Times of India | 1 week ago | 20-01-2023 | 04:36 am
Margao: Minister for tourism Rohan Khaunte in his reply to a legislative assembly question said that the government plans to make select beaches in the state disabled-accessible.“Ramps will be provided for disabled/physically challenged people at select beaches with the belief that beaches are for all,” Khaunte said in his written reply tabled in the House to the question asked by Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco about the government’s plans for providing infrastructural facilities on the beaches. Khaunte said mechanical/semi-mechanised cleaning machines will be deployed to ensure speedy and more efficient cleaning of beaches, while road sweeping machines will be deployed to sweep approach roads.“Surveillance systems, CCTV cameras, etc will be installed on approach roads, beach entries and parking areas in order to assist the law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order and ensure reduction in crime rates,” the reply added. Khaunte said the tourism department has been undertaking comprehensive cleanliness of the beaches since the last couple of decades.
VASCO/MARGAO: Citizens protested outside the Mormugao Port Authority (MPA) on Monday demanding that the MPA stop coal operations and immediately shift to green cargo and cruise tourism. They said that a large number of steel and power plants, which are water-guzzling industries, have been proposed near the Malaprabha river basin, and that coal handling in Goa and the diversion of the Mhadei are linked.The protesters said that the Mhadei is being diverted only to benefit these steel plants and not for the farmers or drinking water purposes for locals, as is being falsely portrayed. The coal used by these steel plants is being transported from MPA to Karnataka via the rail network, they alleged.“If coal handling is stopped in Goa, the water consumed by steel plants, which is much more than the diversion proposed, will be available for farmers in Karnataka. If coal handling is allowed in Goa, the diversion of the Mhadei at Kalsa and Bandura and, subsequently, the diversion of other rivers flowing across state borders is inevitable,” the protesters stated in a memorandum to the MPA chairperson. A large number of citizens held a peaceful rally under the banner of United Vascokars and Goans. “The coal transportation is purely for the steel plants and the profit of private corporations. There is no benefit for Goa,” the citizens stated in their memorandum to the MPA. “The Mhadei water crises will be resolved only when coal handling and transportation are stopped at MPA,” said green activist Abhijit Prabhudesai. The protesters condemned the state government for its failure to protect the state’s interests.
PANAJI: Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), the hospitality arm of the Tata Group, has prepared a robust expansion roadmap for Goa, and intends to invest around Rs 300 crore in new properties in the state. The company is looking to add to its existing portfolio of 23 hotels in Goa by opening up several new resorts over the next two to three years.Among the new projects IHCL intends to set up is a “super luxury dream project” at the Fort Aguada and Taj Holiday Village, Sinquerim.“There are a lot of projects in the pipeline that we want to showcase in the next few years. One of our dream projects is going to come up at the Fort Aguada and Taj Holiday Village. We want to pump in a lot of money into the state,” senior vice-president, IHCL-Goa, Vincent Ramos, told TOI in an exclusive interview.Currently, IHCL operates 23 resorts and homestays in the state, and has emerged as the largest hospitality chain in Goa’s tourism sector. IHCL operates resorts under a group of brands, which includes Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta, Ginger, and homestays under the ama Stays & Trails brand.Led by IHCL’s chief executive officer and managing director Puneet Chhatwal, IHCL aims to have around 1,700 rooms in Goa under its portfolio by December 31.“Goa has been the largest market. Goa’s expansion has been the largest in our portfolio, and it has been the fastest. We are growing in other states, but not as aggressively as the way we are growing in Goa, and that is why you can see the huge profits,” said Ramos.In 2021-22, amidst the pandemic, IHCL raked in a profit of Rs 160 crore just from Goa. The state contributed 45% to IHCL’s topline in 2021-22, but going forward, this is expected to settle at around 40%.Despite Covid-19 acting as a dampener on tourism and travel, IHCL saw sustained demand from domestic and international travellers for Goa. The opening of Goa’s second international airport at Mopa has also prompted the Tata Group to place large bets on North Goa.“We are expanding exponentially in Goa. SeleQtions, Ginger, and ama Stay & Trails will witness new additions. Right now, our investment in the hotels that are in the pipeline and the ones that have been recently opened up would be around Rs 300 crore,” said Ramos.Asked if IHCL has identified plans to set up a resort next to the greenfield airport, Ramos said that the company would certainly like to be the first mover. “We are looking at potential opportunities around the new airport, however, nothing has been confirmed yet,” he said.Ramos said that the company is in close discussions with the government and local partners to set up the new resorts. He said that over the next 24 months, IHCL will focus on the Ginger brand, which has proved to be a success for the company. “Ginger is our success story in Goa because we make 60% of our profit there,” he said.Given the rapid expansion plans for the state, IHCL is well en route to strengthen its position as the largest hospitality chain in Goa.
Margao: PWD minister Nilesh Cabral said that the Indian Constitution has maintained the ethos of secularism and equality in society even as he urged the people to contribute towards the development of the nation.Speaking after unfurling the national flag on the occasion of the Republic Day at the South Goa collectorate, Margao, Cabral said, “If we want to build and strengthen the nation, all have to contribute towards the process, may it be by following traffic rules, abiding civic duties, cleanliness and so on.”The Curchorem MLA lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his efforts to strengthen democracy. He said that under Modi’s leadership, India has achieved higher goals in various fields.Cabral in his address also appreciated the “tireless efforts and very good initiatives” of the Pramod Sawant-led government “for strengthening and shaping the development of the state”. He added that Sawant was making strenuous efforts to safeguard the interests of the state.On the occasion various members of the Child Welfare Committee for North and South Goa were felicitated for their extraordinary contribution in child welfare. Also security guards of South Goa Collectorate were felicitated for delivering honest service to people.
MARGAO: Twenty-five cases of murders were registered at various police stations across South Goa in 2022. The figure was 16 in 2021, police records reveal. Of the 25 cases, police have been able to crack 23 by arresting the accused. In 2021, police had succeeded in cracking 14 of the 16 cases.In 2022, seven cases of attempt to murder were registered by South Goa police, a significant decline from 18 in 2021. All the accused involved in the seven cases were arrested.Among the two unresolved cases of murder of 2022 is that of an unidentified woman whose skeletal remains were found at an isolated place at Ambeghat, Sanguem. The postmortem examination had revealed that the woman was pregnant at the time of her death and that she was in the age group of 18-22. The cause of death was stated to be strangulation. Citizens have voiced their concern over the rise in the cases of murder and the frequent occurrences of street violence.
MARGAO: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said on Monday that he is the first graduate in his family. “Many of your parents will be graduates, and you have their support. You don’t have the tension of passing the SSC exam like we had,” he said.“Treat examinations like a festival, and go laughing to answer them,” he said.He was addressing students of Classes IX to XII at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, who participated in the Pariksha Pe Charcha 2023 art and painting competition (exam warriors), an initiative of PM Narendra Modi.Sawant spoke of students who had taken the extreme step of suicide when they weren’t able to cope with exams, and advised students not to get tense while answering exams.Two students and one teacher will travel to New Delhi to participate in the interaction with Modi on Friday, he said. Other students, teachers, and even parents will watch the interactions live, he said, adding that the PM will use the session to motivate students.Over 400 students from Classes IX to XII participated in the art and painting competition on various themes of ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’, which is aimed at giving students more confidence to face examinations and equipping them with tools.