Times of India | 1 week ago | 18-09-2022 | 04:20 am
Vasco: Domestic cruise liner The Cordelia Empress, which is expected to arrive on September 30, will kickstart the cruise tourism season in the state. The first international cruise vessel is expected later in October, Mormugao Port Authority (MPA) officials said. MPA chairman Venkata Ramana Akkaraju said that this year, they are expecting 56 port calls, including 21 international cruise liners.Akkaraju held a meeting with key government departments and private stakeholders in order to ensure smooth operations for the season. Issues pertaining to taxi and bus operators were also discussed.“During the pandemic, domestic as well as international cruises came to a standstill. Now we are restarting both and we want to make the experience comfortable and a memorable one,” Akkaraju said.Construction of the Rs 74.1 crore worth new international cruise terminal on 55,000 sqm of land is expected to be completed by September 2023. “Till then, cruise liners will use the existing terminal,” he added. He said that standard operating procedures for enforcement agencies will be put in place so passengers and cruise operators have a hassle-free experience. “We are confident that all cruise visitors coming to Goa will have a good and unforgettable experience,” said Akkaraju.Goa usually plays host to about 51 international cruise liners including the M S Europa, Regent Seven Seas, M S Nautica, Ocean Odyssey, The World, M S Borealis, Silver Spirit and M S Ocean Odyssey. However, most international tourists do not disembark here.
PANAJI: Goa should focus on conserving and improving the population of sambar deer in its protected areas to help tiger conservation in the state. Sambar is the ideal prey for tigers, as it provides sufficient supply of meat for days and will allow tigers to stay and breed in Goa, said A J T Johnsingh, Padma Shri awardee, conservationist, and former dean of the Wildlife Institute of India. While subsequent ministers have often said that there are no ‘resident’ tigers in Goa and these big cats keep shifting base to the forests across the border, Johnsingh said proactive measures are required to get tigers to breed inside Goa’s protected areas. “Barking deer, spotted deer may not contribute to tiger conservation and gaurs tend to attack tigers. Sambar, once hunted, can be consumed for days. First, a detailed survey of the sambar population is required in Goa. There are sambars, but some years ago as many as 20 were poached. Sambar conservation in Goa is tiger conservation,” Johnsingh told TOI. He said the argument that a tiger reserve is not needed in Goa does not stand because though the state has almost 700sqkm of protected area, these have many human settlements within. “At least 150sqkm of core area is required with no human population. Any existing settlements should be rehabilitated. Simultaneously, efforts should be made to improve sambar population in the entire 700 sq km. And Goa will see results in five years’ time. Having a tiger reserve will earn Goa funds from the Centre for support staff, a good field director and vehicles to improve its protected areas,” said Johnsingh, who has helped shape the Wildlife Institute of India over his two-decade-long stint there. An interim cattle compensation policy is also vital for tiger conservation, Johnsingh said. “In Corbett, in the buffer area, more than 10,000 cattle have been killed over the years. But there is not a single report of tiger poisoning. This is because if Rs 20,000 is provided as cattle compensation to locals, Rs 5,000 of it is provided immediately as interim relief. Some wealthy persons from Goa should come forward to help with funds for such immediate relief in the interest of tiger conservation,” he said. Goa also needs more courageous forest officials, Johnsingh said. “We need forest officials who have courage to tell ministers what exactly is needed for Goa,” he said. Johnsingh also said Goa is not suitable for tiger safari focused tourism because of its terrain and other factors. “In Goa, one should focus on nature tourism, like birdwatching, reptile watching, amphibian watching, rather than tiger tourism,” he explained.
Margao/Vasco/Calangute: Three persons were arrested by the police on Sunday—one in Fatorda, one in Zuarinagar and one in Calangute—with ganja.Fatorda police on Sunday arrested a resident of Navelim after he was found with ganja worth nearly a Rs 1 lakh. Police sources said that the accused, Zaker Akbar Shaikh, 35, was nabbed from the parking lot of SGPDA market at Fatorda, on Sunday afternoon. Following a search in the presence of executive magistrate, Salcete, 986g of a narcotic substance, suspected to be ganja, was recovered from him.Calangute police nabbed a drug peddler, Muhammad Jafer Gudumia, from Karnataka with 1.1kg narcotics worth Rs 1.1 lakh near the Dolphin Circle at Calangute on Sunday. Verna police arrested a food delivery person with 63g of ganja worth Rs 6,300. Investigating officer Pravin Simepurushkar said the accused, Shiv Pratap Halwai, 24, is a resident of Vasco and native of Mumbai.
Panaji: GFP on Sunday questioned if locals stand to benefit from the tourism department’s jetty policy. Party president Vijai Sardesai also asked if the state government would share revenue with the village panchayats.While agreeing that river transportation could ease traffic congestion, Sardesai made it clear that he saw the jetty policy as a step towards the introduction of offshore casinos in other parts of Goa.“I feel some issues remain ambiguous,” he said. “Once a cruise terminal comes into existence, how long will it take for offshore casinos to mushroom in other rivers across Goa?”To back his suspicions, Sardesai asked the government if it has data on the number of Goans employed in the local cruise sector. He also pointed out that the government has not shown a preference for locals while issuing licences for cruise boats and jetty operations or for jobs created by the sector.Sardesai said his party welcomes the importance being given to river transportation, which is in line with eminent architect Charles Correa’s vision. He said that if the state government is serious about water transportation and cruise tourism, it should promote Mormugao Port as a cruise ship terminal instead of a coal terminal.
PANAJI: The availability of beef is likely to be affected in Goa as the state government has prohibited the entry of livestock into North Goa to prevent the spread of lumpy skin disease (LSD). North Goa collector Mamu Hage said that the director of animal husbandry and veterinary services has said that LSD is a contagious viral disease that primarily affects cows and buffaloes, and spreads rapidly through vectors. As per the order of the North Goa collector the entry of livestock “such as cattle and buffalo, from other states of India into the North Goa district, either directly or indirectly” is prohibited. Ahead of the tourism season that is likely to begin next month, meat traders said that the government should allow the transportation of healthy animals, else it would impact the supply of fresh beef in the state. “The problem is in north India, while animals in Goa or Karnataka are not severely affected by LSD. If there is a restriction on the transportation of animals, it will affect our business,” said Anwar Bepari, general secretary, Quraishi meat traders association. On average, Goa meat complex gets 10 to 15 animals a day, mostly from Maharashtra. “We will hold a meeting with all traders on Saturday to discuss the future course of action to provide for Goa’s daily demand for beef,” said the association’s president, Manna Bepari. The meat traders will also meet the director of animal husbandry and managing director, Goa meat complex, on Monday, to ensure that healthy animals are permitted to be brought to Goa. “These will be animals that are checked by veterinary doctors, that they are not infected with LSD and are therefore fit for slaughter. Only then will they be transported to Goa,” Bepari said. The government said that incidences of LSD have been seen in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Rajasthan, besides a few other states. LSD spreads through the bite of mosquitoes, stable flies and ticks. It can also spread through saliva and contaminated feed and fodder. The disease spreads more rapidly in warm and moist conditions. “This order shall come into force with effect from September 23, until further orders,” Hage said, adding that any person contravening the order will be punishable under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Over the past few months, the department has taken measures with regards to LSD.“We have initiated vaccination of cattle in Goa”, an officer said. “To a large extent, we should be able to control the spread of the disease owing to vaccination. All government dispensaries have been supplied with the vaccines to be administered in cattle,” he said. The self-limiting disease is notorious for the development of skin nodules, which is associated with fever, enlargement of lymph nodes and depression. The disease also causes reduced milk yield, abortion in pregnant animals and sterility in bulls.
Vasco: Thursday’s search of Popular Front of India (PFI) leader Anis Ahmed Mossa’s Baina home by the National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate and police forces generated shockwaves among local residents, who said they were clueless about his true identity. “It is shocking to know that he (Mossa) was associated with PFI activities and was operating from a flat located in the Housing Board Colony close to Baina beach for several years,” said councillor of ward 7, Ramchandra Kamat. “The people in my ward were in the dark for the past several years over PFI’s activities. They woke up on Thursday morning with a shock after noticing several security agencies surrounding and cordoning off the flat at Housing Board Colony,” he said.During the search, incriminating documents, cash, and several digital devices were seized. Mossa, PFI’s central committee member and a resident of Bengaluru, used to frequently visit Goa. He left the state over 15 years ago and is among PFI’s top leaders. Kamat, who said he was a childhood friend of Mossa and had attended the same school as him, slammed the local police for not being aware of the kind of activities being conducted by Mossa and PFI.“Mossa, who was occupying the flat at the Housing Board Colony, was spotted in the Baina locality some 12-15 years ago. He was last believed to be in Bengaluru, Karnataka. His father is said to be working on a barge, while one of his two brothers has a fishing business and the other is a mason. His sister resides at Mangor Hill,” Kamat said. He wondered why Mossa, who came from a family of good repute, would have links with PFI.“The flat at Housing Board Colony were Mossa used to reside is presently occupied by a maulana. People have noticed children visiting the flat, creating suspicions that it could be a madrassa,” said Kamat.