Times of India | 4 days ago | 22-09-2022 | 11:23 am
PANAJI: Faced with strong criticism against the proposed changes to the Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations, town and country planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane said that while he is open to “constructive ideas”, he will not deviate from his plan to bring in “new policies in the interest of Goa”. Rane said he remains firm about offering additional floor-area ratio (FAR) to hotels and resorts, including three-star resorts, and also stands by his decision to permit golf courses, farm houses and other tourism activities in green areas. “Provision for golf course and film city has already been made under Regional Plan 2021. Clarity is now brought by means of these regulations,” said Rane. “We are here to accept constructive ideas and positive suggestions. As a government, we are here to work towards the benefit of our people and the state.” Political parties, environmentalists, social activists, architects, urban planners and citizens have expressed concern about the proposed changes. Revolutionary Goans (RG), Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have condemned the changes, and RG has announced that it will hold a protest on Friday outside the TCP office to oppose the changes. Rane, in turn, said he has appointed professionals and industry stakeholders to the TCP body to ensure balanced development. He said projects which are not in the state’s interest will not be taken up. “Years back, a few NGOs took to the streets objecting to the entry of five-star hotels in the state. Today, with our main financial backbone, mining, being shut, these very hotels are keeping the finances of the state going through tourism,” Rane said. He said that tourism projects need to be encouraged and incentivised. “We have decided that the facility of additional FAR as applicable to four-star and five-star hotels shall also be extended to three-star hotels and resorts as they are scattered in urban and rural parts. This will facilitate additional accommodation in other parts of the state and will generate additional revenue,” Rane said. The minister said that the TCP department will accord equal focus and emphasis to prevent damage to the environment. The state has decided to engage the services of the Indian Green Building Council to monitor and ensure that mega projects adhere to green norms, water conservation and energy efficiency, he added.
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.
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.
Eyeing expansion, the Trinamool Congress had actively campaigned for the assembly elections in Goa.New Delhi: The Goa assembly elections were keenly fought with the Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party throwing their hats in the ring but when it came to poll expenditure, it was the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress that loosened its purse strings spending a whopping Rs 47.54 crore.The BJP, which retained power in Goa with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at the helm, spent over Rs 17.75 crore towards election expenditure in the state.The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP spent nearly Rs 3.5 crore in Goa, where it tried its luck for the second consecutive assembly elections.The details of the election expenditure were submitted by the respective political parties to the Election Commission recently.The Congress, which was hoping to dislodge the BJP from power in Goa, spent approximately Rs 12 crore on the Goa elections.The Nationalist Congress Party gave Rs 25 lakh each to the 11 candidates it had fielded for the elections, besides spending on the campaign from the party's central fund.The Shiv Sena, which fielded 10 candidates in the Goa elections, spent nearly Rs 92 lakh towards poll expenditure. Eyeing expansion, the Trinamool Congress had launched an election blitzkrieg in Goa with poll strategist Prashant Kishor playing a key role in trying to get the party a toehold in the state.The party fielded 23 candidates in the Goa assembly election but none of them won, while its ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party put up candidates in 13 seats and managed to win two.The AAP fielded 39 candidates and managed to open its account in the state by winning two seats.The Congress had cried foul at the entry of Trinamool Congress and the AAP in the electoral fray in Goa, accusing them of dividing the anti-BJP vote.The BJP won 20 seats in the 40-member assembly and formed the government with the support of two MGP MLAs and three Independent legislators.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comEarlier this month, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs, including Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo and former chief minister Digambar Kamat, defected to the BJP.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Panaji: The clock is ticking for Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro as the Trinamool Congress Party is all set to reprimand the former Goa chief minister “for disobeying” the party high command. High-ranking TMC officials say the party’s disciplinary committee has issued a notice to Faleiro for “anti-party activities” and are considering issuing a gag order against him in the Upper House of Parliament.A TMC functionary told TOI that the party high command remains upset with Faleiro for his refusal to contest the Goa assembly elections and his subsequent refusal to “gracefully step down” from the Rajya Sabha seat.“The party’s disciplinary committee has issued a notice to Faleiro for working against the party’s interests,” said the functionary, adding that this is first part of the two-step process.“One action that is being considered is removing Faleiro’s permission to speak in the Rajya Sabha. Party MPs can speak only with permission from the party leader in Parliament,” a TMC official said.Interestingly, on Saturday Faleiro released a letter that he wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking special permission to set up a central museum complex at Navelim in honour of Dr Francisco Luis Gomes. Faleiro lauded the Centre’s efforts to remove India’s “colonial mindset” and said that recognising Gomes’s contribution will be a step in the right direction.A TMC MP representing West Bengal, Faleiro wants to use his Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds to build the museum complex in his former assembly constituency.“I have funds in the MPLAD scheme which I will readily offer for such a museum complex. However, since I represent West Bengal in the Rajya Sabha, the utilisation of the funds in Goa may require special permission. If such permission is obtained. that would be my contribution to the project,” said Faleiro in a letter to Modi.TMC functionaries claimed that Faleiro is trying to buy time and attempting to curry political brownie points before the disciplinary action occurs.Reacting to Faleiro’s letter to the PM, a high-ranking TMC official said, “He has indulged in cheap politics for self benefit.”“Faleiro is showing his true colours. He is even praising PM Modi (in the letter),” the official said.
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.