Latest Goa Breaking News & Headlines

Water war: Amit Shah never consulted Goa on Mhadei diversion, say BJP mantris
Times of India | 5 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 09:45 am
Times of India
5 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 09:45 am

PANAJI: Two days after Union home minister Amit Shah said water-sharing issue between Karnataka and Goa was “resolved” by his party to allow diversion of water to Karnataka in consultation with the Goa government, two BJP ministers of the Pramod Sawant-led government came down heavily on Shah and said it was “condemnable and unacceptable” and no discussion had taken place on water diversion.“I condemn the Union home minister’s statement tooth and nail. We are not against in-basin use of Mhadei’s water. But we are against the water being taken outside its basin by Karnataka for use. It may be anybody, if they speak of out-of-basin use of water of the Mhadei, I will condemn it,” state environment minister Nilesh Cabral said on Monday.State water resources minister Subhash Shirodkar also said Shah’s statement was “unacceptable” and no discussion had taken place on diverting the Mhadei water to Karnataka when the Goa delegation had met the home minister.The ministers’ remarks come close on the heels of widespread anti-BJP sentiment on the Mhadei issue with gram sabhas across the state accusing the government of saying one thing and doing another. Cabral, who is also the law minister, said if the Centre did not support Goa, the state has plenty of legal options still available. He said that the House panel formed in Goa will be meeting Shah in Delhi shortly and will ask him when such a consultation was made with Goa.Goa has filed a petition before the Supreme Court to stop Karnataka from carrying out construction activities based on the detailed project report (DPR) approved by the Centre to divert water from the Mhadei. The petition is likely to come up for hearing on February 13.“The Mhadei Water Disputes Tribunal has only given permission to Karnataka to use water for drinking. Now, the statement made (by Shah) is that the water will be used for irrigation. We don’t know what this is,” said Cabral.“I have come here today (Saturday) to tell you that BJP, by finding a solution to the long-pending fight between the two states (Goa and Karnataka), provided the Mhadei water to Karnataka, which will be beneficial to farmers across many districts of Karnataka,” Shah had said at a public rally at Kittur in Belagavi district.Cabral reiterated that chief minister Pramod Sawant had not held any discussion whatsoever with Shah over diverting the Mhadei water in Karnataka’s favour.“I am backing the CM 100% on this. He has not made any such statement (before Shah) and he will not make it. I don’t know how Amit Shah is making this statement,” said Cabral.He said the Goa delegation had earlier gone to meet the home minister in keeping with the legal provision wherein the home minister holds negotiations to resolve any dispute existing between two states.“We don’t have any elections here, so I am condemning his (Shah’s) statement. We have two options. We can resolve it with the support from the central leadership. And if we don’t get support, we have the legal route. We will go to the courts. Ultimately, the judiciary will take all angles into consideration and decide,” said Cabral.“I do not accept the home minister’s statement. When we met him, no such discussion took place. He told us that there are BJP governments in Goa and in Karnataka and that our interests will be taken care of,” said WRD minister Subhash Shirodkar.

Water war: Amit Shah never consulted Goa on Mhadei diversion, say BJP mantris
Study by Goa Medical College doctors finds 12.7% road accidents due to alcohol consumption
Times of India | 6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 09:06 am
Times of India
6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 09:06 am

PANAJI: A study on road traffic accidents (RTAs) conducted by two doctors from the Goa Medical College and covering 440 cases found that a large number of drivers—13.04%—drove without a licence and that a sizeable number had consumed alcohol, thus placing themselves and others at risk.As per the study, the use of alcohol within six hours before the accident was noted in 38 (12.7%) of the victims who were in the driver’s seat. It also found that 234 (65.4%) had not used a seat belt or worn a helmet and that 350 (79.5%) suffered grievous injuries as opposed to 90 who sustained simple injuries.‘A Study of Road Traffic Injury Victims at the Tertiary Care Hospital in Goa’ by Dr Abhishek Bicholkar and Dr Jagadish Cacodkar was published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care in 2022.The study has attempted to highlight the root causes of RTAs and to study injury patterns in victims. It found that 40 victims (9.1%) reported regular use of alcohol, while 32 reported smoking.As many as 90 (23.6%) victims did not own the vehicle involved in the accident. It either belonged to a friend, relative or employer. A majority, 134 (30.4%) were in the age group of 30-40, whereas more than half were in the 20-55 age bracket, a key wage-earning and child-raising group.As many as 114 (25.9%) were in the 20-30 age group. Also, the majority, 322 (73.2%) of the victims were men and 118 (26.8%) women. More than half the victims were married, and 144 were single. Other victims were either widows, divorcees, or separated from their spouses. The loss of a breadwinner or head of the household in a road accident, an injury, or a disability can be catastrophic to a family and often lead to a lower standard of living, and drives them deeper into poverty, the study noted.Also, 46 victims reported an obstruction on the road, which caused the accident. Most of the hurdles were in the form of animals crossing the road or cattle sitting on the road. Movable dividers lying across the road, a pedestrian, road construction debris, or other objects such as fallen tree branches accounted for some of the accidents. The study concluded there was a need to increase awareness among road users and the community regarding road safety. Government authorities should ensure consistent and strict implementation of traffic rules and accelerate the implementation of road-safety preventive measures, the study stated.

Study by Goa Medical College doctors finds 12.7% road accidents due to alcohol consumption
Corjuem Fort to get amphitheatre after Rs 2.8 crore restoration
Times of India | 6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 09:00 am
Times of India
6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 09:00 am

PANAJI: Parts of the centuries-old Corjuem fort in Aldona, which had weakened from growth of vegetation, will be restored by dismantling and rearranging the affected stones. The restoration work, which began in January 2021, is estimated to cost around Rs 2.8 crore.“Currently we are doing other work at the fort such as raking of joints and pointing. The cleaning of vegetation requires a dry climate because when we open the structure and rearrange they must get properly dried. The right temperature must therefore be ensured,” said assistant superintendent archaeologist Varad Sabnis.The department of archaeology is also constructing a pathway around the fort so that visitors can circle around the structure and take in the external views. “There is scope for a circumambulatory path and as a result we have added that feature. The bastion and other features of the fort are better viewed from the outside,” he said.The directorate intends to set up an amphitheatre in the fort which will feature a seating arrangement made from plinths. This space will be used to host cultural festivals and events with the backdrop of the fort.“The basic purpose for which these forts were built are outdated. We can no longer use them to fight wars. We therefore need to bring life to these forts with adaptive reuse of the fort which will not affect its heritage value,” Sabnis said.The Corjuem fort was built in 1550 and was originally the property of the Bhonsle rulers of Sawantwadi. However in the time of Viceroy Caetano de Mello e Castro the fort was annexed part of the Portuguese administration of Goa. The fort was declared as a protected monument under the Goa, Daman and Diu Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1978, 1 of 1979 and its rules 1980.

Corjuem Fort to get amphitheatre after Rs 2.8 crore restoration
50,000 women screened for breast cancer in Goa, 24 test positive
Times of India | 6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:51 am
Times of India
6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:51 am

PANAJI: The state screened 50,019 women for breast cancer till December 2022 of which 24 tested positive for the disease.The target is to screen two lakh women for breast cancer over a period of two years, health minister Vishwajit Rane told reporters on Monday at an event organised to celebrate the completion of 50,000 screenings. The screenings were conducted under ‘Swasth Mahila, Swasth Goa’ an initiative of Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan Foundation, supported by the Goa government, the SBI Foundation and UE Lifesciences.The purpose of the exercise, said Rane, is to facilitate early detection so that treatment can be started as early as possible.In Goa, among all cancers, the incidence of breast cancer is high among the above-30 female population. “Around 40% of patients are diagnosed in advanced stages due to lack of screening,” said director of health services Dr Geeta Kakodkar.The Goa Medical College’s (GMC) department of surgery treats an average of 25 breast cancer cases a month. “There is also a steep rise in gastrointestinal cancers, and the GMC has developed a special endoscopy unit. Also, a complex ‘whipples’ procedure is performed on patients suffering from pancreatic cancer,” said GMC dean, Dr S M Bandekar. Every month, on average, around 130 cases of solid organ tumors are operated on and 186 cancer patients are treated at the GMC.Bandekar said that preparations to start a surgical oncology unit have been completed.Stating that Goa is the only state in the country that provides free cancer treatment, Rane said, “Recently, a young boy from Sattari underwent 25 sessions of chemotherapy at the GMC. Had the facility not been available at GMC, the treatment would have cost him around Rs 9 lakh.” Kakodkar said that a rise in cancer has also been seen due to tobacco consumption. Tobacco cessation centres at the North and South district hospitals provide counselling and pharmacotherapy. Awareness programmes are also conducted, said Kakodkar.

50,000 women screened for breast cancer in Goa, 24 test positive
Goa: Citizens allege river diversion and coal handling linked, protest at MPA
Times of India | 6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:44 am
Times of India
6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:44 am

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.

Goa: Citizens allege river diversion and coal handling linked, protest at MPA
Regional cancer institute will be ready in next 16 months, says Vishwajit Rane
Times of India | 6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:34 am
Times of India
6 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:34 am

PANAJI: The regional cancer institute that is being built on the premises of the Goa Medical College will be completed in the next 15 to 16 months, health minister Vishwajit Rane announced on Monday.“Dr Kailash Sharma has been appointed as the nodal officer for the regional centre and the Assam model will be followed in operating the cancer facility in the state,” said Rane.The Assam model, said Rane, has been recommended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Under this model, the regional facility will operate in coordination with the Centre, and in association with the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.“There is a fixed format of the central government and an agreement that will be followed for the regional cancer centre. The process has been initiated,” said Rane. The health minister also clarified that the state will not have a tie-up with any private institute for the running of the cancer centre.He added the government was looking at whether cancer marker tests could be made available at all government facilities.The Centre has given the Goa government Rs 104 crore for setting up holistic and wellness centres in urban areas, and one has been already set up in Sattari. A consultant has been appointed to study where more centres can be established, the health minister said.A palliative care centre was recently started at the South Goa district hospital with the support of the Cipla Foundation, said Dr Anupama Borker, chief consultant and head at Goa Medical College’s department of medical oncology, adding that with the increasing cancer burden, the need for palliative care services was felt to assist patients and their families in dealing with the life-threatening illness. Palliative care services play an important role in improving patients’ quality of life and that of their families too, who face various challenges while dealing with the disease, said Borker. Meanwhile, the superspecialty block of the Goa Medical College is expected to be fully commissioned in three to four months. The appointment of consultants has been cleared. There is a need for an additional Rs 200 crore to purchase the diagnostic equipment for the superspecialty block, Rane added.

Regional cancer institute will be ready in next 16 months, says Vishwajit Rane
Goa has a strong legal case on Mhadei: CM Pramod Sawant
Times of India | 7 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:21 am
Times of India
7 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:21 am

PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said on Monday that Goa has a strong legal case on the Mhadei issue, and that the state would work towards protecting the river.“Once again I am repeating that we are legally strong in the Mhadei fight, and soon you will see the results,” said Sawant. The Supreme Court is likely to hear the interlocutory application filed by Goa on February 13. The petition seeks to stop Karnataka from construction activities based on the detailed project report approved by the Centre to divert water from the Mhadei. tnn Sawant’s statement, after paying floral tributes at the martyrs’ memorial at Azad Maidan, comes in the wake of Union home minister Amit Shah’s declaration that the over three-decade-old Mhadei water sharing issue between Karnataka and Goa was “resolved” by his party to allow diversion of water to Karnataka with the help of the Goa government.Shah’s comments came even as the state is trying to stop the illegal diversion of the Mhadei by Karnataka. At the four-day winter session, after a seven-hour discussion, the Goa assembly unanimously approved a resolution urging the Centre to withdraw the approval granted to Karnataka for the Mhadei diversion.In view of Shah’s statement, village panchayats across the state condemned Shah’s statement. The opposition, too, has demanded that the House committee on Mhadei discusses the issue before it’s too late.The Union home minister on Saturday congratulated the Karnataka CM and the state leaders for having “done a great job by taking along the BJP government in Goa and quenching the thirst of Karnataka by providing Mhadei water”.“I have come here today (Saturday) to tell you that BJP, by finding a solution to the long-pending fight between the two states (Goa and Karnataka), provided the Mhadei water to Karnataka, which will be beneficial to farmers across many districts of Karnataka,” Shah said, addressing a public rally at Kittur in Belagavi district.Earlier, Sawant had led a delegation to Delhi to meet Shah and Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to press the state’s demand to withdraw the approval granted to the DPR. The state also demanded the formation of the Mhadei Water Management Authority to stop illegal diversion of water from the Mhadei basin by Karnataka.

Goa has a strong legal case on Mhadei: CM Pramod Sawant
Tatas for major expansion in Goa, set to pump in Rs 300 crore
Times of India | 7 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:18 am
Times of India
7 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:18 am

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.

Tatas for major expansion in Goa, set to pump in Rs 300 crore
State to set up 100 solar dryers for farmers to use
Times of India | 10 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 04:39 am
Times of India
10 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 04:39 am

Panaji: The state government has decided to set up 100 solar dryers on a turnkey basis to dry chillies, breadfruit, fish and jackfruit, among others. The solar dryers, which will be set up in three phases, are expected to improve both the drying process and the final product. A senior officer said that in the first phase site visits will be conducted for a feasibility study. In the second phase, a pilot demonstration and field study will be carried out which will include two units for each drying application. The officer said that after the first two phases, the state will invite bidders to supply, install, and monitor the solar dryers. NISE has designed and developed an innovative solar dryer cum space heating system with a thermal storage system that can be used for drying a variety of agricultural and horticultural products. “The solar dryer can heat incoming air up to 60°C above ambient (up to 120°C), making it ideally suited for many agriculture and horticulture drying applications. The solar air heating system may provide all of the heat on a sunny day or act as a pre-heat in cloudy conditions. It can either act in a standalone capacity via our modular system or as a pre-heat to traditional mechanical operations,” the officer said. NISE has designed and developed an innovative solar dryer cum space heating system with a thermal storage system that can be used for drying a variety of agricultural and horticultural products

State to set up 100 solar dryers for farmers to use
TCP revokes permission for Kadamba plateau hill-cutting
Times of India | 10 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 04:38 am
Times of India
10 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 04:38 am

Panaji: The North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) on Monday withdrew the permission for hill cutting and construction granted to the Jaipur-based Manglam Group after a site inspection revealed that the construction firm had allegedly violated norms. Town and country planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane conducted the inspection and issued directions to the NGPDA and TCP department to immediately revoke all permissions granted to the company’s River Valley project.The NGPDA had issued construction permissions to the Manglam Group, and had also permitted the real estate developers to undertake hill cutting as per Section 17A of the TCP Act.“Stop work order will be issued. Showcause notice is being served. I am revoking the permissions and this project will not be allowed to come up. This is being done at the government level,” said Rane.Rane said that the real estate firm had violated the terms of the Section 17A permission to undertake hill cutting.Section 17A of the Goa Town & Country Planning Act prohibits hill cutting and filling up of low-lying land. The department only grants permission for hill cutting if the gradient is more than 1:10. Manglam is building a residential-cum-commercial project on 27,324 sqm of land at the start of the Kadamba plateau. Rane has now proposed to declare the 1km stretch of slope on the Kadamba Plateau a no-development zone. The minister said that he will move the file at the next TCP board meeting.Speaking to Manglam officials, Rane said that the construction firm should not approach him for leniency. The issue came to light after advocate Aires Rodrigues and Revolutionary Goans flagged the massive hill-cutting and questioned the government’s silence on the issue.

TCP revokes permission for Kadamba plateau hill-cutting
Porvorim accident: 11 years on, Mumbai man acquitted
Times of India | 11 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 04:01 am
Times of India
11 hours ago | 31-01-2023 | 04:01 am

Panaji: Eleven years after Mumbai resident Anuj Amarnath Jha allegedly rode in a rash and negligent manner in Porvorim, resulting in the death of his pillion rider, he has been acquitted by a North Goa court.The court found that the investigating officer did not record the statements of crucial and independent witnesses, many of whom had gathered at the spot of the accident.The owner of a four-wheeler had filed a complaint stating that as he was driving along with his son and daughter from Panaji to Siolim, a scooter came from the Mapusa side in speed and crossed the divider line and dashed into his car. The pillion rider, a 21-year-old resident of Mumbai, succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at GMC. The court found that the prosecution did not examine the daughter of the complainant and occupant of the four-wheeler and did not inquire who was driving the car at the time of the accident. The prosecution completely relied on the statement/version of the complainant “although people were present and had gathered at the spot”, the court observed.The prosecution admitted that there was no examination of any other independent witness besides the family members and occupants of the four-wheeler.“It is also pertinent to note that the road at the accident spot is a busy NH Highway, people were present and had gathered at the spot at the time of alleged accident,” the court said. “…however no independent witness has been examined by the IO/PW8 to prove that the accused rode his Aviator scooter in a rash and negligent manner so as to endanger human life and on account of which he dashed against the said car which resulted in the said accident or to prove that the accused was riding the said Aviator scooter in high speed.”An eyewitness, who “would have been the crucial witness in this matter”, who was proceeding in front of the four-wheeler on his motorcycle was also not examined.

Porvorim accident: 11 years on, Mumbai man acquitted
Anil’s late strike helps Churchill move up
Times of India | 15 hours ago | 30-01-2023 | 11:51 pm
Times of India
15 hours ago | 30-01-2023 | 11:51 pm

Vasco:Churchill Brothers FC were made to sweat for full points as the home side carved out a 1-0 win against Sudeva Delhi FC in a I-League clash at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Monday.Sudeva are bottom of the league table, that too without a win, but Sankarlal Chakraborty’s side pushed the home team to their limits.Churchill tried everything at their disposal before finally piercing through Sudeva’s hearts in the 83rd minute when Man-of-the-Match Anil Gaonkar broke the deadlock. The win helped Churchill move to the fifth spot with 20 points from 14 games, nine points away from league leaders Punjab FC. Sudeva remained anchored at the bottom with two points after 12 matches.Churchill’s start clearly showed urgency to score after coming into the fixture with a frustrating goalless draw against Real Kashmir FC at home.Emmanuel Yaghr and Momo Cisse tried headers but didn’t trouble Sudeva custodian Priyant Singh.Then, Lamgoulen floated a dangerous ball inside the box and Priyant misjudged his collection, but Yaghr headed agonisingly wide with an open goal at his mercy.Churchill’s season has been plagued with injuries to their foreign players and soon the Goan side were hit with another blow as Uruguayan midfielder Martin Chaves had to be stretched out with a shoulder injury. After much hesitation, coach Fernando Varela had to replace Chaves with Senegalese forward Abdoulaye Sane, their top scorer.Sudeva, at the other end, were trying to make their efforts count, most precisely Alexis Gomez as the Argentine posed a real threat. First, Gomez forced Churchill keeper Albino Gomes to a diving save and then saw his promising effort hit the crossbar.The home team had more of the ball, but as its been this season for the two-time champions, finishing is what let them down.Just after the half an hour mark, Anil skilfully dribbled past a couple of Sudeva opponents on the left flank and crossed but it was difficult for onrushing Yaghr to keep his shot on target. Sane then attempted a bicycle kick while Ponif Vaz’s header fell straight to the goalkeeper.In the second half, Churchill’s quest for the opener continued against a stubborn Sudeva defence. Anil’s powerful effort was blocked and then unmarked Ponif missed a glorious opportunity after heading wide from close. Varela introduced Kapil Hoble after the hour mark in hope of opening the rival defence. That move didn’t pay off. However, it was another substitution late into the match that bore fruit. Talented Lalawmpuia Sailo replaced Kingslee Fernandes in the centre of midfield and the 19-year-old Mizoram medio cut open the Sudeva back line with a delightful through ball for Anil.Anil did equally well as he evaded his marker, got the ball on his stronger leg and unleashed a right-footer past Priyant in the 83rd minute for three important points.

Anil’s late strike helps Churchill move up
American green iguana surfaces at Goa’s Chapora
Times of India | 1 day ago | 30-01-2023 | 01:00 pm
Times of India
1 day ago | 30-01-2023 | 01:00 pm

PANAJI: A juvenile of a green iguana (Iguana iguana), a herbivorous lizard preferred by many hobbyists for its bright colours and quiet nature, that was recently rescued at Chapora is being tended to at a rescue centre at Bicholim.The sudden appearance of the barely one-foot lizard, also called American iguana, at his doorstep surprised Nilesh V Gaonkar, a resident of Bandirwada, Chapora. "We were puzzled by its sight and didn't know what to do with it. We immediately called a snake rescuer (of animal rescue squad (ARS), Bicholim)," said Gaonkar.A few hours later, Gautam Kamble, a volunteer with the voluntary organisation, reached the spot and rescued the reptile. It was taken to the ARS centre at Bicholim."We have kept the lizard in a cage and it is being looked after with due care," said Amrut Singh of ARS.The lizard, which grows up to 5.6 feet or even 6.6 feet in some cases, weighs more than 9 kg. Maintaining an iguana as a pet is quite difficult as it needs space and enough heat to keep it warm."It is cold blooded and needs to be put out in the sunshine for basking and, if it is cold, an ultraviolet B light," said Singh.Being an exotic species-its native range is from southern Paraguay to Mexico-it was probably brought in by some foreign tourist, said ARS, which is considering relocating the reptile to the Rajiv Gandhi zoological park, a wild animals rescue and rehabilitation centre at Pune. "We have contacted the Pune animal park, which we have learnt has some iguanas," said Singh.

American green iguana surfaces at Goa’s Chapora
Green nod for part of Kalem double-tracking
Times of India | 3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 07:02 am
Times of India
3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 07:02 am

PANAJI: The Union environment ministry’s regional empowered committee (REC), based on the Goa government’s request, has decided to recommend revocation of abeyance for part of the stretch for railway line double-tracking on the Kalem-Sanvordem route.However, the REC has said that the user agency has to fully comply with Supreme Court directives for the other stretches on the route as they fall within an eco-sensitive zone.The Supreme Court, in its order dated May 9, 2022, had revoked the approvals granted by the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife for rail doubling between Castlerock and Kulem. This was brought to the notice of the Union environment ministry, which accordingly had kept in abeyance the stage-II approvals accorded for diversion of forest land for the Hospet-Tinaighat-Vasco rail-doubling project. However, recently, the Union railways ministry’s Rail Vikas Nigam made a request to the REC to permit it to go ahead with the doubling work that falls outside the protected areas, and to revoke the abeyance order of stage-II approval on the stretches of the Kulem-Kalem section (covering 15.6ha) and the Kalem-Sanvordem section (covering 1.9ha). A meeting was then held with railway officials last year, and they were advised by the REC to submit the request through the state government with ‘proper justification’. The Goa government, therefore, on January 3, 2023, forwarded the same request to the REC.Deliberating on the proposal, the REC said that the Kulem-Kalem section falls in Bhagwan Mahaveer wildlife sanctuary and its eco-sensitive zone. The committee noted though that in the Kalem-Sanvordem section, an area of 1.9ha with private forest can be recommended to the Union environment ministry for permission to revoke the abeyance order, as this area falls outside any protected area or ecologically-sensitive zone. The REC has now decided to recommend to the Union ministry to revoke the abeyance order for this stretch.However, the committee said that part of the Kalem-Sanvordem section beyond the said private forest area falls in the ecologically-sensitive zone of the Bhagwan Mahaveer wildlife sanctuary, and has asked the user agency to ‘ensure full compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court/other courts before undertaking any activity beyond the stretch under consideration in the remaining parts of the Kalem-Sanvordem section’.The SC had kept the stage-II clearances in abeyance based on the report of the central empowered committee. The CEC had submitted its report before the Supreme Court on April 23, 2021, recommending revocation of permissions granted by the standing committee of the National Board of Wildlife for doubling of the railway track passing through Bhagwan Mahaveer wildlife sanctuary in Goa and Dandeli wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka.

Green nod for part of Kalem double-tracking
BBC documentary is a malicious act against India: Goa governor PS Sreedharan
Times of India | 3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 06:56 am
Times of India
3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 06:56 am

PANAJI: Goa governor PS Sreedharan Pillai took strong exception to the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and said it was a “malicious act” and “an insult” to the country.“A character assassination of the Prime Minister amounts to an insult and malicious act against the state, our nation, that is why I would like to say that the BBC’s attempt is not good,” he said, adding: “BBC is not an independent body and is answerable to the British parliament.”Pillai said the country’s law provides justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity to all its citizens. “Despite political differences, we should collectively, as a nation, be able to defend any attempt to attack or destroy the sovereignty of our nation. Such attempts should not be dealt with lightly, but ought to be given fitting replies,” he said.He said sovereignty is always supreme and absolute, an “uncontrollable power” by which an independent state is governed. The governor reiterated the need to safeguard sovereignty, which he said is a challenge to Indians. He said the diversity and vibrancy of our democracy is appreciated worldwide. “It is this spirit of unity and of being one nation which is celebrated every year as Republic Day,” he said after unfurling the tricolour on Thursday.Pillai said Goa has been selected for hosting some G20 events, and this would provide the state an opportunity to portray its rich culture and hospitality. “The event in the state, which is the most preferred tourist destination in the country, will provide a major boost to the state’s economy,” he said. He said the economy of Goa is safe, and that the state holds the first position in terms of GDP.Pillai said the Agriculture Export Policy (AEP) will turn Goa into India’s agricultural export hub, and there is a need to create the necessary export-oriented infrastructure and promote new indigenous, organic, traditional, and non-traditional agricultural products for exports.

BBC documentary is a malicious act against India: Goa governor PS Sreedharan
Centre defers Karnataka’s Kalasa project, says ‘in tiger corridor’
Times of India | 3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 06:53 am
Times of India
3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 06:53 am

PANAJI: The Union environment ministry on Friday decided to defer the approval for Karnataka to divert 26.9ha of forest land for its Kalasa nullah project as it falls within a tiger corridor and requires mitigation measures.The ministry’s regional empowered committee (REC) in Bengaluru also asked the Karnataka government to strengthen its compensatory afforestation plan. Karnataka had proposed to carry out afforestation in a drought-prone area.The deferral for the Kalasa project comes after Karnataka’s revised detailed project report (DPR) for the Kalasa-Bhandura project was approved by the Central Water Commission. Though Karnataka has been claiming that it doesn’t require the Centre’s clearance to divert the forest area, as it is a drinking water project, it is yet to get the environment ministry’s nod for it..The Karnataka government told the REC that it would be applying separately for approvals for forest diversion for the Bhandura nullah water diversion project. “Chairman, REC, informed that (because of) the issue of tiger corridor and the requirement of statutory permissions, specific mitigations may also have to be looked into in further detail by the chief wildlife warden of Karnataka,” the committee noted at its meeting earlier this week.Karnataka has also been told to submit any suggestions “from the ecological angle” made by the environment ministry as the committee found an overlap between its earlier proposal and the new proposal for diversion of forest area.In the new proposal, Karnataka has submitted that the forest area required for diversion has been reduced to 26.9ha from 33ha.In the six-member REC, a member from Sirsi in Uttara Karnataka strongly recommended the project, while the member from Goa placed on record his serious apprehensions about the proposal.“The diverted water is not being proposed for processing as drinking water, but is going to the Malaprabha reservoir, and hence there is no guarantee that the water will be used for drinking only. Since the Malaprabha dam is a multipurpose project—irrigation and drinking water-related—this is not a drinking water project, and hence environment clearance and related provisions would be applicable,” said the REC member from Goa.Goa and Karnataka are locked in a battle as the latter has already carried out work to divert water from major tributaries of the Mhadei, which is Goa’s lifeline. Goa has filed interlocutory applications in this regard before the Supreme Court. Karnataka claims that the water is being diverted from the Mhadei basin into the Malaprabha basin to meet the drinking water requirement in the twin cities of Hubballi and Dharwad.The Goa member told the REC that some of the villages under the water diversion project fall within the Western Ghats eco-sensitive area, as per the draft notification.He suggested that the REC visits the site to understand its feasibility on the ground before taking a decision.A third member of the REC, who is from Karnataka, said that the land proposed for compensatory afforestation in Athani taluka of Belagavi district should be reconsidered, as the area is drought prone.Karnataka officials, however, pleaded for speedy approval of the projects, and said that they have considerably reduced the proposed project area. They also said the state has reduced the dam size to one-tenth of what was originally proposed.Though work has already been carried out much closer to Goa’s wildlife sanctuary, Karnataka told the REC that the forest area proposed for diversion falls within 10km from Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa.

Centre defers Karnataka’s Kalasa project, says ‘in tiger corridor’
CM says Nanus Fort, Deepaji Rane’s house will be restored, seeks people’s support
Times of India | 3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 04:40 am
Times of India
3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 04:40 am

Valpoi: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday assured to restore Nanus Fort to its former glory with the support of the people.“Deepaji Rane, who staged the first revolt against the Portuguese in 1852, will be annually honoured with a guard of honour at the fort,” he said. Sawant was addressing a gathering at the fort on the occasion of the Republic Day. A guard of honour was also presented for the first time at the historic fort located in Sattari taluka to commemorate the revolt.“Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule on December 19, 1961. The events of 1852 and Deepaji Rane’s achievements should be remembered forever,” he said. The chief minister said the government wants to restore the fort which is currently in ruins. Sawant said that Nanus Fort in Sattari and Deepaji Rane’s house at Kumbharkhan will be restored and given a facelift through the archaeology and public works departments. He urged land owners in the vicinity of the fort to support the state government in terms of acquiring land for the restoration work, approach road, etc. “People may gift the required land or allow the government to acquire the land so that a proposal in this regard can be moved from our side,” said Sawant.“The Archaeological Survey of India or the state archives and archaeology department will be requested to take up the fort’s restoration,” Sawant said.

CM says Nanus Fort, Deepaji Rane’s house will be restored, seeks people’s support