Panaji: Goans can soon hope to enjoy the goodness of the seasonal jackfruit in their gardens and plantations all through the year. Under a centrally sponsored scheme, Goa had finalised jackfruit as its ‘One District One Product’. Now an incubation centre has been approved to be set up in Saligao, where a jackfruit processing centre will be established.At the centre, a machine approximately worth Rs 35 to Rs 40 lakh will be acquired for freeze-drying the fruit.Just as imported dehydrated kiwi and cranberry fruits are available in the supermarkets for purchase, albeit at exorbitant rates, the local jackfruit produce will also be available now to be enjoyed through the year.“Just as heat is used for dehydrating fruit, cold is also used to dehydrate fruit. This is known as freeze-drying, which does not alter the taste of the food. At the incubation centre for jackfruit to be set up within the campus of the Goa State Biodiversity Board, vacuum packaging facility will also be available. The freeze-dried fruit needs to be vacuum packed so that the taste is not affected due to local humidity,” said a state official.While the machine is being primarily acquired to freeze-dry jackfruit, it will also be open to using the technology to preserve other fruits like mangoes.“The processing centre will be open to the public. Just as one goes to the oil mill with one’s dry coconut, locals will be able to get any of their excess fruit to the centre and pay a nominal amount to get it freeze-dried. The same technology works for other fruits too,” said the official.The ‘One District One Product’ scheme is being implemented in the state under the directorate of industries. In South Goa, a Krishi Vigyan Kendra will be established for processing of coconut.In December 2020, the government had finalised jackfruit and coconut at the product for North and South Goa, respectively, under the centrally sponsored scheme - Prime Minister Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) of the ministry of food processing industries.
Panaji: While efforts to poach legislators from the Congress camp remain on, party leaders insist that the numbers are far from the magic figure required to engineer a two-third split and a subsequent merger with BJP. A couple of Congress MLAs confirmed that emissaries from BJP are actively working to persuade Congress MLAs to join the saffron camp. Speaking to TOI, state Congress president Amit Patkar said that the “rebel” Congress MLAs will have to quit and contest elections again if they want to join the BJP. “They will not get the numbers for a merger,” Patkar said. “Seven of the MLAs are with us. I am confident about them.” Congress has 11 MLAs in the 40-member assembly. Some of the “rebel” Congress MLAs remain in close contact with BJP leaders, including a chief minister from one of the North Eastern states. .“It has become a prestige issue for BJP. Their high command is also displeased with the way things happened. For them, they cannot fail, so they will keep trying,” Patkar said. Speaking to TOI on anonymity, one of the Congress legislators said that BJP has received assurances from six Congress MLAs. On the eve of the monsoon session of the Goa assembly, six to seven MLAs were reportedly ready to join BJP. Names of opposition leader Michael Lobo, his wife Delilah, former chief minister Digambar Kamat, Saligao MLA Kedar Naik, Cumbarjua MLA Rajesh Phaldesai were among those doing the rounds. They couldn’t get eight as one or two MLAs developed cold feet on the day they were to sign a letter that two-thirds were splitting from Congress and joining BJP. That day, an emissary was deputed by the central BJP to oversee the developments and even the speaker was stationed in the legislature secretariat on a Sunday. “It is still on,” said one of the MLAs when reached for a comment. Kamat personally invited each Congress MLA for his granddaughter’s birthday celebration in Margao on Sunday evening. Political watchers paying close attention to the celebrations speculate that efforts were made to convince the remaining reluctant Congress MLAs to jump ship. As a pre-emptive measure and as a deterrent for the remaining MLAs, Congress has also filed disqualification petitions against Lobo and Kamat.
Panaji: Eight constables attached to different police stations across the state were suspended on Wednesday, after the owner of a Saligao-based restaurant filed a police complaint against them for abusing him.Police said that on Tuesday the eight constables went out to eat at the restaurant, after which they felt they had been overbilled. This led to an argument between the restaurant owner and the constables. The owner said that the constables then used abusive language and created a ruckus at the restaurant. The owner went on to file a complaint at the Saligao police station.Of those suspended, Prajyot Fadte and Pranesh Fadte were attached to Ponda traffic cell, Jayesh Agarwadekar to Vasco traffic cell, Sunil Mashelkar is a police constable in North Goa district, Vijay Patil and Vasudev Korgaonkar were posted at Vasco, and Sohan Tulaskar and Nitesh Borkar at Panaji.All eight have been suspended pending enquiry.
Panaji: The state election commission said on Wednesday that after scrutiny and withdrawal of candidates, 5,038 are left in the fray, of which 64 have been elected unopposed. The panel said that 621 candidates withdrew their nomination.Bardez has the highest number of panch members who have been elected unopposed (13), followed by Salcete (11) and Sattari (11).Bardez also tops the list with the most number of candidates, with 995 individuals in the fray for the August 10 polls for 186 village panchayats. The villages in Salcete will see 863 candidates battling it out for a seat in the panchayat.The talukas of Salcete and Bardez comprise 33 village panchayats each.Panchayat elections are not held along party lines, but the two main parties have fielded their karyakartas and supporters for the polls. Legislators in several constituencies ensured that their staunch supporters were elected even before the votes were cast.In Bardez , former Salvador do Mundo sarpanch Sandeep Salgaonkar (ward 2) and former deputy sarpanch Reena Fernandes (ward 3) were declared elected unopposed. This will be their second term as panchayat members, and both are backed by tourism minister Rohan Khaunte.Saligao MLA Kedar Naik also claimed credit for five panch members emerging victorious in Reis Magos on the final day for withdrawal.Archives and archaeology minister Subhash Phal Desai, who represents Sanguem constituency, saw four of his candidates being elected unopposed. Cortalim panch member Manuel Silva is the only candidate to be elected unopposed in Mormugao taluka.
Panaji: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Friday declined to interfere with the reservation of wards for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the panchayat elections scheduled for August 10. Five petitioners had challenged the state election commission’s July 13 notification reserving seats for OBCs in panchayats. Although the high court declined interim relief, it stated that elections to the village panchayats of Arpora-Nagoa, Candolim, Saligao and Parra “shall be subject to the outcome of these petitions”. The court stated that it declines any interim reliefs in the petitions “even though we think that the petitioners have made out a prima facie case about non-compliance with the requirement of the contemporaneous rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of backwardness qua local bodies by an independent and dedicated commission”. The high court stated that interim relief can “disrupt the election schedule, giving rise to a host of complications regarding compliance with the mandatory timelines provided under the Panchayat Raj Act and Rules”. On perusal of the OBC commission report, the high court at least prima facie found the exercise to be “more mathematical”. One of the petitioners, a general category candidate, challenged the SEC’s corrigendum on July 15 issued by the commission, where wards 5 and 9 earlier reserved for OBCs were substituted with wards 3, 4, and 9. The corrigendum dated July 15 simply states that the government submitted applications concerning reservations for nine village panchayats and requested the SEC to revisit the reservations of these panchayats. The corrigendum then states that the committee constituted to propose the reservation of seats examined the said applications, suggested modifications, and submitted the report to the commission. “In our opinion, this is a rather strange procedure followed by the SEC of entertaining applications of disgruntled persons simply because the government forwarded the same with a request to revisit the reservations,” the court observed. The high court stated that the sacrosanctity in reservation notification by the SEC was “sacrificed” by the SEC by acceding to the request of the state government for revisiting the reservation in nine panchayats based on some applications of the disgruntled persons. “At least, prima facie, we think this was most improper and, to a certain extent, reflects upon the functioning of the SEC and the state government,” the high court stated.
Colva: Beach goers at Colva are being greeted to tonnes of garbage filled plastic bags stored on land owned by the tourism department. The government-appointed beach cleaning agency has been instructed by the tourism department to utlise this space for storing the waste that will be subsequently transported to the treatment plant, an official stated. “Dry waste such as nets, plastic as well as cloth waste entangled in nets are collected and stored in plastic bags at the site for transportation,” stated an official of the Karnataka Commercial and Industrial Corporation (KCIC), the agency tasked with beach cleaning operations. Besides this, seaweed and discarded sandbags are also being dumped at the site. The land adjoins the nearby children’s park where massive erosion has destroyed two gazebos and some decorative electrical lamps. The beach cleaning official said that there is a restriction on accepting discarded nets at the treatment plant. “These nets have to be cut into smaller pieces, only then these are accepted by the plant. So our workers in their spare time cut the nets, segregate other waste from it and then transport the material,” said the beach cleaning personnel. “Since the onset of the monsoon, unprecedented quantities of seaweed washed ashore all along the coastal belt. Our labour force was collecting almost 400 bags a day. However, the treatment plant does not accept it, so we have to store the waste in this area, and with time it disintegrates. Large quantities of tree wood have also washed ashore this monsoon. This is transported to the designated area near the treatment plant at Saligao,” he added.
Porvorim: Power minister Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar on Monday promised to resolve all issues pertaining to his power supply in the state — cuts, low voltage, and upgradation of infrastructure — within a year. He also said that tenders would be issued to set up power sub-stations at Saligao, Ponda, and Verna, to resolve power shortage issues along the coastal belt, and to industry. “We have submitted proposals worth Rs 1,640 crore to the Union government to undertake underground cabling, change low tension lines, build new sub-stations, etc,” he said. “The Union government promised to fulfil the state’s demands. Within one year, you will see the change in power supply.” During question hour, leader of opposition Michael Lobo pointed out that power cuts and low voltage are the major problems in Bardez taluka and along the coastal belt. He said that during the peak tourism season, hotels, guesthouses and restaurants use generators, thus causing pollution. He asked Dhavalikar when the Saligao sub-station would be set up, to address these woes. In response, Dhavalikar said the tender would be floated within three months. “We will appoint a consultant, and re-estimate and float the tender,” he said, adding that as a temporary solution, the department would supply power from Bicholim and Tivim. In another question, Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai raised the issue of power supply to industries. “Industries associations have filed 23 complaints between May 10 to June 6 with regards to power outages. There were 686 outages between April 7 and June 27; 36 days, 8 hours and 27 minutes of outage have been recorded,” he said. Sardesai read out from a file noting that the government would purchase “expensive power” on request of high tension consumers. “The government purchased expensive power, but it did not reach industries,” the Fatorda MLA said. “This means the government focused on the deal to purchase power, but not on supply.” He also asked the government whether the loss to industry has been computed, and advised the government to upgrade the power distribution network so that industries don’t move out of the state. Dhavalikar, however, said that there were various reasons for the power interruptions to industry.
Panaji: Anjuna police arrested five persons in an alleged house breaking case, on Saturday. The accused allegedly decamped with ornaments of gold, silver, platinum and diamond and 3,000 Euros, in total worth over Rs 15 lakh. Deputy superintendent of police (DySP) Jivba Dalvi said that unidentified persons entered the house of the complainant by break opening the main door and committed the theft. The accused have been identified as Mithun Kumar Parihar, 30, Arun Kumar, 22, Sundar Khan, 21, Shaikh Raju, 23, all natives of Bihar and Param Chodankar, 23, a resident of Assagao. Police also recovered the currency and jewellery items from their possession. “Chodankar, who worked in the bakery of the complainant’s restaurant, was the mastermind of the theft. He showed Kumar the house and informed him of the timings when the house would be empty,” Dalvi said, adding that other accused worked at another hotel in Assagao and at a construction site in Soccoro. The accused persons were traced from different parts of the country. Dalvi said that the accused have also been involved in another house breaking case in Saligao and that they have recovered antique glass, silver jewellery, silver idols, watch, gold jewellery, camera and 100 Euros from the arrested persons.
PORVORIM: Seventy four per cent of the total active workforce of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) comprises women, minister for rural development Govind Gaude said in a reply to a question by Saligao MLA Kedar Naik. “The Rural Development Agency (RDA) has created awareness through various other schemes to maximise female workforce,” Gaude said in the reply. Gaude further said that various steps have been taken under Goa State Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) to promote entrepreneurship in rural areas. NRLM is a poverty alleviation project focused on promoting self-employment and organisation of rural poor. In reply to Naik’s query about the amount disbursed by the Centre to the state government under MGNREGS, Gaude said that while the state received Rs 290 lakh in 2021-22, Rs 213 lakh has been received in the current financial year till date for DRDA North Goa and South Goa.
Calangute: Tourism stakeholders have suggested that the sewerage treatment plant (STP) at Sauntavaddo in Calangute, which was completed around six years ago, could be made operational so that sewage from resorts and hotels in the tourist village — which is currently sent all the way to the STP at Tonca, Panaji, in night soil tankers — can be diverted there instead. Although the STP at Sauntavaddo was completed around six years ago, it has not yet been commissioned as the pipeline network along with the pumping stations is yet to be readied. Two pumping stations remain pending after locals opposed their locations. Work on the sewerage network at Calangute was launched by former chief minister Manohar Parrikar around nine years ago. With the tourism boom in Calangute over the past three decades leading to hundreds of medium to large resorts being built, waste disposal had become a major issue. While garbage was being dumped atop the Calangute-Saligao plateau, sewage from soak pits was sent in night soil tankers to the STP at Tonca. However, many small hoteliers, guesthouse owners and others would clandestinely release sewage into nullahs, roadside drains and other available places, leading to hygiene problems. To tackle this, the BJP government had begun work on a garbage treatment plant (GTP) and also a sewerage network for Calangute. Although the GTP was inaugurated around six years ago, the STP, while ready, is lying in limbo. “The machinery may have already become rusted. Since the sewerage network is not yet ready, the plant can at least be used to treat sewerage from the night soil tankers, saving long trips to Panaji,” stakeholders said. Calangute panchayat members from the area, requesting anonymity, said that stakeholders from Sauntavaddo are opposed to the STP being commissioned because the area, which is a prime tourist area, may start stinking. “They had said the GTP at Saligao would not stink, but people are now complaining that there is a stench coming from there. What is the guarantee that the STP won’t stink and affect the whole area?” they said. The sewerage pipeline network along with the treatment plant have been built at a cost of over Rs 100 crore through funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Ponda: Power minister Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar said that no industrial unit in Goa will have to shut down due to lack of electric supply. He said that despite domestic consumers getting preference in supply, his department will also ensure that the state’s industries get adequate power supply. The minister said an amount of Rs 50 crore has been allocated, especially to install transformers at required places, to step up the power. He also called on people to write to him if their area faces power shortages. “My staff will take all necessary measures to solve issues,” Dhavalikar said. He said that power supply has not dipped, and that the shortages have occurred due to rise in consumption. “Consumption of electricity has increased everywhere due to use of more electricity-run gadgets at homes. This has led to the need for new transformers wherever needed to step up the power,” Dhavalikar said. The minister was speaking after the electrification of a new 200KVA transformer at Chirputem ward of Bandora village in his Marcaim constituency on Tuesday. Expressing his discontent over the criticism the electricity department is facing, he recalled that he had taken over the transport department when it had a revenue collection of Rs 73 crore, but had an increased revenue of Rs 461 crore when he left. Dhavalikar said he will take all measures to improve the department. “Two new sub-stations will come up at Verna and Saligao,” he said.
Saligao: Anjuna police on Sunday arrested Masum Rehman, 27, a resident of Dangui colony in Mapusa, for being in illegal possession of 1.3kg ganja worth Rs.1.3 lakh. Rehman is a native of Kumarganj in West Bengal. SDPO Mapusa Jivba Dalvi said that information was received that the person would be coming to Vagator to deliver drugs to customers on Saturday night. Accordingly, PI Prashal Naik Dessai of Anjuna police station formed a team comprising PSI Francisco Xavier, constables Mahendra Mandrekar, Ramdas Harmalkar and Deepesh Chodankar and conducted a raid in which Masum was caught in possesion of Ganja, Dalvi said. TNN
Panaji: With memories of last year’s widespread flooding at Guirim and other parts of Bardez still fresh, Saligao and Aldona MLAs carried out an inspection of the pre-monsoon preparedness last week ahead of the rains. Conditions had deteriorated so badly in and around Guirim last monsoon that residents were left stranded at home for days and the authorities want to ensure that the situation is not repeated. The MLAs were accompanied by engineers of the National Highways Authority of India, public works department and water resources department. Aldona MLA Carlos Alvares Ferreira and Saligao MLA Kedar Naik inspected the area near the Bastora Green Park junction and asked officials to get the debris accumulated in the culvert underneath the highway cleared as it could block the water flow. “The engineers have assured us that the work will be completed or else this will cause blockage and flooding in various areas,” Ferreira said. Saligao MLA said that an inspection was held 20 days back followed by a follow up with the officials on the action initiated. “During last year’s flooding many villages were cut off. To ensure that this doesn’t happen again this year, we have told the officials that the debris needs to be cleared within the next eight days,” Naik said. Ferreira also said that WRD will take up clearing of the water hyacinth overgrowth in the Tar water body. “We met WRD minister Subhash Shirodkar and the department is now working on de-weeding and cleaning this stretch. The tender has to be issued, and I am positive that the work will be done,” he said. He also inspected internal roads, pathways, drainages, retaining walls and bunds in Corjuem last week. “During our inspection at Podval and Atolla, I saw that the water channels were blocked and fields and roads tend to get flooded. There is a need to clean the nullahs. Roads which were tarred 10-15 years ago need to be repaired. I have instructed the engineers concernedto take up resurfacing of such roads and construct roads wherever needed. Wherever NOCs are needed, I will approach the landlord to get this approval so that work can proceed,” he said. “For whatever urgent works that need to be taken up before the monsoon, I have asked the engineer concerned to assist us and for the other works the required tenders will be issued,” Ferreira said. The Congress legislator said there are also plans to desilt and beautify a pond located in Atolla water body.
Calangute: Members of the Calangute Constituency Forum (CCF) on Wednesday met Candolim sarpanch Blaize Fernandes and urged him to find a solution to the foul stench emanating from the garbage treatment plant (GTP) at Saligao. Fernandes told them that he has brought it to the notice of the plant’s management. He also expressed hope for an early solution. Waste management minister Atanasio Monserrate had recently assured the CCF that he would visit the affected areas to gauge the situation. “But now we have seen a statement from him that there is hardly any stench,” CCF president Premanand Divkar said, referring to some media reports.
Margao: Trial runs of the solid waste management plant at Cacora have begun. On Tuesday, machines were put into operation to treat dry waste on trial basis, which will continue for the next few days. Speaking to reporters at the site, Curchorem MLA and PWD minister Nilesh Cabral said that trial runs of wet waste treatment will also be held soon. “Once all the shortcomings are identified and fixed, the plant will be formally commissioned, tentatively on May 30,” Cabral said. Landscaping work is also under way at the site. The 100 tonne per day (tpd) solid waste management facility at Cacora has been set up under the aegis of the department of science, technology and waste management and Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) over an area of approx 81,000 sqm, which was earlier a waste dump site. The legacy waste dump was eliminated using the bio remediation method to make way for the setting up of the Rs 173 crore plant . The plant has been constructed on the lines of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility (SWMF) at Saligao and the design has been upgraded to take into account the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and the learning from the shortcomings at Saligao. The plant will have separate lines for wet and dry waste with the organic extruder being the heart of the system. The design and technical parameters of the plant have been vetted by an expert committee under the chairmanship of Padmashri Dr Sharad Kale with members from IIT Bombay, NEERI and BITS Pilani. Cabral said that the waste will be stored in an enclosed space inside the plant. Waste from four talukas – Quepem, Curchorem, Canacona and Dharbandara – will be treated in the plant, it was informed.
PANAJI: Minister for waste management Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate on Thursday said that the state government is committed to make Goa a garbage-free state and he will try to achieve the goal by 2027. He cautioned village panchayats stating that unsegregated garbage will not be accepted at the treatment plant. “Our government will ensure that Goa becomes garbage-free. I will see that the goal is achieved before the end of my tenure. Once the solid waste management plant starts functioning, the garbage problem will be solved,” he said. “Apart from wet and dry garbage, medical, electronic and other types of waste would be taken care of at the plant,” he said. “I will inspect Goa’s second solid waste management plant at Cacora next week. The trial run will start at this plant on May 10 and the formal inauguration will be done by May-end,” he said. “Treatment plants in the pipeline will be complete within the stipulated time-frame.” The waste management minister said that fresh tenders will be floated soon for the setting up of solid waste management plant at Bainguinim. This is the third time a tender will be floated for the setting up of the plant. The Rs 200-crore public-private partnership (PPP) project at Bainguinim will be built on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis, wherein the plant infrastructure will be erected by the concessionaire along with managing of operations and maintenance for a period of 10 years. When asked about the stiff opposition to the plant at Bainguinim, Monserrate said, “What oppose? We only create garbage and we need to find solution for it.” “First, people should come and see the Saligao plant. It is better to have a plant rather than dumping garbage at some place. That creates more health hazards. Sometimes we have pig mentality.”
Panaji: What started as a humble initiative to clean the ponds in the quaint village of Saligao ahead of the monsoon has escalated into a community effort to revive the water bodies for sustainable use. A total of 25 plaster of paris (PoP) idols of Ganesh have been fished out of five of the village’s ponds so far. “The idea was to encourage the villagers to participate in the common activity of reviving water bodies. We spent 20 days at these ponds fishing out waste, however, the PoP drainage due to the idols was immense,” said artist Harshada Kerkar who is spearheading the initiative. She has sought help from divers from Kolkata who work as migrant labourers in Goa. Along with the villagers, with the help of the divers, she has recorded about 25 idols that were fished out manually and there are more in counting. “Some of the idols were disintegrated and only their iron skeletal frame remains. The lotus population has dwindled in these ponds,” Kerkar said. “The whole idea is to encourage the villagers to take up some steps to reduce PoP drainage and hopefully cause less damage to the ponds in each passing year,” she said. PoP idols are made from hemihydrated calcium sulphate. When immersed in water, they do not dissolve or disintegrate fast, thereby causing irreversible damage to the riverine/coastal ecology or the ecosystem of any water body. This, in turn, has an adverse impact on marine life which is also consumed by humans.
Calangute: Leader of opposition and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Wednesday dismissed allegations made by a Calangute NGO that foul smell emanates from the garbage treatment plant (GTP) at Saligao. He called it “cheap politics” ahead of the panchayat elections. “They’re trying to show people that they’re doing some work. If they were really doing something genuine, I would be the first to salute them,” he said. Lobo, who was waste management minister in the previous government, said the NGO is missing the bigger picture. “What is important is that all the garbage goes to one place. When there is excess garbage during rush of tourists, and it is dumped on the tipping floor at the GTP, then there is some smell. That cannot be denied. But what is important is that garbage from the coastal belt is being collected there. Otherwise it would be strewn everywhere and people would get the stench there,” he said. “Earlier the panchayats used to dump the garbage here and there and then people would agitate and protest,” Lobo said.
Saligao: Following numerous complaints regarding the accident-prone junction at Peddem in Mapusa, Aldona MLA Carlos Alvares Ferreira, Mapusa MLA and Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) vice-chairman Joshua D’Souza along with other government authorities conducted a joint inspection of the area on Thursday The Mapusa MLA said that temporary installation of traffic signals has been proposed for the area, and that the Mapusa municipality will install the same after seeking permission from the National Highways Authority of India. “It is a dangerous junction. Residents of Acoi, Camarcazan and Peddem face quite a lot of problem while crossing over to Mapusa town. We need a long-term solution,” Ferreira said.
Panaji: The archdiocese of Goa and Daman received five new priests on Thursday. The ordination of the five deacons was held at Se Cathedral, Old Goa and presided over by archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao accompanied by over 100 priests. Melito D'Costa from Varca, Clive Diniz from Collem, Kevin Fernandes from Navelim, Alvison Baltazar Fernandes from Morjim and Elroy Francis da Gama from Moira expressed their desire to be ordained priests before Archbishop and the Faithful. The newly-ordained priests will now take charge of their new assignments. Elroy is appointed assistant to the parish priest of Saligao Church, Melito is appointed assistant to the parish priest of Grace Church, Margao, Clive is appointed as prefect of discipline at Saligao Seminary, Alvison is appointed assistant to the parish priest at Holy Spirit Church, Margao and Kevin is appointed assistant to the parish priest at Merces Church. Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao highlighted on the threefold role of a priest explaining that a priest is a minister of the word of God, who proclaims and lives by the word.
Panaji: The Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) has started the process of setting up a fourth solid waste management plant at Verna Industrial Estate that will cater to waste generated in Mormugao taluka and some parts of Salcete taluka. The plant will be set up in an area of 1 lakh sqm, and it will treat 250 TPD (tonnes per day) of waste. GWMC has asked the agency to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the plant. A senior government officer said that once the EIA study is completed, the report would be placed before Goa state environment impact assessment authority for environmental clearance. A senior government officer said that as the project is coming up in an industrial area, there is no need for conducting a public hearing. At present, one solid waste management plant is operational at Saligao, while the Cacora plant will be ready by the end of May. GWMC is in process of setting up a third plant at Bainguinim. Currently, the Saligao facility handles waste generated by 27 coastal village panchayats. The state government had issued the work order to Hindustan Waste Treatment Pvt Ltd in mid-2020 to expand the plant from 100 TPD to 250 TPD at a cost of over Rs 100 crore. The Cacora plant is being set up to cater to solid waste management needs of South Goa. The plant will have a capacity to treat waste 100 TPD, in addition to another 25%, of which 60 tonne will constitute wet waste and 40 tonne dry waste. The government had revised the project cost of the Cacora plant in 2020. Cabinet approved the revised estimate of Rs 173.9 crore as against Rs 189.99 crore approved in the cabinet meet held in February 2019. A fresh tender would be floated for a 250 TPD (tonne per day) state-of-the-art solid waste management plant at Bainguinim. This is the third time a tender will be floated for the setting up of the plant.
Calangute: The Chogm road stretch from Saligao towards St Alex church in Calangute will soon get a new look with coconut trees on both sides of the road, similar to the famous Parra church road. Calangute panchayat members said the two-lane road is now a four-lane road with a divider. “We’ve pledged to plant coconut trees on both sides of the road, just like in Parra,” they said, adding that they would be planting partially grown, 10-foot-high trees, just before the monsoon so that they grow well. Talking at the launch of hot-mixing work of the Chogm road stretch, opposition leader and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo said it has been eight years since work on improving the road stretch was started. “It was only 5.5m wide and widening of this road was necessary,” he said. Further improvements to the road were delayed because of construction of cross-drains and a bridge and lately due to laying of underground cables for the new power sub-station at Calangute, Lobo said. The cost of the project is Rs 7.5 crore. However, the locals have criticised the decision to demolish the landmark Dolphin Circle in front of the church. Panchayat members said the circle had to be demolished for road widening and that the new circle will have a landscaped garden, they said.
Calangute: The Calangute Constituency Forum (CCF) has, in a memorandum to the minister for waste management and Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) stated that residents of Candolim and Calangute are suffering due to foul smell and air pollution from the solid waste management plant (SWMP) located in the neighbouring village of Saligao. In the memorandum, CCF said that despite earlier complaints, foul smell from the plant continues to haunt them. tnn
Goan summers are incomplete without the locally produced urrac that helps beat the heat and pump up a party. But with the drink gaining way too much popularity, its makers are struggling to meet the demandDANUSKA DA GAMA | NT BUZZNo brownie points for guessing why sales of lemon-flavoured aerated drinks soar in Goa during summer. It’s the season of urrac!Made from fermented cashews, urrac is a single distilled 30 per cent alcoholic beverage typically produced between the months of February and May. It is best enjoyed by adding in some lemon-flavoured soft drink to a large peg of the drink, some slices of green chilli, a pinch of salt, and a dash of lime along with loads of ice.A drink that is close to the hearts of Goans with even songs composed on it like ‘Urack-Maruia’ by Goa’s nightingale Lorna, this refreshing but seasonal local drink has been enjoyed annually over the ages.While there is a lot of confusion about the correct spelling of the drink, it matters least to those who love the drink and share its goodness with others. While in some bars it’s spelled ‘urrack’, those in the business go by ‘urrac’.Production of urracSold locally, urrac is rarely available across the counter at liquor shops. Those who buy the bottled versions often prefer locally available urrac that is fresh and available only till May.Distilled in places like Pernem, Valpoi, Loutolim, and Canacona, production of urrac is mostly done by families who sell it to local vendors or bars through their contacts.“Goans have always enjoyed summer with urrac. We store them in a large glass garrafão, just like we store feni. But urrac has to be consumed by the end of summer, better if refrigerated,” says a tavern owner from Saligao.A cashew plantation owner from Latambarcem adds that this year the early rains spoiled the cashew crop. “This resulted in a much lesser quantity of urrac. But we need urrac to make feni, which has a longer shelf life and is always in demand,” he says.Jose Cruz, a well-known name in Loutolim and cashew plantation owner, who also grows betel nut and other local produce, has been distilling urrac and feni since 1995. He tells us that the lockdown in Goa increased the demand for urrac, being a seasonal drink, though feni has more production since it lasts longer. “Urrac is a dangerous drink and can make you really drunk,” he says. However, although he does not sell on a large scale like major distilleries, each year he sells no less than `1.5 lakh worth of urrac.His plantation that spans 1,00,000 square metres has been producing and selling urrac and feni and people in Goa are shifting towards local produce, people are very appreciative of urrac, and it also gives people a chance to concoct the drink differently, though most love it the lemonade way.Soaring demandLocals usually purchase urrac by the litre or in cans. “Today, a bottle costs anywhere between `200 and `260, depending on the popularity of the place and the quality,”says Kudnekar.In fact, Madame Rosa was the first company to bottle and export urrac. “Our PVV and Big Boss brands have been exported to the US too,” says Shreya Patil, event coordinator of Madame Rosa. She adds that every time they export a brand of urrac, it is a way of celebrating ‘Atmanirbhar Goem’, being ‘Swayampurna’ and respecting Swadeshi pride.Gurudatta Bhakta of Czcar distillery who also exports feni to the USA doesn’t produce or sell urrac. “We do a small quantity for ourselves. As it does not have a long shelf life with the drink losing its taste after the rains, this makes it tough to work with,” he says. Launi Feni is the speciality that is distilled in the traditional clay pot, besides other varieties made of spices and herbs, mostly for export purpose. About 400 kilograms of cashew apples are needed every year to produce at least 25 barrels of feni.The quality testWhile people wait the whole year to enjoy their share of urrac,there is little guarantee that the urrac you manage to lay your hands on is good or not so good.Owner of Cazulo Feni, Hansel Vazexplains the rules to check for good urrac. “It’s a high temperature distillate so it should be cloudy, and contain between 20- 30 per cent of alcohol. Anything stronger will not be nice. Another important thing is that it should have the aroma of cashew. It should smell like you are holding a cashew in your hand and it should smell like summer.”Urrac in cocktailsToday, one often also comes across mixologists in some fancy restaurants and pubs making cocktails with urrac. From adding orange and other juices to sweeten the drink to adding curry leaves to spice it up, the fancy cocktails can be enticing. But a true Goenkar will prefer to drink it like it has been consumed over the ages.Many believe the smell and taste of cashew is so unique to urrac that it gets lost when mixed with other stuff.For Gundu, a mixologist at the famous local tavern Joseph Bar in Panaji, this is the season for his favourite summer cocktail ‘Tambde Rosa’ (red rose), one of his signatures among other cocktails he makes. With urrac as the base, some kokum juice and crushed ice, he also throws in some rose petals and crushed ice. And it’s a favourite of neighbours around too, with whom he shares a great rapport and allows for some tasting sessions too.In fact, Vaz says that having urrac in cocktails is a gimmick. “You cannot overcomplicate a simple drink. I think feni is a complex drink and a high spirit cocktail. So, when it’s diluted in a cocktail it makes sense that you still get the flavours. But when you take a light spirit drink like urrac and dilute it in a cocktail, it goes even lighter,” he says.Then there’s also urrac gelato which has become quite something among youngsters and those who have the palate for something new.The new buzzwordIn Valpoi, a local vendor has earned a name for himself by infusing urrac differently. Ginger, garlic, lemongrass, masala, and jeera are some of the varieties he offers. When we caught up with him, we learned that he makes small batches for known customers or those who come through regular customers. He refused to be named as he doesn’t want to commercialise the urrac he makes. “In the last two years, many people came hunting for me,” he says, adding that he raised prices to meet demand and make extra profit. “I would normally sell for `250 a bottle but to outsiders I sold for `400.”Indeed, urrac has become a buzzword, especially among people who come to Goa from outside and one can often find a tourist entering a local bar and asking for urrac, with the most bizarre pronunciation.Vaz believes that the popularity of urrac has only increased withthe rest of India discovering the drink. “It’s something that the Goans have been drinking forever and now we have finally found the rest of India trying to understand our culture. And I think it’s simply because for the first time, we have Indians staying in Goa permanently. Generally, they come for a week and go back. So it’s a new breed of people discovering it and understanding our culture a little more,” he says.Influencers and social media have brought a lot of attention to urrac. It has now become ‘trendy’, ‘instagrammable’, ‘sought after’, and on the ‘to-do list’ of those visiting the state. “In fact, with the help of locals, tourists manage to reach distilleries, cashew plantations and those who sell good urrac,” says Kudnekar from Saligao.But Vaz, like others, believes that Goans shouldn’t be popularising urrac too much. “If we start selling too much urrac, we will not have enough to make feni. And if that happens, we will be killing the golden goose as feni is a regulated spirit. We cannot push an unregulated spirit at the cost of a regulated spirit,” he says.
Panaji: The Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) hopes to complete the 20-tonnes per day biomass briquette manufacturing plant at Saligao in the next three to four months, and hopes to commission the plant before December. The state government expects local pharmaceutical companies and manufacturing plants to use biomass briquettes as a fuel for briquette-fired boilers. The plant is being built under a design, build, operate, finance, and transfer basis for 10 years. The government had started work on the briquette plant in mid-2021 after the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) approached Goa Energy Development Agency (GEDA) with a proposal to set up a biomass briquette manufacturing facility that could treat the green waste generated in the state capital. “The biomass briquette plant at Saligao, we will see it completed by June. It is only a 20-tonnes per day plant and there is nothing of this sort in Goa. The use of furnace oil has been banned and the industries have switched over to biomass briquettes,” said GEDA member secretary Sanjeev Joglekar. Goa buys about 250 tonnes of biomass briquettes from Karnataka and Maharashtra. Verna Industrial Estate itself needs around 100 tonnes of briquettes per day after the prohibition of furnace oil. Joglekar said the state capital generates about seven tonnes of biomass on a daily basis, which could be used to make biomass briquettes. “We have a lot of biomass lying around from various sources like coconut and vegetation waste. We are starting the 20-tonnes biomass unit and hope to expand to 40-50 tonnes in the future as well as start another unit somewhere in South Goa,” said Joglekar. Biomass briquettes are brick-sized blocks mostly made of organic waste, which are then used for electricity generation, heat, and cooking fuel. These compressed organic briquettes contain various materials, including rice husk, bagasse, groundnut shells, municipal solid waste and agricultural waste.