Times of India | 4 days ago | 07-08-2022 | 04:07 am
Margao: Days after it gained the distinction of being the first Ramsar site in Goa, the water resources department (WRD) on Friday took up the cleaning of the Nanda lake at Xeldem, Curchorem, where the villagers assisted in the cleanup exercise.The lake, spread over an area of 42 hectares, is one of Goa’s largest wetlands. It is one of the 10 new wetlands in India to get Ramsar site status, conferred on wetlands of international importance. Being designated a Ramsar site means that the Nanda lake is now on the global map for its importance in providing ecological services.The wetlands — land areas covered by water, either seasonally or permanently — play a key role in flood control and as sources of water, food, fibre and raw materials. Besides, such land areas also support mangroves that protect coastlines and filter pollutants.Any kind of encroachment, setting up of industry, expansion of existing industries, solid waste dumping, discharge of untreated wastes and effluents, poaching and any construction of a permanent nature are among the activities which are prohibited within the wetlands.With Nanda lake getting the Ramsar status, the wetland site is likely to be turned into an ideal site for sustainable and community-oriented tourism. Consequently, locals are likely to benefit from the number of livelihood opportunities that will be generated by the move. Restrictions in development at the site will also mean better quality of water of the lake even as traditional livelihood activities will have to be in consonance with the sustainable character of the wetland, sources said.The location will be preserved and beautified by the government under the supervision of the local lake management committee.
Bicholim: Calling village panchayats the prime centres of rural development, chief minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday said that his government’s aim is to strengthen them.Sawant was speaking to reporters after casting his vote at the Kothambi -Pale poll booth in Bicholim taluka.He said that there is also need to boost tourism in the state and hence, panchayat bodies should provide whole-hearted cooperation.Sawant said that so far, the state government has provided necessary financial assistance to panchayat bodies for development works and that the same will continue in future too. Further, he said that the government is also undertaking different initiatives to boost rural tourism, small scale business and domestic business in the state.
PANAJI: Animal safaris will be provided in Goa on the lines of such safaris offered at Kevadia, Gujarat, forest minister Vishwajit Rane said on Tuesday. Rane said that he has already discussed the plan with the Union minister. The state is looking at working on the project in collaboration with the central government, he said. "Following in the footsteps of an animal safari developed in Kevadia, we sought advice from the Union minister to work closely with the ministry in the development of a state-of-the-art animal safari in Goa," Rane said. Rane met Union minister for environment, forest and climate change Bhupendra Yadav. During the meeting, a development plan for Bondla zoo was also discussed. The zoo will be upgraded to showcase fauna found in the Western Ghats, Rane said. "We also discussed the Bondla Zoological Park's integrated and holistic development to showcase the diverse fauna of the Western Ghats and other regions in a naturalistic setting. A master plan, including such proposals, has already been submitted to Central Zoo Authority," said Rane. The minister said that a proposal for maintenance of Goa's grasslands is also on the cards. "I discussed various proposals, viz, integrated development of wildlife habitat under which we have sought approval for maintenance of grasslands, enrichment plantation with fruit-bearing trees, creation and maintenance of forest roads, nature camping facility in protected areas, etc," the minister said. He said that the proposals discussed also included creation of artificial watering holes in protected areas of Goa using solar pumps and nature guide training programmes and capacity building of local youth for eco-tourism activities.
Sprawled across a hillock at Sinquerim and offering magnificent views of the Arabian Sea, the 17th century Fort Aguada has long been drawing hordes of tourists and locals to take in its architectural splendour. But it is the fort’s jail museum at the base of the hillock that has been attracting a steady flow of visitors of late, although activities planned for the historic site have yet to take off.Renovated and restored at a cost of Rs 26 crore, the structure had served as a full-fledged port during the Portuguese regime, complete with a jetty and a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Good Voyage where passengers would pray before setting out to sea. It was subsequently converted to a prison at which several freedom fighters had served time. The jail was operational post-Liberation too, until mid-2015, following which all its inmates were shifted to the central jail at Colvale.It lay largely neglected thereafter until the government decided to give it a new lease of life as a jail museum equipped with a host of modern technologies to help people understand and appreciate its hoary past.“As visitors walk through the passage next to the prison blocks, they will find information on the walls with 3D projection mapping, interactive screens, and audio and digital displays,” said Ravi Shankar, director of Waterfront Experiences Pvt Ltd which has been roped in by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation to maintain, manage and operate the historic structure.A senior tourism department official said all activities conceptualised for the jail museum will likely be launched by November 1 this year.Shankar said that once the project takes off in its entirety, it will generate over 350 direct and around 100 indirect job opportunities. “The prison bakery, for instance, which has been retained in its original form, will be made operational and will supply bread to cafes and restaurants housed in the complex by engaging a ‘poder’ (bread maker) from a nearby village,” he said.Guided walks throughout the museum will also be on offer, but visitors will be at liberty to explore the area on their own. Two light-and-sound shows will be held in the open area outside the prison cells before and after sunset, narrating the history of Goa till Liberation. While the theme will revolve around freedom, the curation will be refreshed every year.“The cultural centre will select one element from a broad theme each year and build around it. This way, there will be something new to learn, understand and experience each year,” Shankar said and added that a Christmas market at the premises is on the cards for this year.Another feature is the fair weather jetty — operational from October to April — which will allow visitors to take a ferry from Aguada to Old Goa, thereby connecting two major historical sites. A shuttle bus service from the Aguada helipad atop the hillock to the jail museum at its base is alsoexpected to begin shortly.The jail museum was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 19, 2021, during his visit to Goa to participate in celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the state’s Liberation.
Panaji: Registration of female human trafficking cases in Goa is on the decline since 2020. Also, not even a single girl victim of trafficking has been rescued in Goa by the police during the last four months. In all, 171 cases of women trafficking were registered since 2017 till June 2022. Out of these, 70 were in North Goa, 43 in South Goa and 58 at the crime branch.After 2020, only 40 such cases have been registered.“Since April, not a single girl victim has been rescued by the police. This will send a wrong signal in society that police have stopped rescuing girls. The law-enforcing agencies must reply as to why they could not rescue even a single victim during the last four months,” said Arz director Arun Pandey. He also said that Covid is one of the reasons which has impacted the number of rescue operations in the state.“Globally, including in India, trafficking of girls in the age group of 18 to 25 years has increased considerably. Some of the victims are working in small towns and malls as they are the only breadwinners in their family,” Pandey said. “Due to Covid, many lost their jobs owing to companies shutting down. Many of those jobless had to take care of their families and look for financial security. The situation increased their vulnerability for sex trafficking.”He further said that if Goa police doesn’t send a strong message to traffickers by rescuing girls, the number of victims will increase during the ensuing tourist season. Pandey said traffickers have started targeting local girls and also those from the neighbouring states like Maharashtra and Karnataka. He also said that the downturn in tourism activities and police remaining engaged in Covid duties were some of the reasons behind the decline in registration of human trafficking cases.
Panaji: The Goa Forest Development Corporation, which is the nodal agency for ecotourism activities, aims to develop the isolated village of Surla, which is nestled in the Chorla ghat, as a hill station. Making the announcement, Poriem MLA Dr Deviya Rane said that development of eco-tourism activities will benefit locals as well as generate revenue for the state.“I am planning to get some cottages and develop Surla village. I want to develop it as a hill station of Goa because it is at a height,” Rane said. Surla is across the Goa-Karnataka border and can only be reached by crossing over into Karnataka. Rane said that Surla offers untapped opportunities for bird trails, trekking, camping and other wildlife activities. “I want to develop camping sites and develop that area. Slowly, in a month or two, we will start implementing. Once tourism-related activities start, the place will develop,” she said.