Times of India | 1 month ago | 11-08-2022 | 01:22 am
Calangute: Leader of the opposition and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Wednesday said the institution of village panchayats can be strengthened at the grassroots level by the panchayats formed by the people themselves. Talking to media after casting his vote along with his wife, Siolim MLA Delilah Lobo, in the panchayat election at Parra, he said the state government keeps bringing amendments that dilute the powers of village panchayats. “When this happens, village panchayats should approach the courts for relief. There is a need to implement the provisions of the Panchayat Raj Act. Panchayats should be strong and for this grassroots-level politics is very important. Long voter queues were seen at polling stations in all the panchayats with people turning up in large numbers to support their candidates. Except for a problem with the ballot paper in Ward No 9 in Calangute where voting was stopped, there were no untoward incidents. “Today people have come out to vote for people who will work for them. The youth are crying for jobs, playgrounds and it is the job of panchayats to provide these through the government or CSR,” he said.
Margao/Vasco/Calangute: Three persons were arrested by the police on Sunday—one in Fatorda, one in Zuarinagar and one in Calangute—with ganja.Fatorda police on Sunday arrested a resident of Navelim after he was found with ganja worth nearly a Rs 1 lakh. Police sources said that the accused, Zaker Akbar Shaikh, 35, was nabbed from the parking lot of SGPDA market at Fatorda, on Sunday afternoon. Following a search in the presence of executive magistrate, Salcete, 986g of a narcotic substance, suspected to be ganja, was recovered from him.Calangute police nabbed a drug peddler, Muhammad Jafer Gudumia, from Karnataka with 1.1kg narcotics worth Rs 1.1 lakh near the Dolphin Circle at Calangute on Sunday. Verna police arrested a food delivery person with 63g of ganja worth Rs 6,300. Investigating officer Pravin Simepurushkar said the accused, Shiv Pratap Halwai, 24, is a resident of Vasco and native of Mumbai.
Calangute: Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Sunday said that the people have got the wrong impression that he broke an oath to God by leaving Congress and joining BJP. “The oath was that we will not break from the party when we form the government. If the people of Goa did not give us 21 seats, then the oath does not stay. The oath was that if the party gets the numbers and wins and forms government, we will not break. But we only got 11 seats,” he said. Replying to queries, Lobo said it is for the people to decide if they will vote for him again. “We have to work for the people, only then will they vote for us again,” he said. He said the eight MLAs leaving Congress does not mean the party is finished. “Congress still has three MLAs. It does not mean the end of Congress,” Lobo said. However, he said it was a mistake to have left the BJP and joined Congress just before the assembly election. “Personally I think we should not have left BJP. If we made a mistake, then we have to admit it and we have admitted it. We’ve now come back into the party,” he said. He also denied that he rejoined BJP because of threats of raids by the ED and other investigation agencies.
Panaji: Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Friday said that there’s been an increase in various fees for shack owners, and asked chief minister Pramod Sawant to reduce them. Lobo said that Sawant promised he would look into the matter.Lobo met Sawant and discussed issues pertaining to stakeholders of the tourism industry. The Calangute MLA said that tourism minister Rohan Khaunte has started the shack allotment process and even granted a one-year extension.“The finance department has increased fees for shack licenses by 80% and deck bed fees have increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000. Even garbage fees have been added, which was never there earlier,” Lobo said.He said that the shack owners’ association has urged the CM to provide some relief where fees are concerned. “All shacks do not do the same business,” Lobo said. “Some shacks at good locations will not have problems paying the fee. But there are some locations with very few tourists, and they may face issues.”The Calangute MLA said many shack owners have not paid last year’s fees, and that the tourism department told them their licence would not be renewed.
Calangute: The Calangute panchayat has decided to conduct a survey of traditional fresh water bodies in the village to conserve them for the future, sarpanch Joseph Sequeira said. Sequeira said there are an estimated 15 water bodies in the village, most of which are lying in a neglected condition. Some of the ponds, like ‘Bamontollem’, which are choked with weeds and waste will be cleaned and rejuvenated so that these can be used for water harvesting and agriculture, he said.Meanwhile, Sequeira said that the water supply situation will improve with the commissioning of the long-delayed water storage facility near Calangute bus stand, he said. The two new tanks have been built at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore.Sequeira along with other panchayat members had recently conducted an inspection of the water tanks site.“This project was pending for many years, so we met the officials concerned and decided to make them operational,” he said. Work on the facility comprising two tanks, that are built one above the other, had started in late 2018 and was to be commissioned in six months.
Dear Reader,Soon after becoming the Prime Minister in 2014, Narendra Modi spoke about cooperative federalism as an idea that could guide Centre-state relations. His long experience as Chief Minister of Gujarat, presumably, may have been an instructive influence in shaping his vision of governance. Unfortunately, federal relations have been on the downslide for some years now.Historically, Centre-state relations have been a fraught issue since the 1960s, especially during the premierships of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. The tension would exacerbate whenever an Opposition party would win power in a state. In fact, the Kerala crisis in 1959 was a harbinger of how this tension could build into a stand-off between the Union and the state governments. In the heyday of the Congress and Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1950s, Kerala had voted in a CPI government. Just two years after it was sworn in, the Congress-led Opposition, in cahoots with caste/ communitarian groups that were upset with the radical tenancy and education reforms, launched a mass movement calling for the ouster of the communist government. In 1959, reportedly under pressure from the then Congress president, Indira Gandhi, the Nehru government invoked Article 371 to dismiss the EMS government, which enjoyed a majority in the Assembly. Thereafter, successive Union governments, with support from pliable governors, have dismissed inconvenient state governments and imposed President’s Rule in Opposition-ruled states. This tendency peaked in the 1970s and 80s under Indira and Rajiv. Parties such as the CPM, citing the examples of Kerala and West Bengal, used to campaign against the Centre’s “step-motherly treatment” of Opposition-run states. This was the backdrop of the Sarkaria Commission (1983) that looked into Centre-state relations and made numerous proposals for its improvement. Despite Modi’s assurances, federalism seems to have taken a knock as an ambitious BJP seeks to dominate the polity at all costs. The ongoing controversy over the Vedanta-Foxconn project, which this newspaper has tracked in depth, as well as the mass defections in Goa seem like a throwback to the 1970s and 80s, when the Congress used to ignore constitutional and institutional propriety to further its political goals.Last week, it was announced that the Rs 1.54 lakh crore Vedanta-Foxconn project, originally planned for Maharashtra, would come up in Gujarat. The Opposition in Maharashtra alleged that the Centre used its leverage over the promoters to shift the project to Gujarat. Until recently, the Maha Vikas Aghadi, an anti BJP alliance, was in office in Mumbai. Moreover, Gujarat is headed for elections later this year. This war of words between the BJP-Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction) and the MVA has threatened to open old fault lines in federal relations as well as the state’s political economy. Also, ethnic tensions that date back to the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement in the 1950s have started to feature in political debates. Girish Kuber (‘A troubling trend’, September 16) fleshed out the details of the controversy while an editorial (‘Whose project’, September 16) cautioned against an emerging chill in Centre -state relations. The editorial said: “There is no reason why cities or states within India must not compete among themselves for investment and industry. In fact, they should. At the same time, the political gloves are off, Centre-state chill is deepening, many MLAs have become fungible assets, making for tricky terrain when it comes to who decides to invest where. The stakes are high when the fault lines run deep, watch this space.”The defection of eight Congress MLAs in Goa to the BJP, reminiscent of similar movements in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka, exposed the lead Opposition party’s inability to keep its flock together in the absence of power. An editorial (‘Aya Ram, Gaya Ram’, September 15) pointed out the weakening of the Opposition space as the BJP seeks to consolidate the political space. If the slogan was Congress-mukt Bharat in 2014, today it seems to be Opposition-mukt Bharat. As majorities are upturned or enhanced, the anti-defection law, which was introduced in the 1980s with the intent to raise the bar for party hopping, has been thoroughly exposed. Legislators seem ready to switch sides shamelessly — in Goa, the elections were held as recently as March — with the confidence that voters may be willing to condone their act. In Karnataka, most of the MLAs who defected got reelected on their new party symbol. Perhaps, Parliament should tweak the anti-defection law and ask defecting legislators to sit out one term before they seek endorsement of voters in their new avatar!As the Opposition space gets squeezed elsewhere, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announced that his government will provide breakfast to primary school students. This is in addition to the universal mid-day meal scheme that has been a part of public education in the state since the 1980s. What is interesting is that Stalin has sought to give a political spin to his initiative by stating that the scheme is welfare, not a freebie, and it is his “duty” to provide such welfare. The breakfast scheme is part of a slew of initiatives in the education sector that Tamil Nadu has introduced in recent months. These interventions in education are framed as conscious political acts and in step with the Dravidian Model of governance as against the preference of Hindutva politics for a polarising nationalism and other majoritarian agendas. This could become the core of a new Opposition politics.One of cinema’s greatest auteurs departed last week. Jean-Luc Godard, French director and film theorist, reportedly died by assisted suicide at the age of 91 in Switzerland. Godard was one of the leaders of the French New Wave and inspired filmmakers all over the world. His films were political to the core and constantly explored the politics of the image and sound. He constantly reinvented himself as an artist to keep his autonomy and agency and from being appropriated by the state and its institutions as well as to keep up with upheavals in politics, science and technology. C S Venkiteswaran (‘Conscience of cinema’, September 14) and Amrit Gangar (‘Godard on the Borivali local’, September 15) wrote touching tributes to the maestro.Last week also saw a new development in the Gyanvapi mosque case, with a district court in Varanasi agreeing to hear a plea by five Hindu devotees that their right to worship at the site be protected (‘Law and politics’, September 13). The hearing is set to begin on September 22. Faizan Mustafa (‘Not by the law’, September 13) warned against over-dependence on litigation to maintain social harmony.That’s all for this week.Thank you,AmrithAmrith Lal is Deputy Editor with the Opinion team