Times of India | 3 months ago | 06-02-2022 | 04:37 am
Bicholim: BJP Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said that Goa has received ample financial support from the Centre and that people have benefited from the schemes that were launched by the late chief minister Manohar Parrikar. “On the other hand AAP and TMC have been giving hollow assurances to the people of Goa,” Fadnavis said while interacting with the party’s Bicholim workers. Commenting on the MGP-TMC alliance, Fadnavis said he had not expected that MGP, which was founded by former chief minister Dayanand Bandodkar would tie up with the Bengal party. MGP functionaries joining hands with TMC, he said will do a “greater harm” to Goa’s regional party. BJP’s Bicholim candidate Rajesh Patnekar said his earlier decision not to contest was “wrong” and that he would work hard to resolve issues of locals. TNN
Bicholim: Following reports that the mining pits in Bicholim taluka are in need of urgent safety measures to avoid any tragedy during the monsoon, a team of senior officers headed by North Goa collector, Mamu Hage, inspected the pits on Friday. Hage instructed the mining company and administrative officials to undertake safety measures wherever necessary to avoid any eventualities during the monsoon. He also instructed the officers of various departments and mining companies present to provide pumping facilities for all trenches to prevent emergency situations and to undertake precautionary measures where there are possibilities of breaching of dumped ore. The collector also instructed the mamlatdar and deputy collector to remain vigilant during the monsoon. Sites at Kudne, Sanquelim, Shirgaon, Lamgaon, Poira, Bicholim and Mulgaon villages were inspected. Chief minister Pramod Sawant has asked the administration to submit a report on the safety measures to be adopted in association with mining companies. Asked about the situation, Sawant said two to three mining pits are risky and efforts are on to undertake rewatering. In a Pissurlem mine, a pump has been set up and, by Monday, dewatering will start in the other two. Meanwhile, an emergency control room has been set up in Bicholim taluka and mamlatdar Laxmikant Kuttikar and officers of various departments have been instructed to adopt safety measures with the cooperation of talathis and panch members.
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: Chief minister Pramod Sawant held a meeting with Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Thursday to discuss efforts to attract new private investments into the state along with steps that can improve the ease of doing business for existing local industries. GCCI president Ralph de Sousa said that administrative reforms need to be introduced in all government departments so that the private sector can operate efficiently. Pointing out that the government aims to remove the need for various licences, Sawant said that the government has introduced ease of doing business reforms in the town and country planning department with more reforms planned in other departments. GCCI also urged the state government to reduce power transmission and distribution losses, obtain more power from the Centre and form district-level committees to oversee the power situation. “Regarding labour issues, GCCI requested a dialogue with the industry and government in labour-related matters. We have also asked the government to promote mass plantation of Goan fruit bearing trees along national highways,” Sousa said. GCCI has assured full support to create awareness about various schemes announced both at the state and the national level. Chief secretary Puneet Kumar Goel along with other officials were present for the meeting. During his interaction, Sawant spoke about nurturing Goa into an agro industry state, while also facilitating growth of tourism, logistics, retail and manufacturing sectors. The chief minister also agreed to set up a Grievance Redressal Committee with GCCI members and industry stakeholders. The committee will directly connect with the chief minister’s office and discuss industry specific issues. Sawant said that the committee would aim to resolve all major concerns within six months. Sawant informed GCCI that the state government is working with the Telangana government to emulate their industrial model in Goa. He also said that a retail policy and logistics policy for Goa is on the anvil. The chief minister assured industry representatives that the Mormugao port connectivity will be completed within the next six to nine months. “This will be part of the multimodal linkage under the Gati Shakti programme and modernisation of infrastructure,” Sawant said.
GCCI suggests improvement in power infrastructure in the statePanaji: With the state in the grip of frequent power cuts, the GCCI has suggested lowering the transmission and distribution (T&D) losses of Goa electricity department as the way out for improving power supply to consumers.The industry body pointed out that about 90 MW of power is lost in transmission and distribution which if controlled can help in addressing the 150 MW shortage of power presently in the state.The GCCI also recommended more power sanction for Goa from the Centre.Chief Minister Pramod Sawant visited the GCCI office on Thursday for his first interaction with members of local industry during his second term. Chief Secretary Puneet Kumar Goyal and secretaries of various government departments were also present at the meeting.During the interaction, the GCCI suggested improvement in power infrastructure in the state and also requested a dialogue with the government in labour-related matters. Promoting mass plantation of Goan fruit-bearing trees along the national highways was also one of the suggestions made by the GCCI.From the government side, the Chief Minister promised ease of doing business (EoDB) by removing multiplicity of various licences. He said that EoDB has already started in the Town and Country Planning (TCP) department and more reforms would be initiated in other departments.Sawant also assured of implementing the Public Service Delivery Act (2013) in principle. He said that the government would give accreditation to local hotels and venues having facilities to host marriages or public events under EoDB.He has also agreed to set up grievance redressal committee wherein GCCI members, industry stakeholders can directly connect with Chief Minister’s office and discuss on industry specific issues and ensure fast-track resolution of long-pending as well as current difficulties faced by trade and industry. With the setting up of the committee the government aims to sort out all major issues faced by industry in six months, said Sawant.The Chief Minister sought industry help in increasing agriculture yield. “Goa spends over Rs 10 crore per day towards procuring milk, vegetables, fruits, poultry etc., from other states. The agriculture sector needs rejuvenation,” he pointed out.The state will follow the industrial model of Telangana, disclosed Sawant.During the meeting, a skill gap study prepared by the GCCI with the Goa Institute of Management was submitted to the Chief Minister.GCCI president Ralph de Sousa, vice-president Shrinivas Dempo, vice-president Pratima Dhond, secretary Yatin Kakodkar, treasurer Chandrakant Gawas, director general Sanjay Amonkar along with the managing committee members were present at the meeting.
Panaji: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday said that his government will recommend to the state election commission (SEC) to defer the elections to 186 village panchayats so as to adopt triple test for reserving wards for other backward classes.Interacting with media persons in Panaji, Sawant said the government will not do any injustice to the people belonging to OBCs.“I have received the opinion of the Advocate General on the recent verdict of the Supreme Court. If we hold the polls immediately then we will have to hold elections without reserving even a single ward; we don’t want to do this. We want to give reservation to OBCs as they constitute 27% of the state’s total population,” Sawant explained.“Government can’t postpone the elections; it is the discretion of the SEC. We will seek time.”“If the poll panel grants time then we will ask the OBC Commission to complete the triple test exercise. Once the report of the OBC Commission is ready then it will be sent to the SEC for consideration and thereafter the SEC will announce the election schedule,” he added.It is pertinent to note that the triple test has been mandated by the apex court for reservation of wards for OBCs for the local body elections.“As per the state Advocate General’s opinion, the government will seek time from the SEC for asking the OBC Commission to prepare a report, based on which reservation of wards can be done for the panchayat elections in accordance with Supreme Court directions,” the Chief Minister added.“The related file will be sent to SEC tomorrow,” Sawant said.In a related development, Goa State Commission for Backward Classes chairman Manohar Adpaikar expressed his readiness to undertake the triple test exercise.“We are ready. But we need the required manpower to conduct a survey. Government should allow us to rope in its employees. With their assistance, we can complete the task keeping the last survey as base, provided it is accepted by the concerned authorities,” Adpaikar said.He said that if need arises then the government can consider engaging an agency to conduct a totally fresh survey across the state.“Agencies have experience and all machinery with them. They are familiar with conducting big surveys in quick time,” Adpaikar said.He informed that the last survey was conducted in December 2013, where it was found that 26.26% of the state’s population belonged to the OBC category.