PANAJI: Nine years ago, Maria Murena Miranda was transferred as headmistress to the remote government high school in Morpirla, Quepem, with an enrolment of only tribal students. Her first visitor then was the sarpanch, who wanted to know how long Miranda would wait before seeking a transfer. Today, Miranda has won the National Award for Teachers, as the villagers ask her not to leave until retirement. It is a 20-km journey one-way each day for Miranda from her home in Assolna to Morpirla. The challenges only worsened for her when the pandemic arrived on the scene and a lockdown was imposed in March 2020. “How do I reach the students during the lockdown, when most did not even have mobile phones. I began going to their house to take lessons and also introduced peer to peer learning where senior children would teach younger children. Art integrated learning was another strategy we used,” Miranda said. But, most importantly, when the tribal students could not come to the classroom, Miranda turned the school bus provided by the government into a mobile classroom during the pandemic. “I would take the bus along during the lockdown and I would teach them in the bus,” said Miranda, who has a master’s degree in physics and a bachelor’s degree in education. “The children would come running seeing the bus. Though these children have poor financial background they are very disciplined and determined to learn.” She has also turned her car into a mobile library and when the bus could not make it, she would take the library to the children’s homes. The Government High School, Morpirla, has recorded 100% pass percentage at the Class X state board exams for seven of the nine years under Miranda. The school had one of the highest numbers of 54 students answering the Class X exams during the lockdown due to the pandemic, but Miranda’s effort saw that the school still registered 100% result. “I don’t mind the distance to Morpirla, I drive down even during holidays to teach my students. I was very touched when I saw that the students come with shoes one day and the next day they are without shoes because the dog has damaged a shoe and the family cannot afford to buy another pair. I wanted to do something for them,” Miranda told TOI. Even the bus provided by the state cannot access the difficult terrain and the students have to walk a distance down the hill to get to the bus. “When I first joined it was very challenging. The resources were limited. The children are first generation learners and have no support at home. Their parents are all farmers. My teachers and I would stay back after school to take their lessons because if they went home they would throw their bags away and go into the fields to help their parents or go out to play,” said Miranda. Miranda’s career began as an assistant teacher before being posted as teacher grade-I in physics at government higher secondary schools in Canacona, Panaji and Margao. But the most fulfilling chapter of her career began after her posting to Morpirla. Today, the list of achievements of Government High School, Morpirla, is long. It is the only school from Goa to have a rank (11th) in the ‘Eat Right’ national programme. This year, seven of the ten students who qualified for a scholarship in the SC/ST category in the state talent search exam were students from the Government High School, Morpirla. The high school has been awarded Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar twice at the district level for clean toilets. The school students are also state champions in kho-kho and kabaddi. “We also have a tie-up with Manovikas English School in Margao, where students from the private school come to our government school to see how rural school functions and we take our students to Manovikas to provide them exposure,” she said. Miranda said her national award is a tribute to her students, the hardworking teachers of her school and the parents ‘who have complete faith in me’. “I never differentiate between the children. The minute a student comes in, all I think of is how I can mould him or her. You can teach any student to be bright. Only some students need more attention than others. There is no such thing as government schools and private schools, even government schools can bring out the best in students. A student can shine anywhere,” said Miranda, who has also guided two special children in the area to complete their Class X.
Margao: Works executed by weavers from all over the country during the lockdown have been put on display at the cotton and silk exhibition ‘Cotton Fab’ in the city.The exhibition, being organised at the Ravindra Bhavan at Fatorda-Margao, was inaugurated by the state assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar, and will run till May 16.More than 100 weavers are displaying cotton, khadi and silk fabrics made in various parts of India at the exhibition.Weavers from East Medinipur in West Bengal have used silk as a canvas for their paintings. In different colours for all occasions of joy and celebration, dense jungles, summits of south Indian temples, forests, and deserts have been woven with silk threads. Shantanu has brought with him saris of ‘aari’ stitch work and Subhashish has shown a jungle on a sari.The exhibition is open from 10.30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
PTIWomen entrepreneurs of Kolkata are storming the male bastion of café business and setting up new-age theme-based outlets offering a wide array of choices to customers.Leading the tribe is actor-turned-entrepreneur Swaralipi Chatterjee, who runs the popular café ‘Abar Baithak’ in the Jodhpur Park area of Kolkata. It is the city’s first café themed on Feluda, the immortal detective character of Satyajit Ray.“After our initial startup café in Rabindra Sarobar area failed to click in 2010 due to faulty planning, we set up this café a few years later but I have to now run the show alone as I am divorced with my husband,” says Chatterjee, who was a popular face in Bengali soaps till 2014.Chatterjee says that she and her former husband had started the café for their passion for ‘adda’, good food, and ambience. He was a good cook, which contributed to their decision to start the venture. Also, she was not getting “meaningful roles” on the silver screen.“However, after we got divorced, it became my responsibility to run the household, raise our daughter as a single mother and also keep my venture afloat,” she says.Chatterjee claimed that hers was the first theme-based café in theeastern metropolis.“We had to temporarily shut down the café during the 2020 lockdown, but reopened it after the restrictions were lifted. Slowly, in the last few months, people are thronging the café again,” she said.Chatterjee, who plans to resume her acting career this year, says that a woman has to prove herself at every step and grit and determination are very important for doing that. She has also opened another outlet in Narendrapur area on the southern outskirts of the city.Amrita Annie, the owner of ‘Pancham er Adday’, a popular hangout in Hindustan Park area themed on R D Burman’s works, says that she had always dreamt of a café themed on the music of 1970s and 80s, and materialised it in August 2019.Annie said that she had to sell all her jewellery to restart the café after the lockdown. “I was determined not to let it sink,” she says.Aarunima Dhawan, the owner of ‘Hola’, a popular café in Vivekananda Park area, says that she is passionate about food, and has received full support from her husband in the venture.“It has been a four-year-long journey and we are still learning. We did not have much knowledge about the food and beverages industry when we started,” she says.Rajreeta Sen, co-owner of tea bar ‘Ttoniq’, says that entrepreneurship was traditionally a male domain but things have started to change.“We three women made a foray into the café segment. We set off in October last year after a delay due to the second wave of the pandemic, and there has been a steady rise in the number of customers at our tea bar located opposite the South City shopping mall, as we offer varieties of tea suiting every pocket. We plan to open two more outlets in the suburbs,” she adds.
Margao: A resolution taken by the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) to the effect that the sopo (occupation) fees collected by its contractor amounting to Rs 32 lakh be waived on the grounds that the pandemic led to losses, has been rejected by the department of urban development. Taking cognisance of the complaint filed by Shadow Council for Margao with the department of urban development in the matter, additional director of urban development Clen Madeira wrote to MMC chief officer that the “sopo fees cannot be waived” just like that. “The MMC has to make a detailed examination and take reasonably sound resolution before taking any decision to waive sopo fees,” Madeira said in his letter to the MMC chief officer. The Shadow Council has now demanded that the outstanding arrears of the sopo contractor be recovered immediately. It warned that if the outstanding instalments are not recovered from the contractor within 15 days, it would take further steps, including moving the court. The Shadow Council had demanded that the MMC resolution of March 24 with regards to waiving sopo fees be scrapped. “Even the traders from Margao, who had requested for 50% reduction in the trade/signboard/sanitation fees on account of the total lockdown, were not granted any relief. In such circumstances, how could the sopo contractor be granted such a huge waiver of Rs 32 lakh for the period from April 2021 to August 2021, when the lockdown was partial,” Coutinho said.
Panaji: The transition to schools after being home-bound and studying online for two years is proving a struggle for children, said teachers and experts who are observing a rise in tantrums and other behavioural changes. The education department and the office of the Goa State Disability Commissioner are working to help teachers understand these challenges and address the behavioural changes in children. “Teachers said that after returning to school, children are finding it difficult to sit in class, something they had no problem doing prior to the lockdown,” vice-president of the Psychiatric Society of Goa, Dr Ravindra Agrawal, said. Teachers said that two years of online classes meant that many students are no longer accustomed to sitting at the desk for an entire class and are used to taking breaks in the comfort of their homes. Sangath, a Porvorim-based mental health institute, has partnered with state government departments for training teachers, special educators and school counsellors in dealing with students who are struggling after the pandemic. Commissioner for Disability, Guru Pawaskar, recently kick-started the first training session at the Sanjay School. Similar sessions will be held for government-aided schools with one such program being held at Hedgewar High School on April 18. Pawaskar has offered to support the roll out of the training to all schools and has recommended that parents also be trained in handling the “unique challenges in caring for children during and after the pandemic” in Goa. Teachers and mental health professionals have noticed behavioural disturbances, inability to adjust to the structured school environment, screen addiction and low-attention span among students. In light of this, the training being imparted by Sangath aims to understand and address the needs of teachers in dealing with these challenges. “Due to the lockdown, many students developed a habit of attending online classes while sitting on the couch, watching television, eating snacks or by sitting on their beds,” a teacher with a Mapusa-based school said. “Their routine has again changed suddenly and they are irritable or easily distracted.” Sangath has put together two teams to train teachers — one for special schools and the other for mainstream government and government-aided schools. “Children are also finding it difficult when parents are attempting to take phones or tabs away from them as there is no need for these devices for online classes. There are tantrums from the children,” Agrawal said.
Panaji: In a case exposing police lethargy, a North Goa court has rejected the application of the police to take further action against two traffic violators nearly three years after they failed to pay the fine for not wearing helmets while riding. A police inspector at the traffic headquarters Panaji told the court that the owners of the vehicles who violated traffic rules in 2018 failed to pay the fine within 15 days after they were issued a notice. The court held that the inordinate delay of more than 1,000 days in completing the process from issuing notice to the violator “comes to the benefit of the accused as these are compoundable cases hit by Section 468 of Criminal Procedure Code”. The police inspector submitted to the court that there were reports of traffic violations in large numbers within a short period of time by way of photos and videos from general public under the Traffic Sentinel Scheme launched by Goa Traffic Police where willing citizens could send in traffic violations. He added that the process of verifying violations, issuing notices, serving the notices manually and thereafter sorting out the same took time as they were in very large number, and added that during the lockdown it was not possible to serve notices. But the court held that these grounds don’t appear to be satisfactory as the offences occurred in 2018 “which is much prior to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. It was understandable if there was such an inordinate delay in the case of some serious offence whereby thorough investigation was required. But even in serious offences the investigation is not at all delayed for such a long period. Therefore the reason which has been mentioned by the police inspector is not at all satisfactory to condone such an inordinate delay to file such a case in petty offence,” the court stated. The police inspector submitted to the court that under the Traffic Sentinel Scheme, after citizens reported traffic violations, the violation received was then approved by the Traffic Sentinel team after analysis and a notice under Section 133 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, was then issued to the owner of the violating vehicle through local police station, with directions to make the payment of fine within 15 days.
From candles to cookies, local makers and bakers are gearing up for the Easter festivitieswith an egg-citing lineup of goodies and moreNT BUZZThe countdown to Easter is on. If you’re looking to have an egg-stra special Easter this year, look no further. NT BUZZ highlights a few makers and bakers in Goa who are dishing out egg-celent creations this Easter season.Samantha Pereira @cake_a_licious_stinezFor chocolate aficionados, Samantha Pereira, a self-taught baker who runs the home-based cakery Cake~a~licious in Panaji, is serving up a selection of chocolate Easter eggs this season.“We have Easter eggs to suit every person’s budget, from regular chocolate eggs to luxury hampers which include Belgian chocolate eggs and slabs and bunnies,” says Pereira, who is a geologist by profession. In fact, Pereira has introduced the Belgian collection this year. “I observed that many people wanted the authentic pure chocolate flavour to gift their special someone. Hence, I came up with the luxury edition,” she says.For those who want to keep it more traditional, the cakery also has handcrafted pure cashew marzipanmini eggsCake~a~licious started out as a hobby in 2015 as Pereira experimented with different recipes. “The first product that I vividly remember making was chocolate-mint cookies which I distributed to family, friends and neighbours. The feedback received was extremely encouraging and pushed me to experiment further,”she says.Rodwin Rodrigues@chef_rodwinBakery and pastry chef Rodwin Rodrigues started his own business ‘Chef Rodwin Food Enterprise’ with an aim to provide wholesome bakery products like multigrain bread, multigrain cookies, and multigrain muffins which he says are “one of his best” items. Recently, he conducted a chocolate and marzipanEaster egg preparation workshop at the Agnel Institute of Food Craft and Culinary Sciences, Nuvem for women and for students at VM Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education. “This Easter, I have decided to share my knowledge of preparing Easter eggs with a variety of people,”he says.Emera Fernandes@homecraftedsoapsSince 2018 from her home in Saligao, Emera Fernandes has been creating a range of all-natural, chemical-free soaps, bath products, and candles.“These include a variety of soaps, body scrubs, bath salts, bath bombs, natural lip balms, solid perfume, soy wax and beeswax candle jars, wax melts, tea lights, wax scent sachets, bath hampers, birthday takeaways, and customised gift hampers,” says Fernandes, adding that the Made-In-Saligao market that’s held every Tuesday at the Saligao Institute, helped her establish herself as a small business owner.This Easter, she is offering Easter hampers in eco-friendly packaging. Each hamper will contain easter egg soaps, Easter candles, bath bombs, carrot-shaped soaps, bunny-shaped soaps, crotchet bunnies, and more.Tiffany DLima Menezes@cookiecrumbtrailThe Cookie Crumb Trail, Altinho, Panaji by Tiffany DLima Menezes offers chocolate and vanilla flavoured cookies in customised shapes and designs. Having begun her venture with an Instagram page, she started taking orders in September 2021 and has received an overwhelming response from clients so far. “The cookies accentuate the theme of any event, so they are appreciated by kids and adults alike,” says Menezes, who makes custom-themed cookies for events on order. Every cookie is customised and hand-decorated to suit the theme or colour palette of the client.This Easter, she has planned an Easter cookie basket, that is, a basketful of Easter-themed hand-decorated cookies and a bunny bag of minis, that is, mini Easter cookies (bunnies, chicks, and Easter eggs) packed together in an adorable bunny bag.Line Shetty@mommademoments_Panaji-based mom of three, Line Shetty has an egg-citing lineup of Easter-themed goodies as well.Her venture, MomMadeMoments started as a blog (www.mommademoments.com) with easy baking recipes using local ingredients, creativity for kids, and inspiration for parties. “I needed something creative that I could do from home while looking after my daughters and managing their schools during the lockdown.” Shetty always loved planning themed birthday parties for her own kids and hoped to inspire others. Soon, friends began asking if she could bake for them, and during the lockdown, she decided to accept her first orders.Today, she makes custom cakes for birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions. She also offers themed party snacks and edible return presents such as cakesicles, cupcakes, macarons and marbled cookies. “I hope to keep learning new cake techniques and flavours while honing my skills. I want to continue to inspire others through my blog,” she says and adds that the response has been amazing so far. “I have a lot of repeat customers who seem to like what I do and I am so grateful for that. They also recommend me to others. I put great importance on the taste as well as the design. A pretty cake is nothing if it doesn’t taste good.”For Easter, she is dishing out assorted mini eggs filled with caramel, rum-chocolate, and marzipan. She is also making piñata easter eggs filled with sweets for kids and small Easter bento cakes in her signature rich chocolate flavour.Eureka Araujo, Nikita Araujo, and Suzann Homan@si_va_koBound by Goan roots, chef Eureka Araujo, Nikita Araujo, and Suzann Homan started Sivako to dish out elegant yet flavoursome pastries, viennoiseries, and chocolates.Having started their enterprise on International Women’s Day in Mumbai, Sivako is in Goa this Easter season to celebrate the joy of new life.Sivako which means ‘rise to the challenge’ has a signature Easter collection that includes an Easter egg hamper that comprises a set of three eggs (pink, yellow, and blue) packed into a fully edible chocolate basket. The pink egg has flavours of coffee ganache, Baileys Irish ganache, and hazelnut and almond crunch; the yellow egg is made of biscoff ganache, biscoff crunch and s’mores marshmallow; while the blue egg has flavours of maple caramel, peanut nougat, and caramel ganache. The edible chocolate basket is made of almond rochers and caramelised white chocolate.Their other Easter offering is the caramelised nutty tart which is a homely tart that can be served warm by itself or even with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.“We started Sivako to bring a craft of our own story. We are committed to making every batch from scratch and ensuring every bite is just right.’ Simple yet elegant’ is what we focus on and we try to showcase the same in our products as well,” says Eureka, who is an award-winning chef with over 10 years of professional pastry experience.Fr Macson DabreAs director of the students at the seminary at Peddem, Mapusa, Fr Macson Dabre of the Discalced Carmelite Order is always working towards generating finances for his students studying in class 11 and class 12 who lack financial backing. Reluctant to ask for donations, Fr Dabre thought of a novel idea last year to generate income: making candles. “I learned to make candles on my own and bought the mould to make Easter candles that are used in churches,” he says. He contacted a few parishes nearby and the community to support this endeavour. “Through this, I could recover the cost of the mould and could contribute to the students’ fees,” he tells us. This year too, on a very small scale he has managed to make and sell ten Easter candles. “I am trying to ignite light into darkness, and Jesus is the light,” he says.Floyd FernandesThis home baker from Pilerne has been taking orders for Hot Cross Buns that will be consumed tomorrow on Maundy Thursday.Working on the cruise liner in the pastry department, Floyd returned home last year during the lockdown just before Lent. He thought of putting his skills to use and baked buns for the first time at home. Those who tasted it encouraged him to take orders this year.Today, he’s happy with the response he’s getting from villages and through friends who have been sharing flyers of his offerings far and wide. His baked goodies and desserts – especially his signature cake, the ‘Classic French Opera’ – showcase his passion and he has garnered a lot of patrons through the same. “The secret of happiness lies not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do,” he says.Amanda Crasto@_theislandbakehouse_Baking has always been Divar-based Amanda Crasto’s passion and eventually turned into a business ‘The Island Bakehouse’. “I strongly believe my profession chose me, more than me choosing my profession. I started this journey on December 15, 2020 and the response has been overwhelming. I aim to grow in this field without compromising on the quality,” she says and adds that her secret ingredient is ‘love’. “I always put in all the love that I have within me in my baking – thereby calling it ‘made with love’.”The Island Bakehouseoffers a wide range of products, such as, brownies, cupcakes, cookies, cakes, mousse, donuts, etc. Her Easter menu includes the chocolate eggs-stravaganza, that is, a chocolate Easter egg filled with chocolate ganache, brownie bits, and chocolate chunks; the caramel crunch, an egg with a chocolate shell filled with salted caramel sauce, nuts, and butterscotch; the cococraze, that is, a coconut cream-filled Easter egg with shredded coconut, and lots more.Mackin Xavier@mac_cakes_goaIf one is looking for cakes in Navelim, ‘Mac Cakes’ is the place to be. Mackin Xavier has been baking for the past 11 years. Her sweets have been appreciated by both young and old. This Easter, she will be making Easter eggs, cupcakes, and cakes for people around. “I specialise in honey cakes, chocolate cakes, and mousse cakes,” says Xavier.She firmly believes that baking is something that gives her the freedom to be herself. After almost two years of the pandemic, this Easter is really going to be special for Xavier and she looks forward to baking a lot more.Danice AlmeidaHaving started as a home baker in Mumbai and Pune, Danice Almeida has more than 20 years of experience in the bakery business. She started a professional bakery ‘Dielle’s Cakes and Chocolates’ here in Goa in December 2019 with her first outlet in Tivim in May 2020 and within six months her second outlet in Mapusa in November 2020. “I started just before the lockdown. It has been slow but the journey has been great. Today, we have a great clientele who trust us blindly for us to innovate for them,” she says.They offer a wide selection of customised cakes, pastry, desserts, bread, chocolates, handcrafted chocolate, liquor chocolate, and more.This Easter, she is offering a wide range of flavoured chocolate Easter eggs (full chocolate and hollow chocolate), almond sugar-coated mini eggs, marzipan eggs, hampers, cupcakes, Easter-themed cakes,and more.
As the government eases the age limit for nursery school admission by six months in the state, a few parents react to this decisionLast year, the age of admissions for the nursery school level was changed to three years. A year later the Directorate of Education Department has now relaxed the age limit by six months as of May 31.I think like everything else this too has its good and bad points but as a mom of a four-year-old myself I was happy to see the ease of the age limit. Starting school early would mean my child gets to interact with other kids his age earlier than before. This would help build his social interaction from a young age. Also spending time in school would mean less screen time at home. As seen nowadays kids don’t play outdoors anymore, they prefer being on their iPads/television/mobiles when at home.” Ninoshka Lobo, ChoraoEasing the age limit to 2.5 years is certainly a good idea. I believe the intelligence quotient (IQ) of today’s kids is way higher as compared to earlier. For example my own daughter was able to recognise body parts, recite rhymes, associate alphabets with objects, and write, at the age of two so having her admitted at 2.5 years at school will only enhance her skill and social abilities. But as in every decision there are cons. It is considered that till the age of three a child should enjoy playing. If admitted in school early and if the school has a rota system of learning, then the child may find it difficult to cope up. There may be a lot more pressure on them at a small age. Sometime at 2.5 years the child may not be able to express their needs. In all, I believe schools are second home to children and if they learn at the right age they will have the right exposure and fun.” Deepa Prabhu, Old GoaAfter a long period of lockdown where the children were confined to their homes, early admission for children in school will definitely come as a boon. Children will get an early opportunity for interaction in an external safe environment of the nursery school. They will get to meetnew friends of their age. The school environment will help inculcate a set time table for them and help mould their personality. Children will get a little independent and learn activities of daily living. The relaxation of early age will also enable the nursery schools to pick up on the loss incurred to them in the past two yearsof lockdown.” Joslyn Dias Sapeco, Margao
Mr Bartender and The Crew led by Fay Barretto is India’s first bartender training centre for women and the LGBTQ communityCHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZRoshni Kapoor stumbled upon Mr Bartender and The Crew serving up drinks at a queer fest. And she was immediately impressed. “I didn’t know anything about their background or that they were queer. But there was something about them, and their drinks were fantastic!” she shares. Kapoor quickly followed the collective on social media and learned more about their story. Fast forward to today and she handles the back-end operations of what is now touted to be India’s first bartending training centre for women and the LGBTQ community.Led by Fay Barretto who identifies as a transman, the collective seeks to not just equip individuals with a professional skill that can help them stand on their own two feet but also change the perception of the bartending space as being largely male-dominated.“In most places around the world, a bartender is always assumed to be a man. In fact, whether it is someone who is making your drinks, managing the bar, or even managing the restaurant, these are mostly men,” says Kapoor. And being a transman, Barretto himself faced some of these issues in his career of 13 years as he worked across several bars and travelled to various cities to do bar takeovers.“While there are schools that are open to non-cis males coming in to train to be bartenders, there are many challenges, one of them being financial. Also, when you are at a space where all the other students are men – the bartenders are men and the mentors are men – then it is not a very encouraging space,” explains Kapoor.And so, instead of complaining about the issue, Barretto figured that given his own extensive experience in this industry, he could do something to change things. During the pandemic lockdown, Barretto began by training a couple of people in the skill of bartending and over time it expanded into an academy where more women and queer people could pick up a valuable skill.Joining the academy is currently free of charge although this could change as they are getting interest from people who can afford to pay for the course and would much rather be at this space which is more welcoming of their identity rather than be anywhere else. At the moment, the academy is training its fifth batch of students comprising of people from Mizoram, Lucknow, etc. While no Goans are part of this batch, they have had Goan participants in the past.“The course is for about a month and a half where as part of the theoretic knowledge we invite key experts from the industry to interact with the trainees. For the practical part, we get them to take over some bars that we have partnered with,” explains Kapoor. While a few of the classes for the previous batches have been online owing to the pandemic, with everything opening up, the academy training now happens partly in Mumbai and partly in Goa. The team also consults for bars in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Pune.Barretto’s home in Saligao serves as the training centre in Goa and also as a place of accommodation for some of the students who come in from outside the state and maybe struggling economically.In fact, during the second lockdown, the academy also extended its reach to the economically marginalised sections of society. “Fay happened to interact with a few people from this section who were curious about bartending but who believed that they could never be in this line. And it got him thinking. The purpose of the academy was to be more inclusive but we had never thought about how we could reach out to people who may not even see bartending as an economically viable option,” says Kapoor. And this prompted the second phase of the programme where the team went down to the grassroots level talking to this section of society for whom bartending was a whole other world that they had never even thought of.And while of course there were a lot of misconceptions about bartending, the team is all about changing this. “Misconceptions are something we are trying to change with our theka takeovers where we visit rural areas to talk to people about the bar world and what happens there and how it is not about gender and sexuality. With the help of various NGOs that are working for the betterment of women and the LGBTQ community, we are trying to make that change at the grassroots level,” says Barretto, adding that they have not faced any issues with regards to families who have opposed this. “We speak to the families about how we ensure safety and brief them at all points,” he says.Over the past months, the academy has gotten their trained bartenders to take over bars at places they have partnered with which include Mahe, Baba au Rhum, Maai, Morii, and Sukkha.“When we place our bartenders somewhere we do not introduce them as being queer or women or from economically low backgrounds but just that we have a highly trained bartender. I think this is the first step in changing things. We are not doing some kind of charity or getting someone hired because of their identity. It is important that the restaurant/bar knows that it is just about getting a really good bartender and nothing else,” states Kapoor.She further says that often times because the academy is free, people tend to assume that the quality is really bad or that they are training a bunch of people that nobody wants. “But that is simply not true. Those who come out of this academy are boss bartenders, at par with anyone else who has done a bartender course at other institutes,” she says.And the collective would like to expand geographically too, says Kapoor. “We have our businesses in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Pune and it would be great if more senior bartenders in these cities come forward to start chapters of this academy there too. We would also like for more people to come and get enrolled. Even if you do not see yourself working commercially as a bartender you can just learn this if this is something you find exciting.”
NT KURIOCITY examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the job scenario for new graduatesRAMANDEEP KAUR | NT KURIOCITYJency Eliona Pereira always knew what she wanted to do after her graduation. But during the lockdown she got a little more time to research on other courses she could look at. “So in a way the pandemic, especially the lockdown, helped me decide my future plans in a better way,” she says.But not everyone feels the same way. Indeed when the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head, Sabrin Shaikh, a TYBA student, who until then knew exactly what her next steps would be post completing her graduation suddenly began wondering whether she was making the right choices or not.“Due to the pandemic, I have missed out on opportunities for outdoor internships. Communication skills required for the corporate world have been affected too,” she laments. All this means that she is unsure if she is ready enough for the job market.Being largely indoors for two years has also meant that the thought of venturing out in the real world seems scary, says Aparna Nanjannavar from Curtorim who graduated last year but is yet to secure a job.Restrictions on movement due to fear of catching the virus has also limited job opportunities, believes final year mass communication student Omkar Naik. “Also because of the pandemic, companies have limited jobs to offer right now,” he points out.Associate professor in economics at DCT’s S S Dempo College, Cujira, Bambolim, Nikhil Varerkar also agrees that COVID-19 has definitely caused a slowdown in the economy leading to closure of several Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) units and job losses. “There are signs of economic revival though and improvement in business investments,” he says. But, he adds, the disruption by the pandemic has changed the way businesses are recruiting new employees. Along with domain knowledge and soft skills, applicants are now required to have sound digital skills.Leontia Pertila Fernandes who recently moved to Dubai in search of a job and is now a psychology lecturer however believes that while the pandemic may have limited job opportunities in some fields, it created more opportunities in other fields. “The pandemic created new job opportunities when it comes to the medical field for instance,” she says.Assistant professor in history at Sant Sohirobanath Ambiye Government College of Arts & Commerce, Pernem, Rohit R Phalgaonkar echoes this, stating that new products like masks, sanitisers and other COVID-19 related products in markets has led to creation of new avenues for many. In fact, graduates of the science discipline have new challenges in front of them. “These avenues are in the field of chemistry, biology and other similar pure sciences. Medical research in the study of molecules and other fields has scope,” he says, adding that the freshers need to be made aware of the scope in various fields.Phalgaonkar further believes that while the social skills of youngsters have been affected these can be built again. “This can be done by the parents at the family level and teachers at the school and college level.”And with COVID-19 cases in a downward trend for now, assistant professor, civil engineering department, Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda, Satyesh Kakodkar is hopeful of things only changing for the better. “Activities have started resuming in full swing and there is a hope for new graduates to get jobs,” he says. But, he adds, they will need to keep themselves updated on various skills as the number of job seekers is definitely more as compared to availability of jobs.”“The COVID -19 has triggered one of the worst job crises since the Great Depression,” states career consultant, Sharmila Menezes. “We see a structural unemployment – where on one hand, every organisation is struggling to find the right candidates, and on the other hand unemployment rates are increasing again and millions of jobseekers are unable to find productive employment. “ In fact, she points out a survey from career website Monster states that: “Almost a year after college graduation, 45 per cent of the class of 2020 are still looking for work”.But she believes that 2022-23 could see a bounce back in the economy. “There could be a surge in sectors like IT, e-commerce, education (with the new NEP), telecom, medical/ healthcare, pharma, tourism and so on that could provide opportunities for young graduates,” she says.It is however vital, she too reiterates, that these new graduates work on developing their soft skills in order to make a stand in the industry.The two main sources for developing social skills are interacting with peers in college and outdoor activities/ social gatherings. “The abrupt withdrawal from college/ school, social life and outdoor activities interrupted this and impacted mental health on account of increased anxiety, nervousness and loneliness,” she says. And while social media sites like WhatsApp and Facebook enabled students to connect with friends, this is not the same as physical interactions that take place in groups. “Peer interactions and social connections are how youth learn about themselves, understand and express their emotions, contribute to decision making, learn to cope with challenges and accept responsibility,” she states.Employers, she adds, are considering people skills as an important factor when recruiting. “Sometimes we see that students with good knowledge of the subject stay behind in grasping the necessary soft skills while the ones who inherently have great soft skills lag behind in gaining satisfactory knowledge,” she says. Another important factor is that the subject skills match the industry requirement, she adds.
By Solomon CoutinhoWe have just witnessed a lot of uncertainty right at the beginning of this year, especially with regards to the COVID variants, making it glaringly evident that financial planning for uncertain times like these has become more important now than ever before.Financial uncertainties with regards to our jobs, our businesses, our incomes have only increased with the possibility of any future restrictions or lockdowns that may be implemented.Any restrictions or lockdown decisions can severally impact our incomes, while most expenses such as our EMIs, food expenses, rent, children’s education are more likely to remain the same, if not increase due to inflation.For the salaried class, any reduction in salary or non-receipt of bonus could have an impact on one’s lifestyle. For businesses, a lockdown or any restriction can be more damaging with rent, staff salaries, and other miscellaneous expenses continuing irrespective of income received or business earned.Hence it has become clear that these uncertainties can definitely impact us financially as well as mentally and emotionally if we are not prepared for the future.“Make hay while the Sun shines,” a common English phrase meaning – making most of a favourable situation has more meaning today. Building assets to protect oneself for such rainy days is a crucial aim in financial planning.However, unlike physical assets such as gold and real estate which can be cumbersome to liquidate during times of need, financial assets such as fixed deposits, shares, mutual funds are easier and simpler to sell and utilize during times of emergencies.Most of us have often looked at bank FDs to support ourselves, but solely investing in FDs alone is a problem. Bank interest rates are currently at decadal low and with inflation rates hovering above five per cent approximately, if one invests in FDs alone, inflation will erode the value of money over time. Hence it has become even more imperative to look out for options that can provide returns that beat inflation rates, yet are flexible enough to exit during times of need. One should look to diversify across different financial assets and non-financial assets. One such financial asset is mutual funds (MF) to help achieve one’s financial goals yet have liquidity during times of uncertainty. MFs may invest across different asset classes depending upon the objective of the scheme, which in turn will perform differently during different market cycles and environments.For instance, when global and local factors are favorable, equities tend to perform better. Similarly, when global and local factors are unfavorable, gold will likely perform better since gold is seen as a hedge during times of uncertainty.Though investing in MFs is a bit more complex than simply selecting a fund based on past returns to invest in. Understanding one’s risk appetite, time horizon and the purpose of the investment is crucial. So, how to plan for unforeseen financial uncertainties with MFs?For existing investors with a sizeable portfolio, booking profits from equities or switching when markets are high or when one’s financial goals are achieved, to a lower duration debt fund would allow the funds to be utilized during times of need.For new investors, it is recommended to start building a sizeable portfolio. Systematic Investment Plan (SIPs) are great way to start for an absolute novice. But one can also invest lump sum or one-time in a debt fund and activate a SIP transfer plan from the fund to a equity or balanced fund. The objective of doing so, would be to reduce the volatility in the portfolio which would arise when investing the entire amount in equities in one go, rather than over a period of time.While building a MF portfolio, most investors should keep some funds aside to tide over any financial uncertainty that may arise in one’s life. Although no one can be certainly sure when such an adverse circumstance may occur, it would be better to be prepared rather than sorry for not doing so. Having a combination of debt, equity even gold in one’s MF portfolio is a good start. This is based on the principle of diversification of risk or asset allocation.Remember, there is no financial instrument that can make you rich overnight. It takes a sound investment, patience and time to create wealth. There are no shortcuts or get-rich-quick schemes to create wealth. Any investment which promises a return that is too good to be true, is probably not true.MFs have been gradually gaining popularity in India and people are slowly looking at them as an investment option. Though there is a long road ahead for wider acceptance and growth. Strict laws, transparency, and easily available information have helped the industry. Finally, one can definitely look at MFs to help achieve financial goals yet dip into them during uncertain times.The writer is a financial consultant. He can be contacted at http://www.mutualfundsgoa.co.
Compensation fixed at Rs 5,000 factoring in COVIDMargao: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, South Goa at Margao in a recent case held the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) responsible for deficiency in service and directed it to pay a compensation of `5,000 to the complaint.The complainant, a practicing advocate in the state, had filed a complaint with the commission against the opposite party (OP), BSNL. For over five times, the complainant had registered complaints at the company’s toll-free number over issues of landline and broadband service disconnection.The complainant had said that each time oral assurances were given but the fix was only temporary in nature and the services would stop working in a few days. Being a practicing advocate, it was crucial for the complainant to have unrestricted internet usage since the courts had insisted on uploading documents and conducting hearings online due to the rising COVID-19 cases in 2020.In its defence, BSNL said that the issue had arisen at a time when the lockdown was declared by the government due to the coronavirus pandemic and there were constrains on the movement of the staff and for this reason it was not possible for it to address to the complainant in a timely manner.It had added that the complainant had interruption of service due to non-payment of the bill.In its reasoning, however, the commission presided over by its president Pradip Sawaiker and member Nelly D’Silva held that “BSNL was expected to provide uninterrupted and continuous service to its consumers, as the consumers are paying for the same… Admittedly, the complaints registered by the complainant were not attended to in a timely manner. The inability to provide a quality service and further inability to timely resolve the complaints is itself deficiency of service on the part of the OP.”“It is true that the complainant must have suffered a lot of agony and harassment on account of the frequent disruptions to his landline and broadband connection… Although the complainant had to suffer due to frequent disconnections, we feel that the amount claimed by him is exorbitant. We are of the view that some leniency ought to be shown to the OP since the period the alleged disruptions occurred was during the lockdown. We therefore fix the compensation at `5,000,” it stated in the order.The commission also ordered that the complaintant must be provided continuous and uninterrupted landline and broadband connection.
Eleven-year-old Grace Makkimane talks about her debut book titled ‘The Ghost At My Window’RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT KURIOCITYWhen Grace Makkimane was around five or six years old, she began writing stories and poems about her siblings. But it was just before the lockdown in March 2020, when her brother dislocated his wrist that she began considering writing about “her” life experiences. She also began writing mystery books, books for younger children, books on humour, etc. “My mother told me to write to my heart’s content in the lockdown and I did just that,” says Makkimane, who has now published her first book ‘The Ghost At My Window’.Self-published on Amazon and India paperback on Pothi.com, ‘The Ghost At My Window’ is a short book about what Makkimane has gone through, sometimes in dreams and sometimes what she has imagined in her life. For example, ‘The Moving Door of the Watchman’s Hut’ which is a story that forms part of the book is based on a real-life incident.The idea for this book came one night just before she was going to bed. “I was sitting on my bed and looking out of the window when I heard a light, floaty, high-pitched, smooth voice singing, ‘Aaaah’. I first thought it was an actual ghost, but then realised it was someone in my neighbour’s house having a birthday party and yelling. That gave me the idea about the book,” she reveals.And Makkimane was determined that every element of the book should be done properly. “When I was writing the book, which was completed in a week, every detail had to be perfect and humorous. When it was being edited, I was impatient, and while making my book cover, I was a little stressed as I was afraid something would go wrong. In fact, I did three covers before settling on the current one,” she shares, adding that when her mother finally helped her publish the book online, she was “a mix of emotions”.With the book targeted at children in the age group of eight to 13 years, Makkimane believes that readers will connect with this tale of a hyper-imaginative child. “My readers will be able to understand imagination and dreams and what amazing things you can form with them,” she says.And the youngster who lives in Naroa, Divar, has several more books in the pipeline. “There’s one book of mine which hopefully might get released at the end of this month,” she says, adding that she just wants people to read her book and give her honestreviews.Besides writing, the 11-year-old has many hobbies like singing, drawing, reading, cycling, and gardening. She also loves animals and enjoys spending timewith her pets.
Panaji: Goa’s popular beaches were besieged by glass and other waste after easing of Covid-19 norms, as post-lockdown, tourists and others hit the bottle with vengeance. Palolem topped with a 3,103% increase in glass waste while Calangute had a 559% increase in litter. These are findings of a two-phased study by Goa University (GU) researchers and others to assess the quantum and composition of waste on eight beaches in May 2020 during the lockdown and in January 2021, after easing of restrictions. The survey found an exponential increase in beach litter. A part of it may have come from the sea or rivers. After Goa’s beaches became notorious as the most littered ones, recently implemented initiatives for better beach management have made a difference, the researchers said. “Litter density changes between two surveys (May 2020 and January 2021) was highest for Calangute followed by Baina 281%, Miramar-Caranzalem 234%, Morjim 223% and Velsao and Colva 134-136%. Surprisingly it was -6.7 for Siridao, “ the study stated. Researchers from National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), ministry of earth sciences, Vasco, National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula and Ryerson University, Canada carried out the study under supervision of GU’s School of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences (SEOAS) professor Kotha Mahender. After a long lull, the increase in tourist footfalls transformed the beaches into a sea of bottles, discarded footwear, rubber, metal and plastic. A recent video showing a heavily-littered Baga beach sparked outrage on social media, but the study by PhD scholar Ritwik Nigam of SEOAS indicated that binge drinking on beaches overshadowed the tourists' complacent behaviour, as intoxication or sheer callousness meant footwear litter increased by 429% on Colva beach. “Glass is becoming a big threat to the beach ecosystem and its density is nudging out even plastic as a nuisance,” Alvarinho Luis, co-author and NCPOR scientist said. Rubber showed a huge 2,140% increase on the scenic Palolem beach while metal and thermocol showed a decrease by over 70%. “Local fishermen accounted for the metal and thermocol in beach litter and this had reduced due to the curtailment of fishing activities during lockdown," Luis said. For plastic litter exceeding 2kg per sqm of transect of 100m along shore chosen for sampling, Colva beach receiving a significant share in increase of tourists to eight million in 2019 ranked first. It was followed by Miramar-Caranzalem, Baina, Siridao and Calangute. The quantum of packaging materials like thermocol stuck out at Velsao, Siridao, Baina and Colva as litter was more than 100gm per transect. But on the positive side, Goa’s waste management has shown an improvement, Mahender said. “Goa being an attractive destination in south east Asia attracted 8 million tourists in 2019 and it shows in the litter density on beaches. But the state has improved as per recent ratings in managing litter pollution due to government’s recent initiatives,“ he said. While anthropogenic stressors are disastrous for marine aquatic life, the study has strongly emphasized segregation at source as the best solution to reduce damage. “A team comprising local residents, social work groups, college students and NGOs can be mobilised as volunteers to undertake beach monitoring and help the administration in keeping beaches clean," the study states. Consumption of liquor on beaches has triggered an increase in beach drownings in the recent past. “Strict implementation of beach discipline will further reduce litter and this in turn saves the expenditure involved for beach management,” Mahender said.
Panaji: Health minister Vishwajit Rane on Friday said that 95% of the eligible population has completed the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine. He also said that there is no shortage of oxygen in the state. Rane said that Covid-19 patients infected with the Omicron variant mostly opt for home treatment and that there are few hospitalisations. “Omicron is prevalent all over the country and we have to deal with it. In anticipation that there could be a rise in cases, we have made all provisions on what needs to be done at stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3 and level 1, level 2 and level 3,” Rane said. Asked if there is a need to impose lockdown or curfew to control the spread of Omicron, he said, “When you take a decision, it has to be an overall decision. Any such decision has to be thoroughly deliberated by the government. Isolation days have been reduced from 10 to seven. The situation is evolving in different ways. Let’s us see how things move ahead and accordingly we will take a decision. We are closely monitoring the situation every day to ensure it does get out of hand.”
Panaji: Over 7,500 15-18-year-olds took first doses of their vaccines on Tuesday. State immunologist Dr Rajendra Borkar said that Monday’s count was updated and stood at 8,500. Similarly, Tuesday’s count will also be updated. “We have been able to vaccinated 20% of the 15-18 target population in two days. We hope to finish this population within a week before vaccination begins for healthcare and front-line workers on January 10,” Dr Borkar said. When asked about any adverse effects following vaccination of the adolescents, Dr Borkar said there hasn’t been a single serious case. “We have had two cases of fainting which can happen with any injection but they recovered within five to ten minutes and went back,” he told reporters. “It is necessary to get this age group vaccinated to protect them as well as the elderly and those with comorbidities before they could become super-spreaders. All parents must bring their children to school to get vaccinated,” he said. Reacting to Whatsapp messages claiming expired vaccines were being used, director of health services, Dr Ira Almeida told reporters on Tuesday that Goa has received around 75,000 doses of Covaxin which expire in September 2022 and that people should not worry. Dr Almeida said most of those who have fallen ill and have succumbed to Covid-19 are those who are unvaccinated. She added, “With 95% of the population vaccinated, the state doesn’t have to panic as there is a major difference between the second and third waves.” Vaccination for the 15-18 year category is being held on rotation basis in schools with some yet to begin their vaccination sessions. Although health ministry guidelines don’t make written consent from parents mandatory, the health department had initially circulated the forms and schools are ensuring that parents give their assent. The target population of the 15-18-year-olds is 74,192 and the state that has already received around 75,000 doses is expecting another one lakh doses. The adolescents will take the second dose of their Covaxin after 28 days. State epidemiologist Dr Utkarsh Betodkar told reporters that Covid patients currently hospitalised are those who are either unvaccinated or have comorbid conditions, of which uncontrolled diabetes tops the list. Another 796 persons in the 18+ category took their first dose of the vaccine on Tuesday and 2,478 their second dose.
Inoculation against COVID-19 for 15-18 age group in 529 schoolsPanaji: The state will kick-start COVID-19 vaccination for children in the age-group of 15-18 from Monday.The Directorate of Health Services (DHS) is targeting to complete the first dose of vaccination for an estimated 72,000 eligible beneficiaries in the 15-18 age group in the next four days. Children can register and book vaccination slots online on CoWin portal or do spot registration when the DHS team visits their schools.Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had informed about the decision of his government to expand the country’s COVID-19 vaccination drive so as to include children between 15 and 18 years of age.All such teenagers in the state will be administered the first dose of Covaxin at their respective government, government-aided and private secondary and higher secondary schools from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A special vaccination room has been made ready for the purpose in altogether 529 schools around the state.These youngsters – mostly students from class X to XII – will receive their second dose 28 days following administration of the first. The educational institutions will also provide manpower to the officials of the DHS during the vaccination exercise.Director of Education Bhushan Sawaikar informed this daily that the parents of the teenagers receiving the vaccine would have to sign a related consent form. He further informed that those teens between 15 and 18 years, who are not studying in any school or are dropouts can visit health centre near their place of residence and avail the facility of the vaccine.The students will be kept under observation for half-an-hour following the administration of the vaccine.In the event of the youngsters failing to take the first dose of vaccine during the week-long vaccination drive, they would be referred to the nearby health centre. Such students will be allowed to take the vaccine at the health centre every Wednesday.The students will also be provided with a helpline number so that they can get replies to their pre-vaccination as well as post-vaccination queries.Meanwhile, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane informed that necessary arrangements and preparations have been made by the DHS to roll out the vaccination and added that multiple teams of healthcare workers and professionals have been formed to inoculate the children.Earlier in the day, Rane attended a virtual meeting, along with senior health officers, that was chaired by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to review the state’s preparedness to tackle the worsening of COVID-19 situation and also to intensify vaccination drive to further improve coverage.“There is a need to flatten the (rising COVID-19) curve to stop the spread of the virus. I have suggested that there should be a uniform guideline for every state and if required freedom to tweak and implement it,” Rane said interacting with media persons after the meeting.He claimed that “several” passengers of a cruise ship that arrived from Mumbai to Goa have tested positive for COVID-19.“The particular ship has over 2,000 passengers and several of them have been found to be positive. I have issued directions that they shouldn’t be allowed to dock the ship until everyone is tested,” Rane said.
Panaji: Health minister Vishwajit Rane said on Sunday that 72,000 students in the 15-18 age group would be administered the first dose of the Covid vaccine Covaxin within four days, beginning on Monday. Last week, PM Narendra Modi, in a public address, had opened the vaccination drive to this age group, as well as to senior citizens with comorbidities. Rane said that the government is ready to administer the first dose to students aged 15-18, and added that the state has sufficient vaccines to vaccinate them. The students will be administered the vaccine across 529 schools. The health department is planning to vaccinate as many students as possible in this age group within the next four days, so that the vaccination doesn’t overlap with the third wave, said director of health services Dr Ira Almeida. The director said this would also leave students with enough time to build immunity, so that they do not contribute to the spread of the virus. The expert committee recently recommended that all schools be shut for 15 days during the current surge in Covid-19 cases. Immunisation officer Dr Rajendra Borkar said that consent forms from parents are not mandatory, and children can get vaccinated at their schools, which are coordinating with the health department. Those who have comorbidities or are anxious about taking the vaccine can opt to get it done at a district hospital or primary health centre on Wednesday mornings, he said.
Many states and UTs are soon expected to achieve 100 per cent vaccination very quickly, the statement said. (File photo/PTI)Schools Shut, Offices Allowed With 50% Workforce from Monday: Bengal Govt Issues Covid Curbs. Check HereThe West Bengal government on Sunday announced to re-impose stricter Covid-related restrictions due to the surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the state. At a press conference, Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi said the new restrictions will come into effect from January 3 and will be in place till January 15. READ MOREGoa Aims to Vaccinate All 72,000 Children in 15-18 Age Group with First Dose in Next 4 Days: MinisterThe Goa government is aiming to inoculate all 72,000 children in the 15-18 age group against COVID-19 with the first dose in the next four days after vaccination opens for them on Monday, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said on Sunday. Rane attended a meeting of Health Ministers of states chaired by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. READ MORETMC"s Presence in Goa to Help BJP in Polls, Claims Sanjay RautGoa Reports 1,789 Covid-19 Cases; Positivity Rate Up to 23.25 PcKareena Kapoor Khan Praises Brother-in-Law Kunal Kemmu’s Caption Game on This Adorable Pic With Soha Ali KhanKareena Kapoor Khan, who shares a very close bond with her sister-in-law Soha Ali Khan and her husband Kunal Kemmu was recently impressed by the latter and that too for his caption game. The actor took to Instagram to share a couple of photos with her, in one of which they can be seen embracing each other. READ MOREAAP Slams Channi Govt for Not Arresting Majithia as His Photos Surface OnlineAAP leader Raghav Chadha on Sunday slammed the Charanjit Singh Channi government in Punjab for not arresting Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia who has been booked under the NDPS Act. Alleging that Majithia is roaming around openly, Chadha claimed that pictures of the Akali leader surfaced on social media on Saturday showing him paying obeisance at the Golden Temple. READ MOREIt’s Been a Pleasure to Work With Someone Like Virat Kohli: Rahul Dravid Hails Test Captain’s LeadershipTeam India head coach Rahul Dravid heaped huge praise on Virat Kohli for his leadership qualities and keeping the morale high of the group after arrival in South Africa. Kohli has been under a lot of scanners for his off-field controversies with the BCCI regarding his T20I captaincy relinquishment but the head coach feels that the 33-year-old has been absolutely phenomenal over the last 20 days. READ MORE2 Tourists Found Dead in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli Were from Mumbai: PoliceThe two tourists, who were found dead at a snow-laden alpine meadow in Chamoli district, were from Mumbai, police said on Sunday. They were identified as Sanjiv Gupta (50) and Sinsa Gupta (35), Joshimath station house officer Rajendra Singh Kholia said. Sanjiv and Sinsa had travelled to Auli, a famous skiing destination in the state, by a ropeway on December 31, Kholia said. The cause of their death is being investigated, he said. READ MORERead all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.
Goa will set up a genome sequencing machine in the next 15 days to avoid delay in the testing of suspected Omicron var.iant samples (Representative image/PTI)Panaji: The Goa government is aiming to inoculate all 72,000 children in the 15-18 age group against COVID-19 with the first dose in the next four days after vaccination opens for them on Monday, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said on Sunday. Rane attended a meeting of Health Ministers of states chaired by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.He said Mandaviya reviewed preparations for rolling out the vaccination drive. "Goa has already received 72,000 doses to vaccinate the children between the age group of 15 to 18 years, which would be administered within 3-4 days from January 3 onwards," Rane told reporters. He said teams of medical professionals will visit schools if needed. Rane said the Goa government was taking all measures as per protocols to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Responding to a query, the health minister said a cruise ship with 2,000 passengers on board was not allowed to dock at Goa port on Sunday. Operators of this cruise ship have been asked to conduct COVID-19 tests on all the passengers through the Vasco-based Salgaonkar Medical Research Centre (SMRC) Hospital before allowing them to alight.Rane also said Goa will set up a genome sequencing machine in the next 15 days to avoid delay in the testing of suspected Omicron variant samples, which are currently sent to the Pune-based NIV. He said Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will hold a meeting of Task Force on Monday in which certain measures are likely to be announced to curb the spread of coronavirus infections. .Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.Panaji: The Goa government is aiming to inoculate all 72,000 children in the 15-18 age group against COVID-19 with the first dose in the next four days after vaccination opens for them on Monday, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said on Sunday. Rane attended a meeting of Health Ministers of states chaired by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.He said Mandaviya reviewed preparations for rolling out the vaccination drive. "Goa has already received 72,000 doses to vaccinate the children between the age group of 15 to 18 years, which would be administered within 3-4 days from January 3 onwards," Rane told reporters. He said teams of medical professionals will visit schools if needed. Rane said the Goa government was taking all measures as per protocols to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Responding to a query, the health minister said a cruise ship with 2,000 passengers on board was not allowed to dock at Goa port on Sunday. Operators of this cruise ship have been asked to conduct COVID-19 tests on all the passengers through the Vasco-based Salgaonkar Medical Research Centre (SMRC) Hospital before allowing them to alight.Rane also said Goa will set up a genome sequencing machine in the next 15 days to avoid delay in the testing of suspected Omicron variant samples, which are currently sent to the Pune-based NIV. He said Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will hold a meeting of Task Force on Monday in which certain measures are likely to be announced to curb the spread of coronavirus infections. .Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.
The past year has been an emotional rollercoaster ride for us all. And if it taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable. Keeping this in mind, a few youngsters share with NT KURIOCITY how they plan to live life to the fullest in the year to comeI plan to cherish and value everything that I have been blessed with, especially my loved ones and I plan to attempt to make at least my corner of the world a slightly better place. I also want to try and become a better version of myself and be kind, compassionate, and brave.”Maryanne De Souza, photographer/videographer, MapusaAnticipating the uncertainties in the coming year, I want to make the most of every moment. I’ve decided to learn more skills and master them and create opportunities. I would like to spread happiness and joy with every being I would be encountering in the New Year. I have vouched to spend time with the special people who make my world a brilliant place. I also hope to spend my time more on experiences and not possessions.”Ivan Pereira, student, PorvorimThe last two years have made people understand the temporary nature of life. While some realised that spending time with our loved ones and enjoying life cannot take a backseat and stepped down, others took big leaps to chase their dreams. I plan to take every opportunity that comes my way be it for work or leisure without overthinking it. My goals are to travel and try new experiences with my people, meet new people, and most importantly to take bigger steps in my career without hesitation. Hopefully, this year is conducive for me to achieve all this!Saloni Pai Raikar, engineer, MarcelLife is full of ups and downs. The future is uncertain and unpredictable and the past is unchangeable. While the past year may have been rough on us, it provided us with a different outlook on life: “To live in the present.” So make mistakes, take risks, and don’t be afraid of the future. Follow your dreams, do what you love, and be there for people you care about.”Kevin Michael Fernandes, student, PorvorimLife is indeed unpredictable and I’ve concluded that I need to be present in the moment and make the most of it. Time with friends and family is so precious and the past two years have made me realise how we have all been taking it for granted. My goal is to go out more often, go on more adventures, and visit new places and restaurants. My resolution for this coming year is to build relationships with everyone and try new things and I hope to achieve it all.”Mellisa Pacheco, marketing executive, ParraIt’s critical to recognise that you don’t want to live in a prison built by your own imagination, and I believe this is where the majority of us fall short. That doesn’t mean you can simply wish for a new life; it does mean you can actively work towards experiencing life to its utmost potential. While this pandemic taught us about the negative aspects of life, it also taught us how to appreciate our own lives. Yes, the lockdown and the pandemic have taught us a valuable lesson about life: how to live, love, laugh, and be optimistic. Individuals should enjoy themselves in all they do, and I believe that people should spend their lives doing activities that bring them joy. Everything else will fall into place when you do things that make you happy. This may entail more than just finding the ideal job. Find something new to try today and set goals beyond what you believe you are capable of achieving now.”Narusha Leonath D’Souza, actor/model, CalanguteLast year was a blessing in disguise for me. Last year I lost the most, but also gained much more in return. I found my identity, set standards, and formed my boundaries – and more importantly, my mentality towards people and the world changed. My goals for the coming year are ones that I know I can accomplish if I put in the time and the work. The lockdown and isolation disturbed my mental health but with time I learned to enjoy my own company. In 2022, I want to enjoy every little moment in life and heal the negative things I went through. I hope to have one meaningful conversation with someone I trust or care about every day. I want to spend more time with my loved ones, explore the world, go hiking and trekking, and live an adventurous life if COVID-19 protocol allows me to do so. I will continue to do random acts of kindness. But in particular, I want to explore new ways to try and add a smile to anyone’s day, to help someone in a way that matters to them, not just in a way that is convenient to me. I want to learn and observe. I’m still indecisive about my future career but my goal is to learn and try various hobbies and skills and understand the challenges and triumphs that are a part of life outside my own. I want to spend an hour a day doing something completely unproductive. I want to go to bed when sleepy and wake up without an alarm; eat when hungry and stop when full. Most importantly, I want to make mistakes so I can take them as lessons for 2023.”Rohit Nikam, assistant pharmacist, Sancoale(Compiled by Ramandeep Kaur)
NT KURIOCITY speaks to Zinho Fernandes, who won the Jury’s Choice Award for his music video “Listen” at the Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival (DBGYFF) that was recently held in ItalyRAMANDEEP KAUR | KURIOCITYZinho Fernandes’ friends from his alma mater remember him as this tall, lanky lad with a mop of curls. His image may defy what he says, but he loved his books as much as he loved participating in every cultural and sports activity. It was in school that he fell in love with the guitar and this love for music has only deepened with time.He says: “Music for the soul, and books for the mind. I have always believed in the power of education to change our life for the better. It is very important to have a goal and work towards it.”And with this thought firmly in mind, he graduated from Don Bosco College of Engineering with a degree in computer engineering, and is currently pursuing audio engineering at AAT College, Mumbai.He recently won the Jury’s Choice Award for his first music video “Listen” at the Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival that concluded on November 19 in Valdocco, Italy. “I never thought this song would be recognised at a global level given the heavy criticism I faced when it was first released. Like I have written in the song, ‘I couldn’t believe how things worked out with you (God) beside me…”. He adds that it was a nice experience, “one gets what one deserves, do what you want to do, but at the same time keep in mind what the people want because in the end, we are making music for them.”A member of the Don Bosco Youth Services for the province of Panaji (DBYS – INP), Zinho received his award at a virtual prize ceremony accompanied by director, DBYS – INP, Fr Jason Coelho.The music video that took around four months to complete, was conceptualised during the height of the pandemic when people were in lockdown, and everyone was tense and in a state of fear. Zinho says: “I had this dream of writing and composing a song, but never got a chance. The reason being – I couldn’t sing and budget being another factor. But during the pandemic this opportunity came knocking on my door. Don Bosco Youth animator, Fr Jason sdb, asked if I could come up with a song on a small scale to give hope to the youth during these tough times.”This ignited a spark in Zinho. And being at home and affected mentally by the consequences of the virus and the stories he heard from friends and from the news, he thought of coming up with a song to give hope to the youth during these troubled times. The song revolves around having faith in God.The team that worked on “Listen” consists of Zinho’s juniors, classmates and the youth, his sibling and other friends. After penning down the lyrics, he found his music producer in Danver Godinho, a sound engineer by profession; and singer in Princeton Colaco, who was Zinho’s classmate in college.He further adds that the uniqueness of this song is that the entire video was shot on a smartphone by him and his brother Leander, who also edited the video. “It was a zero budget song, so it was difficult to get a videographer who would do it for free. We had a really tough time. That’s when I decided, ‘Well we have everything ready, why get disappointed with this fact?’ I decided to shoot the video on my phone,” he says.Another reason was because, he says, he has seen that many upcoming artistes struggle by spending a lot on videography and the recording process, and then there is no income, and the investment gets blocked. “So I wanted to set an example and show others that one can use any resources available for the first attempt and you’ll get what you deserve,” he says, adding that the lockdown was the biggest challenge as it was difficult to meet and practice.And as the team wanted the music video to create an impact, they got on board dancer Rohan Raikar to choreograph a routine for the song. The dancers comprised Berny Dias, Jocelyn Godinho, Sankalp Gadekar (his juniors from college) and Leander Fernandes.Zinho credits his brother for being the backbone of the project as he helped from start to finish, his parents and Fr Jason for his constant support throughout the song. Other people who helped bring this project to life were the supporting cast, advertising committee, and location scouts in Noah Rodrigues, Pandu Lamani, Mark Afonso, Joel Fernandes and Samuel Afonso.“Listen” was released under the Don Bosco Youth services channel and received over 5.9K views, says Zinho. “I got both good and bad responses. But, yeah, this is a music industry and one should give people what they expect.”After this song, Zinho, who plays the guitar and writes and composes songs, got the opportunity to work on more originals like “Ek Katha” by Samuel Afonso and “Amchem Sobit Moddgovam” by the Carmelite Monastery youth, Margao.He has planned to do a lot theoretically, “I have faith in myself and will achieve my dreams no matter what. I am still experimenting and trying to figure out which genre to get set in so that I can do justice with my work. If I could sing there would probably be many records out by now. But it is a blessing in disguise as I can reach out and collaborate with a lot of young talent and learn a lot in the process. So if anyone’s ready to collaborate and do something different, I’m happy to be a part of it.”Zinho says he has dedicated his life to music and making the world a better place. “I have moved to Mumbai from Goa to level up, face more challenges and improve my content.Someday I will reach that level and give hope to the other musicians as well, there is more to come, this is just the trailer…”
Calangute: The gram sabha of Candolim panchayat on Sunday saw owners of small guest houses and hotels urge the local civic body to reduce the trade licence and garbage fees owing to the long break due to the Covid -19 pandemic. âThe state government has not given any kind of relief to small and medium guest house and hotel owners even though we were under lockdown. At least the panchayat should give us some relief,â one stakeholder said. Candolim sarpanch Blaize Fernandes said he would look into the feasibility of the proposal. Gram sabha attendees also called for police to act against nuisance makers on the beach. Many tourists take liquor bottles to the beach and dump the empty bottles there, especially at night. The broken bottles then pose a danger to others, they pointed out. Villagers also said touts and pimps continue to be active on the beachfront, despite the presence of the tourist security force. Stakeholders also pointed out that 99% of the tourists visiting Candolim are moving around without masks, but none are being fined. The sarpanch said he would write to the police to take action. A number of other issues, including haphazard parking of vehicles on the roads and large resorts bringing in outside vehicles, thereby depriving local taxi owners of business, were also raised at the meeting. The state government has not given any kind of relief to small and medium guest house and hotel owners even though we were under lockdown. At least the panchayat should give us some relief