Times of India | 3 months ago | 26-01-2022 | 01:46 am
Panaji: Director of health services Dr Ira Almeida said on Tuesday that although Goa has started seeing a decline in cases since last week, it cannot be said the third wave is ebbing. “The cases have dropped (but) so also the number of tests,” she said. “We will have to wait for a week to see if the cases are really dropping. Fewer cases have been reported in the last few days, so perhaps the Covid curve is plateauing.” If the number of tests conducted per day was in the same range as the last week, Almeida said, it could have been deduced with certainty that cases have been decreasing. “Today (Tuesday), the number of positives is more than yesterday,” she said. Normally, Goa sees fewer cases on Sundays and holidays, when most testing centres are closed. In the past three or four days, the number of tests per day has ranged between 3,000 to 5,000, while earlier, 7,000 to 8,000 or more tests were done per day. On Tuesday, 1,794 new cases were recorded for 5,597 tests, whereas on Sunday, 4,273 tests were conducted and 1,387 tested positive. After January10, the state’s daily average of new infections was 3,635 as the state recorded the sharpest rise in cases. The numbers have started dropping since Friday, and the daily case count went below the 2,000-mark from Sunday, corresponding to the dip in the tests. The highest single-day rise of the third wave so far has been 3,936 cases on January 19. Experts had estimated that in Goa, the third wave would take a downturn by the end of January or latest, by the first week of February. As declared by the health services, the third wave made its beginning in Goa on December 28. Second dose for kids from Jan 31: DHS Panaji: The directorate of health services will start vaccinating children in the 15-18 age group with the second dose from January 31. Around 80% of the eligible children have been vaccinated with the first dose so far, director Dr Ira Almeida told TOI. Almeida said that they have also received stock to begin administering the second dose to eligible children, which is to be given four weeks after the first dose. Regarding the precautionary dose, she said, they have received tremendous response from senior citizens, and 30% have already taken the third dose. On Tuesday, over 2,000 people were vaccinated in the general category, 772 were administered precautionary doses, and 21 children their first dose.
Panaji: Acting on directions issued by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA), Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd (IPSCDL) has commissioned a three-month rapid environment impact assessment (EIA) for the Rs 2.1-crore concrete jetty for fishermen at Ribandar. The project, which is being taken up under the Smart City mission, aims to redevelop the dilapidated wooden jetty currently used by local fishermen. IPSCDL wants to replace the existing jetty with a concrete wharf, which is expected to take 12 months to complete. The GCZMA has said that before any construction activity begins, the EIA and environment management plan needs to be prepared and submitted based on which environmental clearances will come in. “IPSCDL intends to appoint an agency to prepare the rapid EIA and EMP reports,” said an IPSCDL official. The agency will have to study the environmental regulatory requirements applicable for the fishing jetty at Ribandar. The study will focus on the impact on the land, ambient air quality, marine environment and the biological ecosystem based on which an environmental monitoring plan will be prepared.
Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Friday held a meeting with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and discussed the body’s proposal of establishing a Regional Indian Culinary Institute in Goa. Sawant expressed his support for the project in Goa and said that any tourism department building or a closed school building will be identified to run the institute from. The CM said CII could renovate such a structure and start the Institute after completing the required formalities. Sougata Roy Choudhury, senior director at CII, briefed the CM about the proposal. He said that the Regional Culinary Institute is planned in Goa by CII in partnership with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne of Switzerland. This will be in addition to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Swiss Professional Diploma program being launched with IHCL (Taj Luxury Hotel properties). He said the various regional cuisines in India have a rich heritage and potential and there is a need to create this “lighthouse for regional Indian cuisines”. The CII said this will enable locals to acquire the much required knowledge and equip them for job placements in India and abroad. Roy Choudhury said this institute will train local youth to match world-class standards in the hospitality industry, including hotels, airlines, cruise-lines, catering and travel industry.
Panaji: People using the Zuari bridge on Friday were put through tremendous hardship due to traffic jams with the usual 45-minute between Panaji and Margao taking them three hours and more. Some attributed the recurring problem to the lanes converging into single lanes on the Zuari bridge while others blamed police for poor traffic management. Traffic jams were seen on either side of the Zuari bridge — Cortalim and Agasaim — with rains worsening the situation. People brought out their four-wheelers instead of two-wheelers adding to the congestion. What aggravated the already existing problem was a car that had a tyre puncture right in the middle of the bridge in the morning making it necessary to call in a crane to clear the way. Later in the day there was an accident involving a four-wheeler and Kadamba bus where the party didn’t agree and wanted a panchnama to be filed. The spot was cleared later and passengers shifted to another bus. People appealed to chief minister Pramod Sawant via social media for a solution to the Cortalim-Agasaim traffic mess. “@DrPramodPSawant We didn’t mind when the petrol price crossed 105. But what the point in wasting 4/5 litres in traffic jam? #trafficmanagement #Goa #Megablock,” one netizen tweeted. “@Goapolice1091 huge traffic jam at Zuari bridge due to mismanagement by policemen stationed there @DrPramodPSawant @goacm @DGP_Goa,” another tweeted. DYSP traffic, South Goa, Dharmesh Angle said traffic police were on their toes trying to address the problem. He said there was additional strain on the traffic as people who otherwise travel by two-wheelers brought out their four-wheelers due to the incessant rains. The tyre puncture on the bridge and the accident stopped traffic as a result of which vehicles kept piling up on either end of the bridge, he said. At any given time 35 to 55 vehicles pass over the Zuari bridge every minute, he said, adding that, in the event of an accident, the stoppage of traffic even for five minutes has cascading effects on traffic on both sides of the bridge and this backlog continues. A government official told TOI that there is no solution to the traffic problem as multiple lanes on either side of the bridge converge into a single lane on Zuari bridge. “The bridge carpet can only allow one lane. The bottleneck is Zuari bridge itself. People will require to have patience till the new bridge is opened,” he said. Meanwhile, traffic police have permitted bridge work to take place on either side of the bridge, which may affect traffic, only during non peak hours, Angle said. He said the contractor has been asked not to carry out any work that will block the maximum width of the route during peak hours. Traffic police have found that the majority of jams take place on Saturday when officer goers leave for their native places and when families get out for the weekend. “It’s unfortunate that the government has not been able to find a solution and address the plight of the commuters on this stretch for the last four years. Bridges are built the world over but the commuters are not made to suffer in such a manner,” one commuter said.
Panaji: The state’s plans for heli tourism that were grounded since 2016 following protests by Sinquerim locals, took off on Friday after a private agency, Blade India, an urban air mobility company, launched the state’s first helicopter service from the helipad at Aguada. The Blade India announced three rides — connecting airport to South and North Goa, charter service from Maharashtra and within Goa and a 10-minute experiential flights giving a bird’s eye view of the state’s coastline. Five years ago, the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) had to discontinue the project after local fishing community and villagers, supported by some local politicians, raised objections to the use of the same helipad. The GTDC tried to operate the service by moving it to South Goa, but it had to be discontinued for logistic reasons. Chief minister Pramod Sawant who launched the service exuded confidence that there won’t be “opposition” now and appreciated Blade India for taking the risk. “There was an opposition, then but I don’t think people will oppose these kind of services, now,” Sawant said replying to a query. Last year, the GTDC had commissioned a helipad at Old Goa and declared that it will re-launch the helicopter service. Sawant said that it could not start since permission from CRZ authority is awaited. In the past, the project was delayed as GTDC had to finalise a location for a helipad and later since it had to retender to select a service provider. Having a helicopter service in Goa, Sawant said, will boost tourism and help the tourists explore the hinterlands of the state. “The government will help the agency in getting permissions required to commence operations,” Sawant said. Blade India has identified landing points in Surla and Sanquelim in North Goa. The company’s founder Karanpal Singh said they will use the present infrastructure and also create new helipads with the help of the government. Blade India’s strategic partner Airbus Helicopters’ India and South Asia head Sunny Guglani said despite having rich flora and fauna, the country has not been able to attract more tourists as it is hard to reach the interiors. “We need solutions to connect potential tourists both foreign and Indian and create economic opportunities. Goa has beautiful beaches, forts and waterfalls. I think helicopters can play a pivotal role in unlocking the true potential of Goa,” he said. Goa can lead the way for the rest of the country, Gunglani said. Copter service can be used for medical emergencies: CM TNN Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said Blade India’s helicopter services in the state can be used in case of medical emergencies, an option that was not available in the past. “In a medical emergency, where a patient needs to be immediately shifted to a hospital, wherever needed, the helicopter service can be availed. Sometimes, it takes two hours to transport a patient to a medical facility via road,” Sawant said. Goans and other travellers, he said, will also have the option of choosing helicopter service to visit nearby cities in Maharashtra or Karnataka, and help increase connectivity and also promote medical tourism. The chief minister said people from other neighbouring cities of Maharashtra and Karnataka will certainly use the helicopter services.
Panaji: The town and country planning (TCP) department’s move to permit an FAR of 400 for the Kadamba plateau has drawn both flak and support. While Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA) has criticised the move, calling it a “disaster in the making”, Credai said that TCP’s decision is a step towards planned development. However, while encouraging the development of Kadamba plateau as a satellite township of Panaji, Credai added a rider and said that clear guidelines and transparency need to be ensured. The TCP board met on Tuesday, where TCP minister Vishwajit Rane decided to increase the permissible FAR on Kadamba Plateau to 400. GBA said that the idea of taking pressure off congested areas like Panaji makes sense, but jumping straight to FAR of 400 would lead to a concrete jungle. “This is something that even Noida does not have, picture the disaster in the making. Concentration of concrete creates heat islands that are unbearable in today’s heat waves, which are only set to get worse in India,” said GBA convenor Sabina Martins. FAR, or Floor to Area Ratio, is a measure of how much can be built on a plot of land. While urban areas like Panaji have an FAR of 250, cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Noida provide between 133 and 350 FAR. Credai president Nilesh Salkar disagreed with GBA’s stand. “Kadamba plateau, being in the nascent stage of development that it is, has scope to a well-planned infrastructure with systematic development. Considering the fact that the government plans to use professional planning agencies, it can become a landmark location. So keeping a 400 FAR would make a lot of sense,” said Salkar. GBA remains skeptical, arguing that the state has yet to learn from the mistakes of the Regional Plan exercise. “It is critical to have a 10-year master plan that fits in all the requirements. Cease random decisions and follow a proper planning process for a Regional Plan,” said Reboni Saha, the GBA general secretary. GBA wants the TCP department to withdraw its decisions, particularly the move to increase the permissible FAR for hotels. Salkar said that as long as the state government frames clear guidelines for allotting FAR and allots additional FAR in a transparent manner, Credai sees no problem.