Kholkar and other accused. Police said that the complainant, Somnath alias Yogesh Bandekar, was with his friends at Sada when a group of people abused, assaulted and threatened them. Mormugao police have registered this case under Sections 143, 147, 341, 504, 506(2), 532 read with Section 49 of the Indian Penal Code.
With caronavirus induced lockdowns and restorations have been affecting tourism related activities in the state over the last two years, the 'tourist season' in the state has been rather short with barely any international tourists visiting and domestic tourists visiting for shorter trips, especially on long weekends. While the Christmas and New Year week saw a huge spike in tourists, the omicron scare the following week discouraged tourists from coming in. There was another dip in tourist footfalls after the code of conduct due to elections and restrictions on opening timings and sale of alcohol further. However, the long Holi weekend saw tourists flock to the state. Stakeholders talk about how there are fewer visitors on weekdays, and there's a spike over the weekend. Several restaurateurs from the tourist belt claim that they are seeing a higher footfall over the weekend, as compared to weekdays. "Restaurants are doing well currently. Holi weekend was great. Now with the news of the new strain and rumours about lockdowns and travel restrictions, people are living by the day, and heading to Goa for the weekends or for short trips, which is helping businesses here. But if there's another night curfew or restrictions, things will come to a standstill again," says Sandeep Sreedharan from Mahe and Elaa Cafe in Anjuna. Joshua Proenca, from Pousada by the Beach in Calangute The timing of omicron also coincided with the code of conduct, and there were not much tourists coming to Goa. Even the crowd who was here couldn't go out, which discouraged tourists from visiting. Post elections, business has been good. People aren't scared to come to Goa, because a lot of people who have already tested positive before have realised we just have to live with the virus being around. Goa is become a weekend destination and business is booming during the weekend. Goa has been getting a lot of high profile guests post the lockdown, and people's choice in alcohol has got better, and there's a crazy demand for good quality brands."
It hasn't been a great tourist season for shacks, for yet another year. While a lot of shacks in Goa rely on charters and international crowd, the ones that have opened are sailing past with weekend domestic travellers. Cruz Cardozo from Pearl's Beach Cafe and president of Goa Shack Owners Welfare Society says, "Business has been affected since the pandemic, but the long weekend during Holi saw huge crowds. This month, we have seen good crowd during the weekends, since we see a lot of domestic tourists visit Goa for shorter trips. The season hasn't been great, but we are getting past. Some shacks have already started shutting for the season."
After a slump due to Omicron, hotels in Goa are seeing a spike in bookings over the weekends. "After Holi, the event and wedding season has commenced. The occupancy levels at hotels goes up to 70-80% on weekends, which is quite positive for Goa, as of now, with domestic tourists," says Nilesh Shah, president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa. He also mentioned that it was a very short charter season this year too. While the first charter arrived in mid-December, the Ukraine war has impacted charters. "The Russian and Ukrainian charters which form a major chunk of charters that come to the state have suspended charters due to the Ukraine war. They may commence it again. But charter season ends up early-April. The demand for charters look very encouraging and there's demand, " says Nilesh.
Panaji Gujarati Samaj celebrates Holi, the festival of colours since many years as a private function with Samaj but there was a gap of three years. Previous day of Dhuleti Holika Dahan is performed at Mahalaxmi Temple, Panaji, as a part of wisdom. The managing committee of Panaji Gujarati Samaj unanimously decided to celebrate the festival of colours with eco-friendly organic colour at Swim Sea Beach Resort, followed by lunch and other entertainment for Samaj members
Organic colours, local as well as national artiste lineup, summer drinks and more – party planners went all out while organising Holi events this year. A lot of the party planners foccused on using only organic colours to ensure safety for their guests and also the environment. "We wanted people to enjoy, and be safe at the same time, and also not destroy nature while we celebrate. It's a festival of colours and we wanted to spread some joy after the dark times we've been through. We had urrack, which is the flavour of the season, and had a lot of food for guests. Usually we would host a private party (only on invites), but this time we kept it open to public also (they could pay and get in)," says Kenneth Rebello, from a nightclub in North Goa. Kushal Dabolkar who hosted a Holi party adds, "We didn't allow people to carry any colours, and focussed on only using organic colours." Fred D'souza who was helping plan an event adds, "We had deals on summer drinks because of the beat wave. We had a neon party indoors, and played with colours outdoors."
Event planners had interesting artiste lineup which included some of the big local names, along with a few national artistes, to keep the crowd grooving all day at Holi parties this year. "Our goal was to get local crowd to get together and party. We focussed on local artistes at our home grown party. We are promoting our own talents, along with a few artistes from other parts of the state," says Kushal Dabolkar, who hosted Colorland Holi Party that has Akhil Tapreja, Kunwarr, Kashish and other performing, along with Goan DJs like Benz, Reonn and more. Fred D'souza who was a part of hosting Rang De Goa x Holika says, "We decided to go grand. Instead of doing tourist-centric event, we did a local event. We booked all the Goan DJs, Goan promoters. We have tied up with local promorters. Because of the heat wave, we have indoor and outdoor party." They have popular Goan DJs like Macattack, Brainwash, Navin, Ryan Nogar and others.
Organic colours, local as well as national artiste lineup, summer drinks and more – event organisers planned a weekend of celebrations after the COVID slump. Party planners hosted a gala Holi bash after a long gap in the form of day parties. Arif Shaikh who is hosting the sixth edition of Colorholic on March 18 says, "We couldn't host the event last year due to COVID, but we were excited to party this year. Our target crowd was youth, and we put out posters at all Panaji colleges, to get them to party with us. We had a proper rain dance, live music, DJs and organic colours."
After a gap of over two and a half months, Goans and tourists alike got together to party this Holi. The long weekend saw tourists flocking to Goa in large numbers, and with that party planners stepped in to host large scale parties at several event venues across Goa. Not just Goan artistes, but the crowd could witness performances by national and international artistes too. The rain dance and pool parties were a perfect way to beat the heat, while you chill with friends too. Partying after a long gap got everyone excited. Paayal Purohit who was spotted at a Holi party says, "It was a fun experience as always and fun to party now after the whole COVID episode! My friends and me had a great time." Likewise, artistes were ecstatic to play for a large crowd once again. DJ Benson Coutinho aka Benz who was playing at a Holi event says, "The vibe at the Holi party was next level. I opened the set for Kshmr. There were more than 20k people.. people who we missed the last two years. Holi parties bring together people in thousands, and it was refreshing after two years of COVID slump." Though thousands of people stepped out to party, some still had the COVID fear. Prita Pereira who was partying with her friends says, "Going back to partying again after a long time was very blissful experience, especially for working professionals like us. It was a great way to unwind and friends after such a long time. The COVID fear was still slightly on our mind, but it was just a good time being around our friends."
The varied traditions of Shigmo-related festivities in different villages in Goa have commenced, getting Goans excited for Holi and Shigmo. One gets to witness folk songs and dances, the beats of the dhol, rituals involving fire, trees and other elements of nature and more. It becomes extravagant showcase of Goa's cultural heritage over a few weeks. In Rivona, devotees get together for the Shri Vighneshwar Ravalnath Mell, where in they recite naman (folksongs sung by the village elders). Over the days there are several rituals that take place, that culminates into Holi celebration. The folk dance of Goff is performed the men. Ajay Naik from Rivona tells us, "There are members from five communities who take part in the folk dance. We start with prayers to lord Rama. We seek blessings of the deity and go ahead with the ceremonies. We visit houses of five community members. The traditions as part of the festival are passed down to us by our ancestors, and we follow it annually. The kids starts practicing the folk dances for this a month in advance, to be performed during a procession from house to house."
The varied traditions of Shigmo-related festivities in different villages in Goa have commenced, getting Goans excited for Holi and Shigmo. One gets to witness folk songs and dances, the beats of the dhol, rituals involving fire, trees and other elements of nature and more. It becomes extravagant showcase of Goa's cultural heritage over a few weeks. Similarly, devotees visit their ancestral village of Curdi (the village which usually is submerged underwater due to the construction of the dam) during the full moon night before Holi to take part in a sacred ritual – Sheni Uzo. The same ritual takes place in the village of Molcornem too, where dried cowdung cakes are used to create a fire and the embers are then put on the bodies of devotees. "It's believed to cure diseases and protect the villagers. Those who take part in the ritual maintain a fast and it protects them from the embers," informs a villager.
The mesmerising beats of dhols and tashas – participants decked in traditional attire like the dhoti, jacket, feta (head gear), saris – set the mood for the revellers who came to witness the display of various floats, folk dances and larger-than life effigies portraying various mythological characters at the Shigmoparade at Vasco on March 22 and Ponda on March 19. “I’m watching Shigmo after almost three years and it’s very exciting. Due to the pandemic, everything was restricted and it feels amazing to be able to witness these floats,” says Praveen Naik from Vasco. The foot-tapping beats of the drums and dhols is what keeps everyone grooving. Mohan Naik from Ponda has always been fond of the dhol beats and its rhythm. “I only attend the Shigmo because of the beats. They are so uplifting and it brings in a different kind of energy. I love listening to it.” However there there very few who were spotted following the COVID protocols at the parade.
Nine persons arrested following clashes between two groups at Mormugao during Holi celebrations, were granted bail. Six others against whom offences were registered in the matter also applied for anticipatory bail. TNN
Staff ReporterMargaoBenaulim locals continued to raise their demand for the Western Bypass passing through their village to be built on stilts, with a silent protest at the site on Saturday. Current MLA Venzy Viegas said there was lack of political will in the past that he felt helpless as the work of land filling of fields has begun and they were ready to fight the issue in court.Residents from Benaulim and neighbouring villages gathered at the site where the contractor for the work has begun the process of land filling under police protection. In the past several days, locals along with the MLA forced the panchayat to take a resolution to appoint a lawyer and raise the issue in court again with the hope of getting a stay on the work.However, taking into account the Holi holidays and the weekend, the panchayat was unable to present the people’s demand in the court. With the work of land filling already begun, the worry is that it will be too late next week. Residents gathered in the presence of lawyers to ensure they registered their protest within the ambits of law.“In the past, there was no political will. At the last moment, the panchayat took the resolution but by the time it was taken and given to the lawyer, the Holi holidays came up. By the time we take it to the court now, the fields would have been filled with mud. There are plans to take it to the Supreme Court as well but it will go only after the NGT case. We will have to intervene after that. Right now, the political will has to be first. We would have been in a better position had we gone sooner. I feel helpless to see the gyres and fields being filled up and we can’t do anything even though we have our lawyers with us. We just have to watch. Development in the name of destruction is not required, we respect the judgement of the High Court but the judge must also look at the ground,” said Viegas.The difference, he said in putting the stretch on stilts was an additional `170 crore to the existing cost of `218 crore, adding that it would go a long way in securing the future generations from flooding. Viegas also took to pointing out that fields through which the work is to pass is being cultivated and the crops will be destroyed.Ward member Felicia Noronha meanwhile said the panchayat too had done all it could. “We are not against the bypass and we took two resolutions, one to appoint a lawyer and second to get a stay order. Farmers who are currently cultivating the fields are the ones who are most at risk and they will also have to take their concerns to court. We had taken resolutions before and had met with the PWD minister also,” she said.
Staff ReporterMargaoThe demand for construction of the western bypass on stilts has again come up with Benaulim residents appealing to the newly-elected MLA Venzy Viegas to take up theissue.During a discussion held in Benaulim on Wednesday, Viegas said he would do everything he could, while also urging the panchayat to pass a resolution on the people’s demand.The residents for years have been demanding that the western bypass, passing through their village, be built on stilts to prevent inundation of the low-lyingareas.Earlier this week, following the High Court order to restart the work by putting in place box culverts, contractors had begun the work but locals objected to it.After discussing the issue with the residents and panchayat members, Viegas asked the panchayat to obtain a resolution as soon as possible.“One of our villagers moved the High Court and the NGT, and after a hearing, the HC has ordered to start the work. It would require an estimated additional Rs 400 to Rs 600 crore for construction of the bypass on stilts and it will take two to three more years to complete, so the court had said that box culverts should be installed. However, the box culverts will not be enough, the stilts will have to be there,” said Viegas.He added, “We will try everything on our side, which may include moving to the Supreme Court also. By spending Rs 600 crore, it will save the people’s lives. We will try to speak with the chief minister. The government must also understand that it is about saving people’s lives.”
Panaji: The ripple effects of the Russia-Ukraine war appear to have impacted Holi celebrations in Goa. While the drop in Covid-19 cases may have attracted a crowd of nearly 3,000 people to Azad Maidan for the Gulalutsav celebrations on Friday, Russians and Ukrainians, who would otherwise prominently participate in the festivities, were visibly missing. Organisers have attributed this to the ongoing war in Ukraine, saying that citizens of both countries kept away to maintain solidarity with their countrymen. “Most of the Ukrainians and Russians in Goa stay in Arambol and Mandrem and would travel all the way to Panaji for the festival. But for the first time this year, we saw a Holi celebration without a foreign face. The war has been a major setback for them,” said Shantaram Naik, one of the festival organisers. The cancellation of several international flights has also hit tourist footfalls from these two nations to Goa. “Every year, we used to get a heavy crowd of foreigners, especially from the two countries. With international flights being affected due to the war, this year we did not expect too many foreigners from Ukraine and Russia,” said Keshav Nadkarni, who is also part of the organising committee. There was, however, enthusiastic participation from locals and some domestic tourists. “There’s more enthusiasm for Holi this year since we are celebrating after a gap of two years. People are very happy to participate in the festival, especially since Omicron cases have now lowered. Though the pandemic is still at large, it’s an opportunity for everyone to celebrate together in the face of an uncertain future,” said one of the attendees, Sarvesh Naik.
Panaji: Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate on Friday urged the people of the city to forget all the differences and come together for the development of Panaji constituency and the state. “On the occasion of the festival of colours, wish you all a happy Holi. Today is the day we should start forgetting differences and we all need to come together for the development of our city and Goa,” Monserrate said. The MLA, who came to Azad Maidan to participate in Holi celebrations, even danced along with voters of Panaji. Earlier, Monserrate visited the Mahalaxmi temple in the city. This is the first time after the election that Monserrate has participated in a public event in his constituency. He had faced a tough battle against former chief minister and former Panaji MLA Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal during the recently held assembly election. Utpal, who was also present at Azad Maidan to celebrate Holi, wished the people on the occasion. It was an annual affair for Parrikar to visit Azad Maidan on a day of Holi to participate in the festivities. A voter in Panaji said that Monserrate is trying to follow the same tradition that Parrikar followed in the last two and half decades. After winning the Panaji seat on March 10, Monserrate dismissed the legacy talk. “I have proved it. There is no legacy here. It is only the BJP karyakartas who have worked for him. There is no legacy and there is no sympathy. It is dead,” he had said. Though Parrikar represented Panaji since 1994, Monserrate never lost hold over the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP), which has its 21 wards in the constituency. Neither did Parrikar cross swords with Monserrate in Panaji during the assembly elections.
Staff ReporterPondaIn Holi celebration-related incidents in Ponda, a tussle between police and revellers was reported on Friday wherein the police arrested a Housing Board-Curti resident for creating nuisance and shoving a policeman, while in other incident, a group of four youth from Ponda alleged that they were assaulted by police for partying at Codar riverside.As per information, in the incident that took place at Curti on Friday afternoon, Shubham Yedvi is alleged to have created nuisance during Holi celebration under the influence of alcohol and when a police sub inspector intervened, Yedvi allegedly misbehaved, resulting in an argument between him and the policeman. The police arrested Yedvi under relevant section of the law.While in the other incident, a group of four youth from Ponda, including Dattatray Verelkar and Mahesh Jaswal, claimed that two policemen assaulted them with lathis while they were having drinks at Codar riverside on Friday evening.All the four youth have bruises on their back and they have decided to approach higher police officials over the assault on them allegedly by two policemen. They spoke to media about the alleged incident in a hope of getting justice. In this regard, when contacted Ponda police they claimed that no such incident took place.
Special CorrespondentPanajiThe swearing-in of the new government, in all probability, will now take place on March 22, after the end of the Holashtak, an ‘inauspicious’ period linked to the Holi festival. The event is expected to take place at the Campal Ground in the city.The state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president, Sadanand Tanawade, on Thursday said the central observers of his party would be arriving in Goa after March 21, following the Holi festivities, and the leader of the BJP legislature wing would be announced thereafter.Interacting with the media, Tanawade said, “These 2-3 days would go in the Holi celebrations; the government formation is delayed, as the BJP central leadership wants to form governments together in all the four states where the party has won the recent assembly elections.”He also informed that the swearing-in ceremony would be held on a grand scale with the national BJP leaders in attendance.The state BJP president, however, avoided speaking on the induction of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) into the BJP-led government.Meanwhile, Tanawade and the state BJP general secretary (organisation), Satish Dhond, met the Governor, P. S. Sreedharan Pillai, on Thursday noon following news reports that efforts are on to form a non-BJP government in Goa.Later, speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, Tanawade said that he and Dhond went to the Raj Bhavan on a courtesy visit to the Governor. “The Governor would be leaving on a visit to Karnataka, and we wanted to pay him the courtesy visit before his departure,” he added.The caretaker Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant, also told the pressmen that the new government will be formed after the Holi celebrations. “There is no infighting in BJP,” he asserted.Incidentally, the Valpoi legislator and one of the aspirants for the post of chief minister, Vishwajit Rane, got upset when the media asked him about the delay in deciding the chief ministerial candidate in Goa. A visibly upset Rane reacted sharply by stating that he should not be asked such silly questions.Several national media outlets have already reported that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has approved Pramod Sawant as the next chief minister, and it is merely a formality left to announce his name for the coveted post.It may be noted that Sawant, along with the local BJP leaders and the desk in-charge of the party for Goa, C. T. Ravi, had met the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on Wednesday and briefed him on the success of BJP at the recently held Goa assembly polls.Tanawade and Dhond were also present on the occasion. Sawant, along with the local BJP leaders and Ravi, also met the Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.Sawant and Tanawade also met the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari.
Panaji: Swearing in of the new government in the state will take place after Holi, BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade said on Monday. However, the new legislative assembly will be constituted on Tuesday after the newly-elected members of the house are administered the oath, but the tenure of the current assembly will end on March 15. The state party president said that central leaders are considering holding the swearing-in-ceremonies of all four states on the same day after Holi. BJP on Monday evening appointed Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union minister of state for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying L Murugan as central observer and co-observer respectively for the election of the leader of the legislative party in Goa. After appointment as the pro-tem speaker of assembly, the newly-elected Sanvordem MLA Ganesh Gaonkar was administered the oath of MLA by governor P S Sreedharan Pillai on Monday. Gaonkar will administer the oath to all the newly-elected members of the house. The governor has summoned the assembly at 11.30am on Tuesday for the purpose. The governor dissolved the state legislative assembly with immediate effect on Saturday evening. Pillai on Saturday appointed Pramod Sawant as the caretaker chief minister following his resignation as the chief minister. BJP emerged as the single largest party after securing 20 seats in the 40-member assembly. It has secured support from three independent MLAs-elect and MGP. In 2017, BJP won 13 seats, and with the support of MGP, GFP and independent MLAs, it formed a coalition government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar. Later, former health minister Vishwajit Rane, who was elected as a Congress MLA, resigned and got re-elected as a BJP MLA. In 2018, two more Congress MLAs, Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar, joined BJP and got re-elected after contesting byelection. Sawant took over the reins of the state in March 2019 after the death of Parrikar. Soon after, two former MGP MLAs, including former deputy chief minister Manohar Ajgaonkar and former PWD minister Deepak Pauskar, merged the MGP legislature wing into BJP, taking the total number of BJP MLAs to 17. BJP’s numbers further increased to 27 MLAs after former deputy chief minister Chandrakant Kavlekar, along with nine other MLAs, merged the Congress legislature party into BJP.
Keri: In Goa’s urban areas, Holi has translated into crowds drenched in colour dancing to Bollywood and techno music. But in the villages, Holi is a ritual. The three temples of Shree Mallikarjun deity in Ave, Shristhal and Gaodongari in Canacona celebrate the Veeramel and Shisharanni during Holi, alternating between the two each year. It is the Shisharanni ritual that attracts a big crowd. The excitement for the devotees lies in watching the ritualistic rice being cooked in an earthen pot that rests on the heads of three devotees. A fire is lit with the heads acting as the chullah as the rice simmers, with the participating men coming out unscathed each time. In Veeramel, the dancing devotees dressed in traditional attire and holding swords go house to house in a procession. Among agriculture dominated tribal regions, Holi is celebrated as Shigmo, whereas among the forest dwelling tribes the same festival is known as Shikmo — both being derived from the Sanskrit word Sugimha, meaning a pleasant summer. In Canacona’s tribal settlements, villagers disappear into the forested hills, deserting their homes at the foothills. Here, in a shelter in the forested hilltops, tribal Velip men perform folk dances and eat frugal vegetarian meals in a retracing of practices observed by their ancestors. The forest dwelling Velips communities see the ‘Mand’ — a common area reserved for performing religious traditions — come alive with menfolk dancing to folk music and folk songs reflecting the socio-ecological knowledge of the area. In the village of Nunde, situated inside the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary of Sanguem, five days before Holi, a ritualistic dance is performed that largely involves wielding an age-old sword in the right hand. To the beats of percussion instruments and cymbals, five devotees dance the night away as villagers throng to watch the annual ritual. “Nunde is the only village in Goa, where the Hanpet dance is performed. In the past, folk dancers inflicted injuries on themselves with the sword to symbolically offer blood to Mother Earth. This dance is performed by the devotees under a trance. After the Hanpet dance, tribals irrespective of their age, perform the folk dances of Tonyamel and Taalgadi jubilantly,” said a local, Arjun Gaonkar, 80. In the Taalgadi, male folk dancers perform to the beats of drums and folk songs. However, nowadays, harmonium, tabla and cymbals are also used. Tonyamel sees the men dance with a pair of colourful wooden sticks, akin to the dandiya. “Holi provides a forum to these villagers to showcase their folk dances, songs and music performed spontaneously. Amidst the fun and frolic, is the performance of rituals and traditions cherished since the hoary past by the communities,” said Shubhada Chari, a folk researcher from Sal, Bicholim. Throughout Goa, in designated community areas, usually in front of the temple of the village deity, a trunk extracted from the nearby forest is erected and dressed meticulously with mango leaves. The trunk itself is known as ‘Holi’ and rituals are usually performed around this, mostly in the dead of the night. It is also seen as evoking or thanking the holy spirit. “Among the Goan Hindus, the ritualistic traditions observed during the Holi express the utmost gratitude to Mother Earth for providing food and many unseen holy spirits for blessings of prosperity,” said Chari. In villages of Sattari, Bicholim, Pernem and Dharbandora, Ghodemodni is performed by artists which recalls the warfare of the Marathas who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the honour and dignity of the land. The passion of the Goan communities for Holi festivities was so deep that even after religious conversion the local Catholics and Muslims have kept their association with the folk traditions alive through their participation in Holi related processions like the Intruz and the Tabut.
Special CorrespondentPanajiUnion Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, L. Murugan, who have been appointed as the observer and co-observer of the Bharatiya Janata Party to supervise the election of the leader of the BJP legislature party, could arrive in Goa anytime during the next two days.The elected leader will be sworn in as the next chief minister of the state after the festival of Holi.A the recent assembly elections, the BJP has won in 20 of the total 40 constituencies in Goa, and has support of two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party legislators as well as all the three Independent MLAs.The term of the state legislative assembly ends on March 15, with Pramod Sawant presently acting as the caretaker Chief Minister.State BJP president Sadanand Tanawade on Monday informed the ‘The Navhind Times’ that Tomar and Murugan will be in Goa by March 16.“It has been decided by the central leadership of the party that the government formation will take place together in all the four stateswhere the BJP has come to power,” he added.Tanawade said the state BJP unit has requested the central leadership of the party to hold the swearing-in of the new government in Goa after the festival of Holi, as most of the MLAs are busy with the festival in their own constituencies, as also party workers are participating in the festival.Some central BJP leaders are also expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new ministry.In a related development, Goa Governor P. S. Sreedharan Pillai on Monday administered the oath to MLA-elect Ganesh Gaonkar as the pro-tem speaker of the state legislative assembly.Gaonkar took the oath in the presence of the caretaker Chief Minister and the state BJP president.The Governor summoned the assembly session on Tuesday at 11.30 a.m. for oath-taking by 39 newly-elected members of the House. Gaonkar, a two-time BJP MLA from the Sanvordem assembly constituency, will administer the oath to the newly-elected legislators and facilitate election of the Speaker of the state assembly.
Diners claim that the taste of cannabis is very similar to regular vegetables but the after effects happen to be refreshingly differentZubin D’souzaIndian festivals are fun-filled, high energy events peppered with loud renditions of Bollywood soundtracks, and squealing and screeching participants. There is rarely a sedate or solemn celebration in the entire calendar nor are any of the deities in the Hindu pantheon placated with displays of austerity and mourning.There are festivals demarcated for the harvest and those that pray for the fertility of the fields. There are festivals that proclaim the change in seasons and others that celebrate the shifting of one year to the next.None, however, can be as raucous and boisterous as the celebration of Holi that heralds the advent of spring.Holi is the festival of pomp, gaiety and colour and is much looked forward to across the country. Mock fights that involve copious amounts of water and the liberal drenching of friends and temporary rivals in colour form part of the day’s events.However, when the last trickle of water has been spent and the last smear of colour has been daubed, everyone sits together to relax and recover. Traditionally, this is when the ‘bhang’ laced lassi is rolled out.Bhang is made from the bud, leaves and flowers of the female cannabis or marijuana plant. When blended into a drink, the drug is till potent but the effects are not immediately visible. This causes imbibers to drink more than what they can handle. This is always the biggest mistake!The bhang high could take some time to get there but when it arrives, it is not leaving immediately and will create a fuss till it stays on for a little longer than originally anticipated.Bhang is also used in traditional Hindu rituals in the worship of Lord Shiva and is often served as sweets in the form of pedas and burfi.But that isn’t the only unique pairing of narcotics and food!Marijuana has an active component called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which happens to be oil and fat soluble. So when marijuana is cooked with butter or oil, it becomes easier to extract the psychogenic properties and add it to a variety of food. Colloquially, this form of marijuana is almost always referred to as ‘edibles’. The effects start to hit between 40 minutes to an hour after ingestion.The use of marijuana for medical use has been cleared by many countries. Not willing to lose out on the new legislations, the Chao PhyaAbhaibhubejhr Hospital in Thailand started serving cannabis laced foods to their patients to help them overcome pain, fatigue and loss of appetite.Diners claim that the taste of cannabis is very similar to regular vegetables but the after effects happen to be refreshingly different.Cambodia is famous for the several restaurants within the country selling ‘Happy Pizza’. Now the term ‘happy’ doesn’t really refer to smiling order takers, cheerful ingredients or even the chosen name of a chain. It refers to the willingness of the pizza parlour to sprinkle on a slightly unconventional ingredient that would cause most Neapolitans to frown. Each happy pizza comes with a liberal dusting of marijuana. So while those drugs are illegal in Cambodia and can get you arrested, happy pizzas are freely available and can hit you with a rather immediate case of the giggles!Cannabis has been delisted as a drug by many countries which has led to a proliferation of chefs adding it to the menu.The US is probably the leading producer of cannabis-laced edibles. Cannabis could reach you in the form of cookies, cakes, gummies or candy. The marketing of these products though is still very low-key and is usually available only to those in the know.The folks in Amsterdam however like to think way different than this.You could walk into any souvenir shop in Amsterdam and pick up a stack of ‘space cakes’ that are laced with specially curated cannabis. You could buy hemp infused lollipops that you could suck on all day till you reach your happy state.There are cannabis cookies, cannabis-laced ice cream and for good measure, a couple of cannabis-infused energy drinks.Unfortunately, the cannabis and energy drink combination is probably the one that is best avoided.Cannabis tends to give the weirdest ideas to people and that combined with boundless energy is a potent combination that should be best avoided. The consumption of marijuana may be legal, but the nuisance that one creates under the influence isn’t. In the event you don’t want to be given government-assisted accommodation under the watchful eye of the police and in company of some new friends that you would have avoided if you had your wits about you, then it is best that you steer clear of your new fascination.