Times of India | 3 months ago | 23-08-2022 | 07:40 am
CANACONA: The seven village panchayats of Canacona taluka saw six sarpanchs and seven deputy sarpanchs elected unopposed. All panchayats showed their affiliation to the BJP government. In Gaondongrim, Yeshwant ‘Dhillon’ Desai, who has a 30-year experience, was elected sarpanch. Saloni Gaonkar the deputy post. In Khola, Ajay Pagui won the sarpanch post and Krupesh Velip that of the deputy. At Shristhal, Sejjal Purushottam Gaonkar is sarpanch and Shivraj V Naik Deshmukh is his deputy. All seven of the Agonda panchayat members made their political debut in this election. Fatima Rodrigues, 71, and Prettal Fernandes, 25, were elected sarpanch and deputy sarpanch, respectively. At Poinguinim, speaker Ramesh Tawadkar’s wife, Savita, was declared sarpanch. Sunil Shreedhar Paingankar will be her deputy. At Cotigao, Ananda Ganaba Desai and Punamal Chandrakant Gaonkar won the top two posts. Loliem-Polem panchayat elected Pratiza Sachin Bandekar as Sarpanch and Chandrakant Babai Sudhir as deputy sarpanch.
CANACONA: Nearly 1,800 students in schools in Canacona’s Agonda and Khola panchayats have been deprived of the midday meal facility from October 1 after the self-help group (SHG) providing the meals found it uneconomical to continue with the service. Assistant district education inspector (ADEI), Canacona, Lawrence Pereira, who confirmed the development, told TOI that a letter from Omkar SHG, which provided the meals to schools in these areas, has been sent to the department and that the department is exploring alternatives to address the situation. “The government is aware that the rate offered to SHGs is not sufficient, but has not paid heed to our repeated demands to raise the amount. As it was not economically viable to supply meals, we had no other alternative but to discontinue,” said Sandhya Dessai, who runs the SHG. She said that Omkar SHG along with Surbhi, Astha and Shivam SHGs were awarded contracts to provide midday meals in various schools of Canacona. However, Surbhi and Shivam SHGs discontinued the service four years ago citing rise in rates and other technical difficulties. Following this, Omkar and Astha were the only SHGs supplying the midday meal with Omkar catering to 2,900 students, and Astha 1,700 students, Dessai said. Dessai’s SHG continues to provide midday meals to schools in Poinguinim and Loliem-Polem panchayats. Previously, the government had fixed a rate of Rs 5.1 per student from Classes I to IV, and Rs 6.6 per student from Classes V to VIII. These rates were revised to Rs 6.11 and Rs 7.45 per student, respectively, with effect from 2014, Dessai said. SHGs used to supply bhaji pao, sheera, khichdi and pulao dishes, but this year the department of education revised the menu to include idlis, bhaji, pulao, chickpeas or moong, while pao was replaced with chapatis. Dessai said the rates of all these items have increased and hence it was not economically viable to continue with the service at the present rates. Besides the expense related to food items, she said that she has to sustain staff and transportation of the food. “Each of the four vehicles hired to transport the meals is paid Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 depending on the distance and the area they have to cover. Besides this, I use my own vehicle to take the food to schools in Marlim and Tirval,” Dessai said, adding that her 11 women staff are paid Rs 300 per day.
Canacona: Virendra Shinde, 19, a resident of Sawantwadi, was caught by a team of Canacona police, at Kolhapur, on charges of sexually assaulting a minor in Canacona.The survivor is six months pregnant.Shinde was apprehended with the help of mobile detection within 24 hours of the complaint being filed by the survivor’s mother.According to the complainant, the accused and the survivor know each other and are distantly related. The accused had come to Canacona in May and was staying with the family, during which time he committed the crime. The accused tried to flee when he learnt that the girl’s mother was planning to file a complaint. However, he was caught and brought to the police station. He was later produced before judicial magistrate first class(JMFC) Canacona who remanded him into two-day police custody.
Margao: Integrated farming blended with eco-tourism is a concept that Goa legislative assembly speaker Ramesh Tawadkar is planning to establish in Canacona soon.While it is still in the conceptual stage, Tawadkar says the project will empower the farmers in a big way while also catapulting Canacona on the eco-tourism map of the world.“The idea is simple,” Tawadkar told TOI. “If a tourist or say, a nature enthusiast, wishes to stay in the village for a month or so and actually try out farming, we will have facilities offering him that very kind of hands-on experience. A farmer will thus have 2-3 rooms built in his field that he will offer as home-stay units. The guest will be able to grow and harvest his own crop or vegetables while also helping the farmer in his regular farming activities.”The farmer will be encouraged to venture into dairy farming and allied activities like a go-shala or cattle breeding centres. Processing of cow urine and cowdung are also lucrative activities that a farmer will be able to try his hands on, Tawadkar said.The Canacona MLA also has his sights set firmly on establishing agro-based industries in Canacona on one lakh sq m of land. Tawadkar said that Rs 60 cr worth of funds have already been sanctioned for the project and once all the modalities about land procurement are worked out, work on the project will begin. This, he said, may take not more than 6 months.Tawadkar said that jackfruit, coconut, kokum and cashew have been identified for setting up food processing units in the initial stage. More fruits will be added later.Integrated farming blended with ecotourism activities will provide lucrative entrepreneurship opportunities for locals, Tawadkar said, while also boosting agriculture.“As agriculture is the mainstay of the village economy of Canacona, the situation is conducive for setting up agro processing units here, and will generate substantial employment for locals,” Tawadkar said.
CANACONA: The state government, through a public notice issued on Saturday, has served an ultimatum to Dr Ranganathan Venkatesh, who runs the dialysis unit at the Community Health Centre, Canacona, asking him to vacate the premises by December 31, 2022. He has also been warned of appropriate action as per the law. It is learnt that as the letter served to Dr Venkatesh by post was returned by the postal authority undelivered, the health department decided to serve a public notice, asking the doctor to furnish relevant information by December 15, 2022. Speaking to TOI, Dr Venkatesh said that no such notice has been served. He also said that a copy of his special leave petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court has been served to the government advocate as well as the governor, chief minister and other authorities concerned. The SLP is likely to be listed by next week, he said. Dr Venkatesh said that he started the dialysis unit in Canacona at the Community Health Centre, in December 2002 and claimed that this was the first dialysis unit at the PHC level in India. He informed that he has about 48 dialysis patients undergoing regular dialysis. "Not a penny is charged to the patient as the government was paying Rs 540 per treatment since 2003, and as of now it is Rs 1,100. The same treatment in a private hospital costs approximately Rs 5,500 per treatment," he said. He regretted that the government stopped his payment abruptly from March 2021, and said that, as of now, his payments of up to Rs 1.5 crore are pending with the government. "My SLP before the apex court is pending. The government should first clear my payments. If this is done, I am ready to hand over the unit at any time. So let us wait and watch what the SC says in a week's time," Dr Venkatesh said.
The annual Lokotsav at Canacona provides a glimpse into the indigenous world of herbal healing, organic cooking and an eco-friendly way of living, and establishes adivasi identity... As one drives along the winding roads of Cotigao in Canacona, it’s hard to miss that something big is afoot. The air is filled with excitement and the pungent smell of freshly-laid asphalt. Village folk are brimming with anticipation as the forest resthouse is being spruced up, roadside trees getting trimmed, the innumerable cowsheds that dot the roads are getting a new thatched roof, and the ridge-topped haystacks in fields are tidied up. From the crossroads, a narrow road leads to Amone, a hamlet deep within the wildlife sanctuary, where lies the ancestral house of the speaker of Goa legislative assembly, Ramesh Tawadkar, who has been hosting Lokotsav, the annual adivasi festival in his home town for the last 21 years, under the aegis of Adarsh Yuvak Sangh, an organisation he founded in 1995. This year, though President Droupadi Murmu was invited for the inaugural session of the 22nd edition of the three-day festival on December 9, her arrival seems unlikely owing to the Prime Minister’s visit to the state scheduled just two days later.Inside his cousin Sanjay’s house next door, a thinktank meeting is under way as logistics and other modalities for the event are ironed out.Over two decades ago, when Tawadkar and other like-minded youth with revolutionary ideas started Lokotsav, the tribal communities had stayed alienated from mainstreaming efforts and thus marginalised, largely due to state apathy. “It was precisely to showcase this evolution of tribal civilisation and allow the tribals to take pride in and celebrate their adivasi culture that Lokotsav was devised. The tribal folk placed their trust in our leadership and participated wholeheartedly. They derived a sense of belonging and fulfillment from it. Lokotsav has served as an invaluable tool for stirring an intellectual revolution,” Tawadkar explains.With tribals from other states also having begun to participate in Lokotsav since last year, the festival has been catapulted to an event of national eminence. While eight states participated in 2021, troupes from 12 states are expected to showcase their tribal culture this time around.“The tribal community is inherently related to nature,” Diwakar Velip, an ayurveda doctor from Gaondongrim, who is closely associated with the organisation of the festival, tells TOI. “While the community is dependent on nature for its livelihood, they are conservationists who protect the land and water resources of the forests. The tribal culture, their cuisine, their agriculture practices, their eco-friendly way of living, their traditional herbal medicines sourced from the forests, contribute to their health and well-being. Lokotsav seeks to give a glimpse of this to the outside world.”Metres away, a steep descent over boulders leads to a typical tribal house in front of which a group of women are pounding paddy with wooden pestles and grinding pulses on traditional stone apparatus to prepare the various delectable and nutritious eatables for Lokotsav. With a spring in their steps and a song on their lips, the women move rhythmically as they perform these chores. The flour is then stored in containers prepared from coconut or palm leaves. “It’s always been like this for us,” says a woman, “we have not departed from tradition.”Next door, octogenarian Shaba Velip has just returned after scouring the jungle for herbs. Shaba is a much sought-after healer who learnt the art and science of herbal medicine from his father and has now equipped his son and daughter-in-law with the rudiments. “There is an antidote forevery malady,” says the daughter-in-law, pointing to the packets with herbal powders and some tree barks lined neatly in a corner. “People from various corners of Goa, some from outside the state, come here for their stock of medicine.Lokotsav has made my father-in-law a popular healer,” she says. Lokotsav has provided a platform to scores of people from this region to showcase their healing prowess to the modern world.Pradip Maske, associate professor in political science, describes the tribal culture as “a highly evolved civilisational heritage”.“Historically,” Maske says, “the tribal communities—Gauda, Kunbi, Velip, Dhangar and others—nursed the landscape of Goa ecologically, culturally, socially, economically and evolved the village republic, despite migrations and dynasties that brought the region under its rule. The idea that one can make money from a dead tree was unknown to the original settlers of Goa. The tribal communities are attached to land, water, forest, livestock and wildlife. They evolved an eco-friendly lifestyle, customs and practices for ages.”Tawadkar has a vision of transforming the three-day annual event into a 365-day affair. “The idea is to have activities year-round at Adarsh Gram on a self-sustainable revenue model. The focus will be on three key areas — ecotourism, agro processing, and adventure activities. We also plan to have accommodation facilities for tourists so that a two-day tourism circuit can be woven into their travel itinerary,” the Goa speaker said. Jungle safari, nature trail, bird watching, watersports, yoga, meditation, trekking, are some of the activities that are planned to be launched next year.The long-term objective of Lokotsav, Tawadkar says, is to make the indigenous communities ‘atmanirbhar’ and ‘swavalambi’ (self-reliant). “For the adivasi samaj, life has always been a struggle and about overcoming challenges. Our endeavour is to integrate these issues into Lokotsav and empower the tribal community with the wherewithal and resources to find solutions,” he says. The depiction of adivasi civilisation at Lokotsav helps a viewer understand and appreciate the various aspects of tribal culture, heritage and cuisine. Spread over 65,000 sq m, there will be seven stages where performances will be held simultaneously, apart from the several arenas for sports and adventure activities. Tribal cuisine is another interesting feature of adivasi culture — the mouthwatering yet nutritious dishes like sanna, patoleo, kismur, chunna bhakri, suva bhakri, etc are a food aficionado’s delight. “The roots of Goan culture lie in adivasi civilisation as the tribals were the original settlers of this land,” Tawadkar says. “This needs to come before the people in an authentic manner. At Lokotsav, every aspect of tribal culture is presented in a manner that leaves a viewer asking for more.”