Panaji News

Wont support BJP, say Aldona, Calangute taxi owners
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

Calangute/Mapusa: Taxi owners from Calangute, Aldona and other coastal areas have decided to ensure the defeat of BJP in the upcoming assembly elections. Talking to reporters at Calangute on Saturday, taxi union leader Bappa Korgaonkar along with other tourist taxi owners, black-yellow taxi owners and rent-a-bike and rent-a-cab operators said the BJP government had brought about a lot of hardships to them, forcing them to repeatedly come out on the streets to safeguard their livelihoods. “Despite giving us assurances that GoaMiles would not be allowed, it was brought in through the back door,” they said, pointing out that they were forced to agitate, along with their family members, for days at Azad Maidan in Panaji to press for their demands. Further, they said that despite the government’s promise to subsidise fitment of digital taxi meters, it has not been easy for them to get a refund. They also said that during the first Covid wave, when they were without any business for months, they did not receive help from the government. “We will support whichever candidate is able to address our issues, but we do not want BJP to form the government again,” they said. Meanwhile, Aldona Congress candidate Carlos Alvares Ferreira received a further boost to his election campaign after taxi operators from across Aldona constituency as well as taxi unions from across Goa extended their support to him. Taxi operators met Ferreira, who assured them help to resolve their problems.

Wont support BJP, say Aldona, Calangute taxi owners
Goa polls: All eyes on defectors as BJP looks to gain ground in Tiswadi
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

Tiswadi is all saffron at the moment, but these are not the natural colours of the taluka. In 2017, Congress won three of the five seats. By 2019 when by-election was held for Panaji, following the death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, the party added another one to its tally with Atanasio Monserrate winning the Panaji constituency for Congress for the first time in 25 years. All seemed good for Congress in the taluka, until Monserrate led nine other MLAs and joined BJP. Four of those ten were from Tiswadi, and what looked like an encouraging situation for the party in its stronghold turned into a nightmare. All five MLAs in the taluka now – Francisco Silveira (St Andre), Antonio Rodrigues (Santa Cruz), Pandurang Madkaikar (Cumbarjua), Atanasio Monserrate (Panaji) and Jennifer Monserrate (Taleigao) – belong to BJP. “People of Goa now want to kill the virus of defection,” said Congress president Girish Chodankar. “Monserrate is the father of the defection virus, and the moment he is defeated, the message will be loud and clear.” All four defectors are now contesting on BJP tickets, confident that they can win on their own strength, never mind that in at least two constituencies – Santa Cruz and Taleigao – BJP has never tasted success. In neighbouring St Andre, the saffron party won just once, in 2012, when the anti Congress wave was just too strong. Can Congress, up against the might of well-established politicians, still triumph with new faces? At least Chodankar thinks so, but it’s easier said than done. In Panaji, for example, Monserrate is still the boss. Congress has fielded Elvis Gomes, AAP’s chief ministerial candidate in 2017, but the former CCP commissioner has received little support from Congressmen in the city as former mayors – Surendra Furtado and Uday Madkaikar – conveniently look the other way. In Taleigao, the candidature of Tony Rodrigues, formerly with BJP, has gained momentum as he takes on the might of the Monserrates who have triumphed there since 2002. Rodolfo Fernandes, son of former Santa Cruz MLA Victoria, is gaining ground in a constituency that has elected Congress MLAs in six of the last seven elections, while in Cumbarjua Rajesh Faldesai is locked in a three-cornered contest that also involves BJP and TMC. In St Andre, Silveira has lost just one since 1999. “Tiswadi is a Congress stronghold and the party has done well here historically, but in a state where individuals matter more than the party, we have to see if the new faces work,” said a poll observer. Having won from three different constituencies since 2007, Monserrate is the biggest influencer in the taluka. His wife Jennifer won in Taleigao on his ‘generosity’ alone, and helped Tony massively to triumph in Santa Cruz in 2017. This time, though, Monserrate hasn’t as yet stepped into Santa Cruz. First, of course, because his choice – former Taleigao sarpanch Agnelo D’Cunha – was denied the BJP ticket, while his battle with Utpal Parrikar in Panaji has meant he doesn’t have too much time to campaign elsewhere. BJP were aware of Monserrate’s strength in Tiswadi when they decided to stick with him, ignoring the claims of Utpal for the party ticket in Panaji. It remains to be seen if BJP has backed the right horse.

Goa polls: All eyes on defectors as BJP looks to gain ground in Tiswadi
New infections below 200-mark
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

Panaji: Goa’s daily Covid-19 infections fell below the 200 mark on Saturday for the first time since December with a positivity rate of 5.4%. The daily mortality count also fell to one. The last time Goa had this low mortality count in the beginning of January. With 472 recoveries on Saturday, the recovery rate was at 97.4%. The state’s active cases were at 2,488. During the day, seven persons were hospitalised, 150 opted for home isolation and seven were discharged. tnn

New infections below 200-mark
  • New infections double, 13-year-old among 6 deaths
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Goa’s Covid case count doubled in a day with 469 new infections reported on Tuesday. The state also reported six Covid mortalities, including a 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. With 3,162 samples tested, the positivity rate was 14.8%. While the recovery rate was 96.8% with 910 recoveries, the state’s active cases were at 3,930. Among the mortalities, an 81-year-old from Valpoi was brought dead to the Valpoi health centre and a 70-year-old man from St Cruz died within 19 hours of admission at Goa Medical College (GMC) and Hospital. Four, including the 13-year-old, were unvaccinated, one vaccinated and data of the sixth person was unavailable. During the day, 16 persons were hospitalised and 453 opted for home isolation. GMC dean Dr S Bandekar said majority of the patients in the ICU are unvaccinated senior citizens.

CCP cancels licence of tea shop at KTC bus stand
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

Panaji: The Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) withdrew the trade and occupation licence of a ground-plus-one tea shop at the KTC bus stand and ordered that the business cease all operations immediately. The order issued by CCP commissioner Agnelo Fernandes has given respondent Tejas Kochrekar of M/s Harman Chahawala a month to obtain the necessary permissions, failing which, deemed action will be initiated against him. CCP found that the structure was built without a construction licence from the corporation, which is a violation of the provisions of the CCP act. Besides, development permission from the planning and development authority was also not obtained. However, the party replying to the corporation’s show cause notice produced permissions from KTC for allotment of space and an NOC for conducting the business.

CCP cancels licence of tea shop at KTC bus stand
  • CCP withdraws trade licence of tea stall
  • Navhind Times

    Staff ReporterPanajiThe Commissioner of the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) has withdrawn the trade licence of a tea stall allegedly constructed illegally at the Kadamba bus stand in Panaji.CCP commissioner Agnelo Fernandes, in an order passed on Friday, withdrew the trade licence that was issued on May 25 last year to run a tea stall.The CCP in its order dated February 11 directed to stop all operations immediately as the construction of the ground plus one tea stall was without a construction licence from the CCP and developmental permission from the Panaji Planning and DevelopmentAuthority.Acting on a complaint filed by activist Aires Rodrigues, the CCP, on January 17, had issued ashow-cause notice.Rodrigues in his complaint to the CCP had alleged that the concerned party had manipulated the Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) and managed to get a piece of land leased out at the Panaji bus terminal in totalviolation of law.He had also pointed out that the illegal structure was blocking the pathway and compromising the safety and comfort of passengers.

Goa elections: May give issue-based support, but will remain independent, says Utpal Parrikar
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

Your father Manohar Parrikar kept you away from electoral politics, so why take the plunge now? This is a complex decision and it’s not one point that determined it. BJP’s candidate selection was one of the reasons that, as they say, broke the camel’s back. It did not have to be me, someone else could have been picked. Last time when they denied me the ticket, I didn’t say anything. I accepted what the party said. Panaji is one constituency where you can still fight on ideas. You can still convince people of your vision, show them what you want to do and there will be a substantial number of people who will back you. The kind of politics coming into Panaji — where money is pumped in and then after being elected, people are taken for a ride — is disheartening. Over the last two-and-a-half years, I can see the city degrade. The past projects are getting completed or are incomplete. I am trying to save Panaji from falling into this trap of a strongman running the show. If I don’t do this now, I see Panaji becoming a fiefdom and we already have too many of them in Goa. Corruption is killing the entrepreneurial spirit of Goan youth. Enterprise is getting affected and that is disheartening. These are the fundamental issues that forced me to come into politics. Were you keen on contesting the Panaji seat after your father passed away? What did the party say while choosing Sidharth Kuncalienker for the BJP ticket? Anyone who is an observer of local politics will immediately come to know why I was denied by local leaders. I don’t want to elaborate on it. Your father was highly respected by the party’s central leaders, including PM Narendra Modi. Do you think the local leadership gave a wrong picture to the central leadership about you? The central leadership will go with whatever feedback they get from the local leadership. How would they know intricacies of local politics here? In the post-poll scenario, the perception is that you will support BJP if they need the numbers to form the government. How firm are you about staying independent? This question should be asked to people who are party-hoppers and to the candidate who BJP has given the ticket. He literally betrayed Congress voters last time. So how can a BJP voter vote for him? He will betray them also. If I get an elected as an independent, I will remain independent. The voice of the Ponjekar in the assembly is missing and my voice will be powerful enough to get things done for the people of Panaji. Issue-based support can always be worked out for Panaji’s sake. But as far as I’m concerned, my status in the legislature will be independent. Turning your back on the party that your father built from scratch in Goa and contesting as an independent in a constituency that your father represented for 25 years has big risks. Has it been a challenge? I have spoken my heart out and the people are on the same frequency. The kind of support I have got is because I am speaking what people are thinking. I just expressed it and acted on it and that’s why I’m getting huge support across the political spectrum. There is tremendous support, a silent wave. BJP said they offered you the choice of two other constituencies. As a loyal karyakarta, why didn’t you take up a ticket beyond Panaji? Once I take a decision, I go ahead. There’s my plan. The party is saying that I have been given options. But I am not the one who takes options. I am one who rejects options. This is a rarity and I consider it a virtue in politics. Easier options were given to me, which I have dared to reject. I consider it as a virtue because 99.9% of the politicians will accept whatever easier option they get. I have stuck to my stand, which has been a difficult stance. My word, my credibility is everything to me. I knew I had many options within the party and other parties were offering so many things, but unlike other people, I have stuck to my stand, putting my career at stake.

Goa elections: May give issue-based support, but will remain independent, says Utpal Parrikar
Goa elections: Big divide as BJP, son Utpal jostle to take Manohar Parrikar’s legacy forward
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

In the run-up to the February 14 elections in Goa, the nation’s gaze has been firmly on Panaji, the state capital. For 25 years (1994-2019), the constituency remained in the firm control of BJP and Manohar Parrikar. The death of the former chief minister in 2019, however, saw Congress take control through Atanasio Monserrate. Even though the legislator is now the saffron party’s candidate, they’ve hit an unlikely bump. Parrikar’s son, Utpal, staked claim for the ticket, keen to take his father’s legacy forward. He was turned down, only for him to rebel and now contest as an independent. Utpal’s decision to rebel and take on the might of BJP in a constituency where his father was MLA for close to 25 years has grabbed national attention. Everyone’s keeping their choice close to their chest. Congress has fielded former bureaucrat Elvis Gomes, AAP’s chief ministerial candidate in 2017, but the constituency is likely to witness a straight fight between sitting MLA Monserrate and Utpal. “We do not want to take sides in this battle,” said a voter from Mala, where BJP has big influence. “We have made up our minds whom to vote, but do not want enmity with any of the candidates.” Monserrate is a seasoned politician. He has won from three difference constituencies – Taleigao (2002, 2007), Santa Cruz (2012) and Panaji (2019) – and has remained popular with a section of the electorate for his “helping nature.” Utpal is making his debut, while Gomes -- expected to increase the party’s vote share in the constituency – has shifted his base from Cuncolim to Panaji. “It’s an interesting battle,” said a political observer from the city. “While Babush (as Monserrate is known) is helped by his strong connect with the people and has backing of BJP’s organisational setup, Utpal has his own plusses. He’s a highly-educated young candidate, has a clean image and, not to forget, he’s Parrikar’s son. Gomes also has support as he is a former bureaucrat, non-corrupt and a candidate with clean image.” If Utpal tastes victory on debut, it will be the first time in more than 40 years that Panaji reposes its faith in an independent. Vishnu Naik was the last independent candidate to win from here in 1980. “It would be a major embarrassment for BJP if it fails to win the seat as it was represented by their tallest leader (Parrikar),” the political observer said. BJP voters in Panaji are caught between Parrikar’s ideology and his legacy. “Bhai (Parrikar) always taught us that no matter what, party always comes first, and then an individual. We would follow his teaching in this election too,” a local from central Panaji, who has worked closely with the former chief minister, said. Another staunch supporter, however, is throwing his weight behind Utpal, believing that he is the right candidate to take Parrikar’s legacy forward. “The goud saraswat brahmin (GSB) community, to which Parrikar belonged and also had their support all these years, is divided between Monserrate and Utpal. There are nearly 3,700 GSB voters in Panaji and both (candidates) are trying hard to garner maximum support from them. Their votes could hold the key for smooth sailing in Panaji,” another political observer said. A member of the Catholic community in Panaji said the constituency has nearly 8,000 Christian votes and could be another major factor. “Many from our community had rallied behind Parrikar earlier, but most were hesitant to vote for him as he belonged to BJP. This time it would be interesting to see whom they vote,” he said. The constituency has its own share of problems with unemployment on everyone’s mind. “It’s Friday today and not a holiday. If we were employed, we wouldn’t have been sitting idle here. We are all graduates. We want an MLA who will seriously take up the issue of providing us with employment opportunities,” said a group of youth at St Inez. AAP has fielded Valmiki Naik who in 2017 polled almost 2,000 votes and it remains to be seen whether he can better his tally. Congress could have given BJP a run for its reputation in Panaji but appears to be divided. Former CCP mayor and councillor Uday Madkaikar, who was in the race for Congress candidature, has openly extended support to Utpal after he was denied a ticket. Former CCP mayor and councillor Surendra Furtado, whose stronghold are the Miramar and Campal areas, was also in the race, and having been turned down, chose to stay silent. For most voters, silence is the best option until they cast their vote on February 14.

Goa elections: Big divide as BJP, son Utpal jostle to take Manohar Parrikar’s legacy forward
Splurging money will not help, promises need to be delivered
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

Panaji: Congress candidate for Panaji Elvis Gomes said that “splurging money will not help” because the people have already decided what they want. “Congress has its own base. People are fed up with BJP and they are rooting for me. Monserrate has not fulfilled a single promise made to the people,” Gomes told TOI on Friday, when asked if he was finding the going tough against BJP’s Atanasio Monserrate. Gomes was declared a candidate late, leading to a delay in his campaign, but it will not affect his chances, he said. “As a Congress candidate, I have my space. Plus, my past association with Panaji on several occasions as commissioner of the city, and having a direct touch with people, holds good for me,” he said. Besides the late declaration of his candidature, Gomes did not receive full support of the party’s Panaji block. Former mayors Uday Madkaikar and Surendra Furtado, who were ticket aspirants, were not pleased when the party nominated Gomes. They were not seen campaigning for Gomes, and Madkaikar canvassed for Utpal Parrikar, late CM Manohar Parrikar’s son, who is an independent candidate. Gomes said “too much importance was given to some functionaries. People have accepted me as the Congress candidate and they find me formidable. Plus, there are several Congressmen supporting me”. He said he had tried to reach out to them to get their support. “I met them, but their overt support has not come. It also shows that their intentions are other than a victory for the party,” he said. Utpal has garnered some support since he started canvassing, but Gomes said he does not seem like a threat. He also said that rebuilding the city’s crumbling infrastructure will be his first priority.

Splurging money will not help, promises need to be delivered
Double-engine govt has failed Goa, says TMC
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

Panaji: Upping the ante on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived for a political rally in the state, TMC threw 15 questions at him, demanding to know what the BJP double-engine has done for Goa. Rajya Sabha MP and TMC Goa co-incharge Sushmita Dev said that BJP’s double engine sarkar has failed to meet the aspirations of Goa. “Your double-engine government has given three linear projects, which are in complete ignorance of Goa’s ecosystem. Today, this double-engine sarkar, which had said that Panaji will be one of the smart cities with an outlay of Rs 608 crore, can only say they spent Rs 16 crores and that too for beautification,” Dev said. The other questions posed to Modi are about women’s safety, corruption, Covid-19 mismanagement, inflation, rising fuel costs and employment generation, among others. “I want to ask this double-engine sarkar why no action has been taken on the corruption accusations raised by a man who holds the constitutional post of a governor. What this double-engine sarkar has done is that it has ensured double prices of petrol and diesel,” Dev said. TMC vice-president Rajendra Kakodkar said that BJP and Congress were two sides of the same coin while Dev said that it is convenient for BJP to have only Congress in the opposition. However, Dev said that TMC is willing to do anything to keep BJP out of the government even if it means aligning with Congress after the elections.

Double-engine govt has failed Goa, says TMC
4 Covid deaths on Wednesday, positivity rate at 10.6%
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

Panaji: Four men lost their lives to Covid-19 over the past 24 hours while 296 new infections and a case positivity rate of 10.6% has been reported. Of the four deceased, two were unvaccinated and one had taken a single dose of the vaccine. No vaccination information was available of the one who died at a private hospital. A 57-year-old man from Bicholim with obesity and other complications was brought dead to the North Goa district hospital, Mapusa. He had taken one dose of the vaccine. A 32-year-old man from Sawantwadi with chronic kidney disease died within 19 hours of admission at GMC. He was unvaccinated. A 64-year-old from Porvorim died of Covid pneumonia after 17 days in hospital. He had diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney disease and was unvaccinated. A 75-year-old from Margao, who died after 10 days in a private hospital, had hypertension, chronic kidney disease and heart disease besides meningoencephalitis. Meanwhile, 22 persons were hospitalised on Thursday, double that of Wednesday. The number of active cases fell to 3,202. A total of 274 persons opted for home isolation. Fourteen persons were discharged from hospital and 618 recoveries were declared over the past 24 hours.

4 Covid deaths on Wednesday, positivity rate at 10.6%
  • Goa: 8 Covid deaths, 221 new cases on Monday
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Goa reported eight mortalities and 221 new Covid-19 infections with a positivity rate of 7.7% on Monday. Six of the deceased were unvaccinated, including a 42-year-old from Vasco, while two of them were double-vaccinated. There were 24 hospitalisations with 197 persons put in home isolation over the past 24 hours. 28 people were discharged, while 500 persons recovered. Active cases are currently at 4,377. GMC dean Dr S Bandekar said there are 15 Covid patients in ICU at Goa Medical College, of which only three are vaccinated. “The three have severe Covid, however, the others who are unvaccinated don’t have severe Covid but other comorbidities like chronic kidney failure,” Bandekar said. Majority of the deaths during this wave have been among the elderly who are unvaccinated, he said.

  • Goa: Fresh Covid infections less than 500 after over a month
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The daily case count continued to fall as Saturday registered 472 Covid-19 infections. With 1,219 recoveries, the state’s active cases were at 5,215. While the positivity rate reduced to 10.6%, the day saw six Covid-19 deaths. Of the six mortalities, two were unvaccinated, two double-vaccinated, one partially vaccinated and information for one was unavailable. Officials of the Goa Medical College (GMC) and Hospital said two persons— an 80-year-old vaccinated man from Vapoi and an 82-year-old unvaccinated woman from Carmona, died primarily of Covid-19. In the others, Covid-19 was an incidental finding. Two women in their 80s died within 24 hours of admission at GMC. Besides, a 50-year-old partially vaccinated man from Mungul, having chronic liver disease, and a 38-year-old man with alcohol dependence, died at the South Goa district hospital. Daily hospitalisations fell from 52 on Thursday, to 28 on Friday and 25 on Saturday. While 15 were discharged from hospitals, 447 opted for home isolation. The weekly district-wise positivity rate has also reduced. For the week between January 28 and February 3, North Goa recorded a weekly positivity rate of 28.5% and South Goa 22.5%. More than 72% of the tests conducted on Saturday were RT-PCR and the rest were rapid antigen tests.

  • New Covid cases at 595, 19 deaths in two days
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: With 10 Covid-19 deaths reported on Friday, Goa’s fatality count shot to 3,727. In two days, 19 people have succumbed to the infection in the state. The active caseload reduced to 5,958 with 595 fresh infections and 1,322 recoveries reported during the day. The positivity rate stood at 15.9% while the recovery rate marginally improved to 95.9%. Two men, whose identities were not known, were declared brought dead to the hospital. All others who died, including two women, were in the age group of 60 to 90 years. Of the 10 deceased, four were fully vaccinated and eight had comorbidities. Four patients died at the Goa Medical College (GMC) and Hospital while three deaths were reported by private hospitals. A 73-year-old man from Margao, having chronic kidney disease and other comorbidities, died at a private hospital within a few hours of hospitalisation. A 90-year-old woman from Sakhali died at GMC within 15 minutes of her arrival. Others were hospitalised for less than a week while a few of them were in home isolation after testing positive. During the day, 28 patients were hospitalised and 31 were discharged.

Goa elections: Utpal Parrikar splits party loyalties, gets helping hand from BJP and Congress
Times of India | 3 months ago
Times of India
3 months ago

Panaji: Days ahead of the assembly election, the candidates battling it out for Panaji have divided not just the 22,408 voters of the constituency but also spurred a division of party loyalties among politicians. In the heat and dust of campaigning, party workers are now rallying, not behind the party symbol, but behind candidates on both sides of the fault lines. Much to the amusement of voters and political analysts, mid-level politicians are now working against party interests in Panaji and Taleigao. The presence of former defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s son, Utpal in the poll fray has split party loyalties wide open, attracting support from within the BJP and Congress camps. A major factor behind this trend is Panaji BJP candidate Atanasio Monserrate, popularly known as Babush. Utpal is contesting as an independent from Panaji constituency where he was denied ticket by BJP. Former Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) councillor Menino Da Cruz, who left BJP and joined Congress in April last year, is openly working with Utpal Parrikar leaving Congress candidate Elvis Gomes high and dry in Panaji. Former Panaji mayor Uday Madkaikar, a one-time Babush loyalist, has ditched not just Monserrate but his new found love for Congress too and is now assisting Utpal. Interestingly, Madkaikar picks up the Congress banner whenever he travels Taleigao to campaign for Congress candidate Tony Rodrigues. Madkaikar was hankering for the Panaji seat and is upset with Congress for being rejected. The same holds true for another former Panaji mayor Surendra Furtado. Furtado, a Congress loyalist who wields tremendous influence in Campal and Miramar, has gone incognito, refusing to campaign for Gomes in Panaji. Sources say that Furtado has been calling his supporters, asking them to throw their weight behind BJP. “There was no better time for Congress to win Panaji, but our guys in Congress are known for indiscipline,” a Congress functionary said. “When you say that you belong to a party, there are some principles. Loyalty means that once the party feels that a certain person is the right candidate, the workers need to put aside their differences and back the party candidate,” a former BJP mandal president said. The electoral battle has also seen even staunch BJP karyakartas shed their party affiliation. Former BJP Panaji mandal president Deepak Mhapsekar, Vaidehi Naik and several others are canvassing for Utpal, in open defiance of BJP brass. “Each and every person supporting Utpal Parrikar has a personal ego problem. They have kept a gun on his shoulder and are firing at Babush,” a political commentator said. Former BJP Taleigao Mandal president Dattaprasad Naik has also extended his support to Utpal.

Goa elections: Utpal Parrikar splits party loyalties, gets helping hand from BJP and Congress