Times of India | 2 weeks ago | 20-11-2022 | 04:55 am
Away from New Delhi’s blue winters and red tape, when the International Film Festival of India (Iffi) landed in Goa for the first time in 2004, the coastal state appeared to be just the change the festival needed.It was Manohar Parrikar’s pet project. The former chief minister relentlessly pursued his request with former Union minister S Jaipal Reddy and ensured that the festival had a new home.“Iffi would turn Goa into Cannes, boost tourism,” was Parrikar’s common refrain, adding that it will be like the Cannes Film Festival, but with a Goan flavour. He felt Iffi could expand Goa’s presence on the world map for a different purpose as well.Even the festival dates were advanced from the original November 29 to December 9 to avoid clashing with the feast of St Francis Xavier. There was a Rs 100-crore investment to build infrastructure like roads, under Parrikar’s personal and round-the-clock supervision.November 2023 will see Iffi’s 20th edition in Goa. But some filmmakers, and those closely associated with the organisation of the festival in the past, feel that its handling needs to be rethought along the lines of Parrikar’s vision.Excessive political and bureaucratic interference has caught up with Iffi’s management in its journey from the Capital to Goa, says multiple National Award-winning filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan.“While shifting the festival to Goa, it was announced that Iffi in Goa would be made to match Cannes, but alas, efforts have not been made to build it to international standards,” says Adoor. “Despite having gone through six decades of existence, it cannot claim a position amongst any of the significant world festivals.”Adoor says that festival films and its culture are a different ball game altogether, while Iffi continues to be in the hands of bureaucrats ‘who have no knowledge or commitment to the cause of cinema’.“Presently, Iffi is run like an event where politicians and occasionally stars make their obligatory appearance and the opportunity is used to dole out lifetime achievement awards to leading stars who are in no way connected with festival films or its culture,” says the filmmaker.A long-serving former member of the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) — the state vehicle created for organisation of Iffi — recollects Parrikar’s plans to eventually have an autonomous body run Iffi.“Parrikar wanted the directorate of film festivals (DFF) to do the hand-holding only for the first couple of years in Goa. But now the ESG is being fully run by politicians and political workers. Under Digambar Kamat as CM, he ensured that DFF set up an office in Goa. But today the office only exists in structure and all strings are pulled from Delhi. Foreign delegates coming to Iffi are almost as good as nil today,” says the member.Iffi was to be a platform for the Indian film industry to showcase its “products” and also promote Goa as a tourism destination.Filmmaker Bardroy Barretto, whose Konkani film ‘Nachom-ia Kumpasar’ won a National Award, feels efforts have not been made to develop a film culture within Goa to create the right atmosphere for Iffi.“Iffi has a brand value as a festival and it is one of the better film festivals,” says Barretto. “They wanted to take advantage of brand Goa as a destination, which they have done over the years. As a filmmaker, Iffi does give us access to better films. But there is nothing more to it. The Goa government doesn’t look at it as cultural but only as entertainment.”He suggests that instead of leaving auditoriums vacant throughout the year at the ESG complex, they should be given to Goan filmmakers to screen their movies, as theatre releases are not financially feasible for them.“We don’t even need the film finance scheme. If they allow us access to the screening facility it is a win-win situation,” he says.As one film critic who attended Iffi in Goa says, ‘to run an international festival you need faith in world cinema as opposed to Bollywood and Hollywood’.“Some of us have been impressing upon the government that the festival should be made independent of governmental interference and the government’s participation should be limited to yearly grants. We must take lessons from festivals like Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto,” says Adoor.Another former ESG member agrees that the festival should be organised by an autonomous body, as Parrikar had wanted.“The central government is only spending Rs 3-4 crore, the rest almost Rs 20 crore is spent by the Goa government, but it does not have the courage to say that Goa needs more control of the festival,” he says.
PANAJI: Ahead of the inauguration of the new Goa International Airport at Mopa low cost airline IndiGo announced that it would start 12 daily flights from the new airport from January 5. IndiGo will operate 168 weekly flights connecting all the major metros along with Pune, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. The private airline said the Mopa will be the "largest ever new station launch" in the country with direct flights to eight airports. At the same time, IndiGo said that it will continue with the existing flights from Goa International Airport at Dabolim. "We are very excited to announce our largest ever new station launch with new direct connections from the New Goa International Airport in Mopa," said IndiGo chief executive officer Pieter Elbers. IndiGo said that the new flights are designed to cater to travelers who are "constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options" to fly to Goa whether for business or for tourism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Goa’s second international airport at Mopa on December 11 but the airport will begin operations from January 5. IndiGo said that it is introducing new flights to cater to the “increasing demand” from tourists who want to travel to north Goa. “Residents of Goa will also be able to utilize these new services to fly directly to many large cities across India and utilize IndiGo’s comprehensive network at its hubs to connect onward to its entire network spanning more than 100 destinations,” said the airline in a statement.
PANAJI: In what is becoming a trend among tourists, yet another individual drove a car onto a beach, this time onto the Morjim beach. With images of the vehicle being circulated on social media, the tourism department directed the Pernem Police Station to file an FIR against the unidentified individuals. According to deputy director for Tourism Dhiraj Vagle, the incident occurred on Thursday noon time. The vehicle, a Toyota Innova Crysta, appears stuck in the sand at Morjim. Photographs of the car, which has Goa registration, showed three individuals besides the car which is close to the high tide line. Morjim is a known Olive Ridley turtle nesting site and the government has banned all forms of activity that can disturb the turtles. The tourism department has also declared driving on Goa's beaches as a nuisance as such activities can damage the tourism potential of Goa’s beaches. Incidents where tourists violate rules and drive in a reckless manner have become common in Goa. “One unauthorized vehicle bearing registration No GA 03 Z 8474 was found to be recklessly and illegally driving at Morjim beach stretch,” said Vagle. Vagle asked the police to file an FIR against the driver and owner of the vehicle under section 188 of IPC. Along with criminal proceedings, the guilty will also have to pay a fine of Rs 5000 extendible up to Rs 50000. Under the Goa Tourist Places Protection and Maintenance Act, the tourism department has prohibited several activities including cooking of food in open spaces, begging, driving on beaches, drinking in public, massages, unauthorized hawkers and selling of cruise tickets. In this case, the owner of the car is liable for fines to the tune of Rs 5000 extendible upto Rs 50000. Goa has witnessed several instances of tourists taking their personal vehicles and rented vehicles for a drive on the beach, often even driving into the water. In the past, several vehicles got bogged down in the sand and were even partially submerged in water.
PANAJI: CM Pramod Sawant said on Wednesday that the 9th World Ayurveda Congress and Arogya Expo, which starts in Goa on Thursday, will feature free Ayush clinics and OPDs, and appealed to the public to avail of these. Sawant said that 4,500 participants have registered to attend the event; of these, 400 are foreigners, from 53 countries. He also said that Ayush ministers from five states will be present for the opening. The congress aims to popularise ayurveda as an authentic and affordable healing method, and as a prevention-oriented healthcare system. There will be 150 invited keynote speakers from the field of ayurveda, as well as cultural programmes and a documentary film festival on ayurveda. “Union Ayush minister Sarbananda Sonowal will inaugurate the meet, which will also be addressed by Union minister of state for tourism Shripad Naik and Union minister of state for Ayush Munjpara Mahendrabhai Kalubhai,” Sawant said. The event on the traditional system will be on for four days, and will conclude on Sunday in the presence of PM Narendra Modi, who will speak at the valedictory session. The PM recently announced Ayush visas to develop tourism, health and wellness centres in the country. With ‘ayurveda for one health’ as the event theme, the expo has been organized by the World Ayurveda Foundation, an initiative of Vijnana Bharati, with the support from the Union Ayush ministry and the Goa government. The conclave is being attended by the World Health Organisation for the first time, and will have six plenary sessions, besides 20 associate events, including a WHO event on traditional medicines. The congress will see around 3,800 abstracts for oral, e-book, and poster presentations. Major topics to be deliberated include expanding the scope of ayurveda — new-age prospects, innovations and entrepreneurship, ayurveda education, ayur informatics, innovation ecosystem, health and environment, and healing in India. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a key topic of discussion will also be ‘facing the pandemic with ayurveda’. Rajesh Kotecha, secretary, ministry of Ayush, and Rajesh Gokhale, secretary, department of biotechnology, will be among the speakers at the plenary sessions.
Panaji: Aside from discussions on the advances in ayurveda, experts and researchers will formulate policies for the development and propagation of ayurveda, including the use of alternative medicine for animal welfare, said the organisers.The deliberations will be held at the 9th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo which will be attended by 5,000 delegates from India and 60 other countries. The four-day event will also see over 200 industry players showcase their contribution to alternative medicine.“This provides a platform for future development of policies for the propagation of ayurveda for the world,” said secretary general of the World Ayurveda Congress and professor at the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA) Anup Thakar. “The best academicians, delegates, ayurveda practitioners and experts will debate during plenary sessions. The demand for ayurveda has increased manifold across the world.”The event aims to prepare a roadmap to promote ayurveda as a reliable, scientific and alternative healthcare system. “Goa has a lot of potential for ayurveda. The way Kerala has used branding and promotion, Goa has a big opportunity to make ayurveda a strong point for wellness tourism and boost its economy,” said Thakar.Director general at the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) Rabinarayan Acharya said that for the first time, a dedicated two-day conclave on veterinary ayurveda will be held on the sidelines of the expo where scientists and professors will share scientific research in the field of animal healthcare.Deputy director of the Ayush export council Ashutosh Shrivastava said that in order to increase export of Ayush and alternative medicines, 50 buyers from foreign nations along with regulators from other nations have been invited for the conference. “We will get them connected with Indian exporters and manufacturers. There will foreign drug regulators who will bring in information about their practices so that India can see how to meet their standards,” said Shrivastava.
Panaji: The very first management plans, as required under the Union environment ministry’s norms, for five of Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries and one national park are in their final stages of preparation. Once approved, the plans will be in force for 10 years. Each plan will lay a blueprint for the protected areas’ wildlife habitat management, soil and moisture conservation, protection of sanctuary area, eco-development and eco-tourism, and biodiversity enrichment plantation.“There is already a management plan in place for the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Chorao. The management plan for Bondla is nearly ready and will be submitted for approval soon. The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary plan is in the last stages of preparation. The Mhadei and the Netravali wildlife sanctuary management plans are set to be completed soon and the plan for Mollem national park and wildlife sanctuary is in advanced stages of preparation,” said the chief conservator of forests for Goa, Saurabh Kumar.The state forest department had engaged local experts who have prepared the plans with inputs from the deputy conservator of forests from each of the areas concerned. While the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary plan has been prepared by Nandkumar Sawant, the management plans for Cotigao and Netravali wildlife sanctuaries have been prepared by Manoj Borkar. Sawant and Borkar are both senior academicians.Principal investigator at Goa University, Nitin Sawant, is preparing the management plan for Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, while Sujeet Kumar Dongre of the centre for environmental education is drawing the plans for the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park at Mollem.“The management plans will cover all features of each sanctuary area like its topography, humidity, rainfall patterns, soil, flora and fauna while recording endemic and flagship species present there. The sources of water will also be detailed. Based on this, we will be able to plan better where fruit-bearing trees or palatable grasses need to be planted, where to create artificial waterholes, and what soil and moisture conservation measures are needed,” said Kumar.Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries were notified in the late 1990s but did not have management plans until now as required under central government norms.“Having a management plan will also help in seeking funds from the Centre for various projects. The plans will even guide us in aspects such as carrying capacity for eco-tourism and how to involve locals in eco-tourism projects. Extensive and intensive groundwork has been carried out by the experts to prepare the management plans with our deputy conservator of forests,” said Kumar.Though the management plans will be in force for 10 years from the time each is approved, a review every 3-4 years is important, he said, “for rearrangement of descriptions and prescription of different work components, deletion of unnecessary items and addition of different activities on the basis of outcomes”.