Panaji: Town and country planning minister Vishwajit Rane on Monday scrapped the draft building rules that would have paved the way for golf courses, farm houses, film cities and yoga centres on Goa’s agricultural and orchard lands. Rane, who initially announced that he would keep the contentious norms in abeyance, appeared to have backed down in the face of street protests.The scrapping is being seen as a significant victory for citizens and green activists. Rane also announced that the TCP department decided to scrap all approvals granted to applicants under Section 16B (change of zone) of the TCP Act. Rane said that the department will file an affidavit before the Goa bench of the Bombay high court informing it about the policy decision. However, Rane intends to invite fresh applications under Section 16B.“Keeping the TCP amendments in abeyance will create more doubt, so I have decided to scrap all the amendments,” said Rane. “The expert committee and the TCP board will discuss these same amendments, discuss with all stakeholders, bring it to the board and then take the process forward.”He said that the suggestions and objections submitted by the people would be examined by an expert committee chaired by Los Angeles-based city planner Vinayak Bharne. Confederation of Indian Industry chairperson Swati Salgaonkar will be vice-chairperson of the expert committee.“I have sent an email to the chief town planner that the amendment has to be scrapped with immediate effect,” Rane said.Rane intends to place the draft amendments and the objections submitted so far before this committee, and based on the expert committee’s report, the amendments could be redrafted and notified again. “Our main aim is transparency and Goa’s benefit,” Rane said.The amendments would also include other changes such as allowing a higher built-up area for high-end hotels, and areas defined as central business districts, regularisation of illegal structures, and allowing for residential complexes in lands zoned as industrial.The TCP department’s moves irked civil society and prompted many to question Rane’s motives. “There is nothing selfish in my motives,” said Rane. “There is no personal agenda.”The minister also announced that the final approvals and provisional approvals granted under Section 16B of the TCP Act will be scrapped. “There will be no valid case of Section 16B from today. After that, we ask the court for permission to once again operationalise Section 16B,” said Rane.Earlier in the day, environmentalists and concerned citizens held a peaceful protest against the draft regulations outside the TCP building. The protest was organised by the Federation of Rainbow Warriors and other activists. The activists said that the TCP department has shown no scientific basis while framing the amendments to the regulations. Over the last two weeks, several villages have also organised gram sabha meetings where locals have panned the TCP department’s move to encourage golf courses, film cities, farm houses and other mega projects in the state.Activists had accused the government of proposing to have golf courses, film cities, yoga centres in agricultural zones and diluting laws to allow star hotels in the state without studying the carrying capacity. They had also charged the government of creating special commercial zones with high FARs and for proposing dilution of road requirements for new projects. The government had also come under severe criticism for trying to regularise illegal structures of upto 500 sqm built up area.The activists had demanded that Rane and chief minister Pramod Sawant resign instead of putting the state on sale.
Panaji: The directorate of education (DHE), which had last year launched DISHTAVO — by which pre-recorded lectures could be viewed online by students anywhere in Goa — on Monday went a step further with the introduction of MANDAVI, which allows students to take entire courses in the virtual mode to complete the credit requirements of their respective university or college programme.Toward this end, DHE on Monday entered into an MoU with a body under the aegis of the Union education ministry — the Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC). The CEC will make the open virtual courses developed by Goa faculty available on the central platform, SWAYAM, which can be accessed by students across the country.MANDAVI (Mentoring and Nurturing Digital and Virtual Initiatives) will begin by offering massive open online courses (MOOC) in music and in analytical chemistry.“The initiative will create a bridge between learners and advanced technology. This visionary initiative will make Goa a role model for other states,” chief minister Pramod Sawant said.MANDAVI was introduced as per the recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which aims to achieve a 50% gross enrolment ratio in higher education by 2035.Director of higher education Prasad Lolayekar said MANDAVI will see mentoring, training and support extended to faculty from higher education institutions in Goa to design and develop MOOC content. “By the end of the year, DHE will offer at least five MOOCs. DHE intends to democratise educational content as it believes high-quality education should be available not to just a small group of privileged students but to everyone who is willing to learn,” he said.The tie-up with CEC will allow the courses developed by Goa faculty to be taken by students to fulfil degree requirements of their colleges and universities anywhere in India.“The idea is to facilitate seamless integration of MOOCs into the academic structure of higher education,” said Lolayekar.MOOC courses currently under development at the DHE are based on University Grants Commission curriculum and the choice-based credit system. They are proposed to be offered in credit transfer mode on the SWAYAM platform managed by CEC. Director of the CEC, Jagat Bhushan Nadda, said NEP recognises the significance of digital technology in education. “Eminent scientists and practitioners from research institutions and industries have been involved at various stages of the MOOC development process,” said the nodal officer of this initiative, Kavita Asnani.
Panaji: Saligao police on Monday arrested one person for theft at a restaurant at Sangolda. Police said that Aakash Basavaiah, a native of Bengaluru and an employee of the restaurant, stole Rs 45,000 from its cash counter, and further used the restaurant scooter worth Rs 95,000 and fled, thereby causing loss to the complainant to the tune of Rs 1.4 lakh. tnn
Panaji: Two persons, including a government employee, were arrested on Monday for allegedly abducting a Mumbai resident and decamping with electronics and cash worth around Rs 85,000.Deputy SP Jivba Dalvi said that Rama Gupta was in Goa conducting a survey for the National Payments Corporation of India. When Gupta reached a certain bar, the two accused questioned him about the survey. Later, one of the two took Gupta’s tablets and told him to ride pillion with him on his two-wheeler if he wants them back.The incident happened at around 3.30pm in Colvale. “One of the accused persons forcibly kidnapped him on a scooter, and when they reached near Colvale jail, another accused came in his car and forcefully put him in the car,” Dalvi said.Once in the car, Gupta was assaulted and threatened. Dalvi said that he was robbed of tablets worth Rs 80,000 and forced to transfer Rs 3,500. The accused then left Gupta at Karaswada and fled.Gupta then lodged a complaint, after which police formed a team for the probe. Colvale police arrested Milind Naik, 49, a resident of Pernem, and Prakash Shetkar, 39, a resident of Colvale.“The two stolen tablets were seized from the accused. Also, the vehicles and the scooter used for the commission of the offence have been taken into custody,” said Dalvi, adding that both were granted two days police custody. Dalvi said that Shetkar works at ITI, Peddem, Mapusa, as a peon.
PANAJI: In a significant victory for environmental activists and citizens, Town and Country Planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane buckled under pressure on Monday and scrapped the draft Goa Land Development & Building Construction Regulations. Rane, who initially announced that he would keep the contentious norms in abeyance, appears to have backed down in the face of street protests and an admonition by the BJP. Rane also announced that the TCP department has decided to scrap all approvals granted to applicants under Section 16B of the TCP Act. Rane said that the department will file an affidavit before the Bombay High Court at Goa informing the court about the policy decision. “Keeping the TCP amendments in abeyance will create more doubt so I have decided to scrap the amendments,” said Rane. “The expert committee and the TCP board will discuss these amendments.” Earlier in the day, environmentalists and concerned citizens held a peaceful protest against the draft Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations outside the TCP building. The protest was organised by the Federation of Rainbow Warriors and other activists. The activists said that the Town and Country Planning department has shown no scientific basis while framing the amendments to Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations. Over the last two weeks, several villages have also organised gram sabha meetings where locals have panned the TCP department’s move to encourage golf courses, film cities, farm houses and other mega projects in the state.
PANAJI: Revolutionary Goans (RG) hit out at town and country planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane after the latter accused political parties of submitting repetitive objections against the Goa Land Development & Building Construction Regulations. RG chief Manoj Parab said that the draft regulations apply to the entire state and all Goans had the same concerns. He said that Rane will be forced to apologise for introducing the draft norms. “He claims that the objections are cut and paste but I want to remind him that he has framed rules for the entire state not different rules for each village. If he has the ability to do, make plans for each village and then we will submit separate objections,” said Parab. Further, RG has demanded that Rane should translate the draft Goa Land Development & Building Construction Regulations into Konkani and increase the time frame to submit objections and suggestions. The last day to submit objections and suggestions is September 28. On Rane’s recent dismissive reference to the nativist party, Parab said, “I want to remind him that we have one MLA in the assembly.”
Panaji: Revolutionary Goans (RG) hit out at town and country planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane after the latter accused political parties of submitting repetitive objections against the Goa Land Development & Building Construction Regulations.RG chief Manoj Parab said that the draft regulations apply to the entire state and all Goans had the same concerns. He said that Rane will be forced to apologise for introducing the draft norms.“He claims that the objections are cut and paste but I want to remind him that he has framed rules for the entire state not different rules for each village. If he has the ability to do, make plans for each village and then we will submit separate objections,” said Parab. Further, RG has demanded that Rane should translate the draft Goa Land Development & Building Construction Regulations into Konkani and increase the time frame to submit objections and suggestions.The last day to submit objections and suggestions is September 27.On Rane’s recent dismissive reference to the nativist party, Parab said, “I want to remind him that we have one MLA in the assembly.”
PANAJI: Goa should focus on conserving and improving the population of sambar deer in its protected areas to help tiger conservation in the state. Sambar is the ideal prey for tigers, as it provides sufficient supply of meat for days and will allow tigers to stay and breed in Goa, said A J T Johnsingh, Padma Shri awardee, conservationist, and former dean of the Wildlife Institute of India. While subsequent ministers have often said that there are no ‘resident’ tigers in Goa and these big cats keep shifting base to the forests across the border, Johnsingh said proactive measures are required to get tigers to breed inside Goa’s protected areas. “Barking deer, spotted deer may not contribute to tiger conservation and gaurs tend to attack tigers. Sambar, once hunted, can be consumed for days. First, a detailed survey of the sambar population is required in Goa. There are sambars, but some years ago as many as 20 were poached. Sambar conservation in Goa is tiger conservation,” Johnsingh told TOI. He said the argument that a tiger reserve is not needed in Goa does not stand because though the state has almost 700sqkm of protected area, these have many human settlements within. “At least 150sqkm of core area is required with no human population. Any existing settlements should be rehabilitated. Simultaneously, efforts should be made to improve sambar population in the entire 700 sq km. And Goa will see results in five years’ time. Having a tiger reserve will earn Goa funds from the Centre for support staff, a good field director and vehicles to improve its protected areas,” said Johnsingh, who has helped shape the Wildlife Institute of India over his two-decade-long stint there. An interim cattle compensation policy is also vital for tiger conservation, Johnsingh said. “In Corbett, in the buffer area, more than 10,000 cattle have been killed over the years. But there is not a single report of tiger poisoning. This is because if Rs 20,000 is provided as cattle compensation to locals, Rs 5,000 of it is provided immediately as interim relief. Some wealthy persons from Goa should come forward to help with funds for such immediate relief in the interest of tiger conservation,” he said. Goa also needs more courageous forest officials, Johnsingh said. “We need forest officials who have courage to tell ministers what exactly is needed for Goa,” he said. Johnsingh also said Goa is not suitable for tiger safari focused tourism because of its terrain and other factors. “In Goa, one should focus on nature tourism, like birdwatching, reptile watching, amphibian watching, rather than tiger tourism,” he explained.
PANAJI: Public sector undertaking Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has offered its existing customers a short window to convert their existing landline or broadband connection to fibre to the home (FTTH) service. The limited period offer for customers includes a monthly discount in tariff for a six-month period, said BSNL in a statement. The state-owned telecom firm hopes that the scheme will bring about a jump in FTTH connections and improve its finances. To make the scheme attractive, BSNL is offering the scheme to even those customers who have permanently surrendered their landline connection and telephone number. “Closed connections may be reactivated and converted to fiber connections, allowing retention of old phone numbers,” said BSNL. “Customers who migrate to FTTH will be given a discount of Rs 200 per month for up to six months. Existing landline numbers can be retained while connections are converted,” said BSNL officials. “BSNL Goa has received an encouraging response from customers, with close to 800 landline customers already migrating to fibre. Those who wish to avail this limited period discount offer may contact their respective area commercial officers,” said BSNL. BSNL connections have been delayed and suffering multiple problems for years with the issue getting worse ever since the public sector telecom company outsourced maintenance and operations to private firms in 2020. Goa used to have more than 500 employees to man the customer sales centres and operations centres but 70% of those employees opted for VRS in January 2020.
PANAJI: The Economic Offences Cell (EOC) of Goa police has arrested two persons from Delhi for cheating many Goans by floating a scheme calling for investments with the promise of more than double the returns. The fraudsters had managed to collect an estimated Rs 3 crore from various investors. PI of the EOC, Razashad Shaikh, had filed a complaint on June 8 against three persons running the scheme under the company banner of ‘Yudivo Marketing’. The company had offices in Noida, UP, and Arlem, Fatorda. The company’s director Vijay Kumar Jaiswal and managing director Rashmi Jaiswal, who were the national promoters of Yudivo, were booked along with Subhash Chandra, a national promoter of the company, and nine agents Veena Kudav, Diksha Naik, Sudhir Naik, Siba Sadhak, Suresh Zarekar, Krishna Yadav, Supriya Sawal, Pradeep Shivlingkar, and Prasanna Naik. “The agents and their associates offered various schemes to the investors. In one, if a person invested Rs 11,000 in their company, after six months he was promised a sum of Rs 23,400 and also returns of Rs 2,000 per month within another seven months,” Shaikh said. In the second scheme, if a person invested Rs 1.21 lakh, he was promised Rs 9,000 per month for 10 months and Rs 2.34 lakh thereafter. “As per the third plan, a person investing Rs 28,500 in their company was promised Rs 2,000 per month for 10 months and Rs 20,000 on completion of 12 months and another Rs 20,000 on completion of 18 months,” Shaikh said. The schemes were advertised through pamphlets. Accused Vijay Kumar was arrested on July 16 and is presently in judicial custody. “A team from Goa proceeded to Noida and Delhi on September 19 to trace the accused and on September 23 apprehended Subhash Chandra. Later, with the help of Farsh Bazar police station, the accused was produced before the Karkardume Court, Shahdara, Delhi and got two days transit remand. He will be produced before a Goa court soon,” Shaikh said. The accused have been booked under various sections of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978, and Goa Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act, 1999.
PANAJI: On health parameters, Goa is counted among the progressive states, yet, when it comes to family planning measures, the responsibility lies with women as in other states. The state family welfare bureau of the directorate of health services recorded just two vasectomies, one each for North and South Goa, last year. Dr Rajendra Borkar, who heads the bureau, said that though there are routine awareness programmes, the male response for family welfare measures is poor. The state’s fertility rate being 1.3 — a sufficiently good count — family planning does not pose a problem. With Goa being literate and progressive, it was expected that men would shoulder the responsibility of family planning, but Borkar said that people can’t be dictated to choose a certain method of contraception. “Anyway, we have a low birth rate. We can’t be telling people to do this and that,” he said. Health experts said that in general men associate vasectomy with impotence and are reluctant to opt for the procedure, and women are left with no choice but to take measures. “Men believe they will turn impotent if they have a vasectomy, but this is not true. Overall we see more tubectomies,” said Dr Rini Naik, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist. Several women also choose to have a permanent sterilisation done immediately after delivery. “Women know the amount of pain they will have to bear while giving birth, and the effort and time they will need to put in to raise a child. So, naturally, they take the initiative where husbands fail,” Naik said. Naik said she has seen cases of husbands not opting for a vasectomy even where their wives had a health condition and ideally should not have been the one to have a procedure done. Another gynaecologist said that since doctors know the trend and find it difficult to convince unwilling husbands, women are counselled to adopt a family planning procedure. Dr Shradha Patil, a gynaecologist who practices in South Goa, said that generally vasectomies are not given much importance in Goa. “We were taught more about tubal ligation. Somehow vasectomies are on the back burner and we don’t know why,” Patil said. Women, she said, are also likely to rely on oral contraception if the husband works abroad and may be home two to three months a year. “Several of my clients have their husbands working abroad and they prefer oral contraction. For a short-term, oral contraceptive is a fantastic method,” she said. Also, the Goan population being well educated, she said, couples choose a natural method of contraception. The abortion rate is also not high is Goa.
Canacona: Weak mobile tower connectivity, power cuts, desilting of Galgibaga river and sand erosion along the Galgibaga coast were the issues discussed at the Poinguinim gram sabha held on Sunday. While a lengthy discussion was on on the constant sand erosion along the Galgibaga coast, sarpanch Savita Tawadkar said that a Pune-based agency, appointed by the government, has conducted an inspection and will send a report soon. “Once we get the suggestions from the agency, the government authority concerned will take charge and the required precautions will be taken to contain the erosion to safeguard the settlements along the coast,” she added.At the gram sabha, the villagers demanded desilting of Galgibaga river to safeguard the paddy cultivation of nearly 100 farmers, which is spoilt after the bundhs are breached.The stray cattle problem was also discussed at the meeting. Assembly speaker and Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar, who was present for the gram sabha, said the stray cattle issue is a concern of all Canconkars. “We need to work on this by putting in efforts in procuring land from the comunidade to construct a goshala. This will also help in creating some jobs for the unemployed youth,” he said.On the issue of draft amendments made to the Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations, the panchayat body said that nothing has come to them in this regard. The villagers were told that they need not worry as if such issues crop up, special meetings will be arranged to hold discussion on pros and cons, before any decision is taken.The gram sabha was attended by around 200 villagers. Sarpanch, panchs, panchayat secretary and the local MLA were also present.
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.
Canacona: While continuing to mount pressure for speeding up the commencement of works at the accident-prone Karmal Ghat section, Goa legislative assembly speaker and Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar directed chief engineer (national highways and roads & bridges) Dinesh Gupta to take up the matter on a war footing.Tawadkar convened a meeting with Gupta, executive engineer D Kamat and other officers at the speaker’s chamber on Thursday to discuss the issue. He directed the officials to complete the four-lane highway at the earliest. He also asked for a meeting with the principal conservator of forests (PCF) and officers to resolve the issue of obtaining a no-objection certificate to cut forest trees in the acquired area of Karmal Ghat near Canacona. He asked the executive engineer to take “immediate action to widen narrow roads where maximum accidents are taking place”.
Panaji: Comunidades in Goa can be strengthened by approaching the courts and gaunkars of Goa should stand firm to establish their dominion of their land, said former power minister and MLA Sadanand Malik. He was speaking at the comunidade awareness fellowship held at Navelim-Sanquelim on Saturday. “The state government has no authority to amend the Code of Comunidade through the Legislative Assembly as the code governs comunidades and gaukars,” he said“The centre has never admitted that comunidade land in Goa belongs to them. So, it is surprising that the state government tries to project that it has right over land that belongs to comunidades. ,” Malik said, as he explained to the components how they are legally entitled to stop the government from “trampling over” them. Calling for unity, former Pale MLA Pratap Gawas said, “The fight now is being fought by few individuals. We need to be more cohesive and show our unity more often,” he said. President of Moira comunidade Rui Gama said that comunidades in Goa need to be “alert and active” and that “outsiders tend to think they have rights over comunidade land” because “comunidades are complacent.” The session concluded with gaunkars calling for the setting up of a legal cell and a committee to centrally coordinate problems faced comunidades in Goa.
Panaji: GFP on Sunday questioned if locals stand to benefit from the tourism department’s jetty policy. Party president Vijai Sardesai also asked if the state government would share revenue with the village panchayats.While agreeing that river transportation could ease traffic congestion, Sardesai made it clear that he saw the jetty policy as a step towards the introduction of offshore casinos in other parts of Goa.“I feel some issues remain ambiguous,” he said. “Once a cruise terminal comes into existence, how long will it take for offshore casinos to mushroom in other rivers across Goa?”To back his suspicions, Sardesai asked the government if it has data on the number of Goans employed in the local cruise sector. He also pointed out that the government has not shown a preference for locals while issuing licences for cruise boats and jetty operations or for jobs created by the sector.Sardesai said his party welcomes the importance being given to river transportation, which is in line with eminent architect Charles Correa’s vision. He said that if the state government is serious about water transportation and cruise tourism, it should promote Mormugao Port as a cruise ship terminal instead of a coal terminal.
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.
Margao: Up until about10 days ago, he was singing paeans to the founders of Congress and how its roots lay in the freedom movement. On Sunday, Margao MLA Digambar Kamat paid rich tributes to Pt Deendayal Upadhyay, an RSS thinker and former leader of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of BJP, on his birth anniversary. Hopping from ward to ward represented by councillors affiliated to him, Kamat led his supporters-turned-saffron karyakartas in eulogising the leader who showed the nation the path of antyodaya. For Kamat, the ideological switchover has been seemingly smooth and complete, effortless and instant. “Upadhyay laid the foundation of today’s BJP. If BJP is in office today, its credit goes to leaders like him who did the spadework for the party which was then known as Bharatiya Jana Sangh. It’s the exemplary work done by Upadhyay and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee that has now resulted in BJP coming to office,” Kamat told his supporters who stood shoulder to shoulder with original BJP karyakartas who had fought battles over the last 17 years.Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann ki Baat of Sunday, wherein Modi hailed Upadhyay and credited him with India’s progress and achievements, Kamat said that BJP (then Bharatiya Jana Sangh) during those times worked towards reaching out to all sections of society and uplifting the common man. “It’s the duty of all karyakartas to remember the leader, and therefore the party chalked out this program of holding the shraddhanjali programme in all wards,” Kamat said. Political observers say that BJP’s success in Margao will hinge largely on how well the two BJP factions – one controlled by Kamat and the other belonging to the party cadre – gel with each other. A few days ago, BJP held a meeting with Kamat and the party cadre in Panaji in the presence of the top brass of BJP, including chief minister Pramod Sawant, that served as an icebreaker to thaw the relations between the two. The recent change in equations in the Margao Municipal Council (MMC), following Kamat switching over to BJP, led to the ouster of Ghanashyam Shirodkar, hardly a week after he was elected chairperson. Though Kamat’s nominee Damodar Shirodkar was defeated by Ghanashyam in the chairperson’s elections, it’s unlikely that Kamat will have the final word in deciding the candidature this time as a couple of councillors elected on the BJP-backed panel are also eyeing the top post.
Panaji: The Goa Waste Management Corporation (GMWC) said that a waste to energy plant will be set up at Verna at an estimated cost of Rs 500 crore and will generate 16MW electricity and 38MW heat while processing 250 tonne waste per day (TPD).The project is first of its kind in Goa and since the non-biodegradable waste is continuously generated the project will sustain itself, a senior government officer said. The electricity department will procure the power and the steam generated at the plant and will be supplied to industries to be utilised in manufacturing processes, the officer said.“The objective of the plant is to generate electricity and steam from the non-biodegradable waste by adopting environment-friendly processes and the outcome of the project include long-term management of non-biodegradable waste without harming the environment,” the officer said.The non-biodegradable waste is stored in sheds in the panchayat jurisdiction, where the recyclable fraction of non-biodegradable waste is recovered and sent for recycling. The non-recyclable waste is stored in the shed and is collected by the GWMC. The corporation then bales this non-recyclable waste and sends it to various cement plants in Karnataka to be used as fuel alternative in kilns thus making it Refuse Derived Fuels (RDF). Approximately 2.1 lakh tonnes of RDF has been transported to cement plants till May 2022.“The cost of transportation of such RDF is almost Rs 1,000 per tonne. The state is fully dependent on the Karnataka-based cement plants for the disposal of RDF,” a senior officer said.The officer said that if there is a direction in the near future by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board for stoppage of transportation of interstate waste, it will lead to accumulation of RDF in the water bodies and thereby affect the aquatic life and also the flora and fauna. So in order to have our own facility in Goa, it is proposed to establish a 250 TPD waste to energy plant.The GWMC has already approached the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) seeking environmental clearance (EC) to set up the plant. It will be the fourth waste treatment plant in the state.The plant at Verna will cater to the waste generated in Mormugao taluka and in some parts of Salcete taluka. The plant will be set up in an area of 1 lakh sqm and the environment impact study for the plant has already been done.
Keri: Starting this week, Hindus celebrate Ashwin Navratri, which marks nine nights of paying obeisance to the feminine divinity referred to as goddess Shakti. Since prehistoric times Goa has had a tradition of worshipping Shakti in the form of rock carvings, ant hills and also, iconographically.In Goa, during the annual festival of Navratri, various religious and cultural activities, like makharotsav, are observed. Here, the well-decorated idol of the temple’s presiding deity is swung on an ornate swing within the temple premises.“The makharotsav ritual expresses gratitude to the feminine divinity that showcases the socio-ecological and cultural heritage of the land,” said folklorist Sarojani Gaonkar from Surla, Sattari.The goddess Shakti in the form of anthills is known as Sateri and Bhumika in Goa and iconographically as Mahishasurmardini. She is also venerated in Goa as Shantadurga, Navdurga and Mauli, who slays the buffalo demon Mahishasur. In Sattari, the feminine divinity has been depicted as Tarini, reflecting the navigability of the Mhadei and its tributaries. Here, the goddess is depicted in stone sculptures in both, seated and standing postures.“The feminine divinity has been revered as associated with procreation and motherhood and the festival marks the home coming of the goddess. After worshipping her for nine nights, on the tenth day, the insignias of the feminine deities meet the insignias of the masculine deity through the ritualistic marriage ceremony known as Shivlagna or ‘Tarangachi melamel’,” Gaonkar said.
Panaji: PM Narendra Modi made special mention of Goa on Sunday while praising the coastal clean-up campaign held across the country last Saturday. In his weekly ‘Mann ki baat’, Modi appreciated the human chain formed at Miramar beach to raise awareness about littering the coast with plastic and other waste.“Here, I want to talk about the effort at coastal cleaning — ‘Swacch Sagar, Surakshit Sagar’,” said Modi. “The campaign started on July 5 and ended on Vishwakarma Jayanti on September 17… Throughout the one-and-a-half month, various cleaning programmes were held. In Goa, a long human chain was made and in Kakinada, during Ganesh visarjan, people were made aware of the ill-effects of use of plastic. Almost 5,000 NSS youth collected more than 30 tonnes of plastic,” said Modi. India is fortunate to have a coastline of 7,500km passing through many states and islands, where India’s communities and cultures can be seen flourishing, said Modi. “But there are sad parts as well. Our coastal regions are facing various environmental challenges. Climate change has been a big danger to coastal ecosystems. On the other hand, garbage on our beaches is a matter of great concern. It is our responsibility that we make sincere and consistent efforts to tackle these challenges,” said Modi in his programme.Chief minister Pramod Sawant said that Modi mentioning the human chain formation in Goa is a matter of pride for the state. Sawant was part of the chain formed on Miramar beach.“Responding to my call, people from across Goa, students and people from hotel industry, etc, came out to clean the beaches from 8am up to 12 noon. They formed a human chain to send out the message that Goa’s beaches are clean and safe. The PM mentioned this human chain formation in Goa, for which I want to thank him profusely,” said Sawant.
Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday said that during the tenant verification exercise in Goa around 20 Bangladeshis have been found so far residing illegally and without any valid documents. One of them has also been found with an Aadhar card. Sawant said that these illegal residents will be deported and the landlords who rented them rooms will be investigated by police.“There are people around without valid documents. I ask people renting their homes to either carry out tenant verification or do not keep tenants at all. We have found more than 20 illegal Bangladeshis residing in Goa. Work is on to identify others. We will deport them back to Bangladesh. We have sent a report to the home ministry,” Sawant said.He said that a report has also been sent to the home ministry regarding the misuse of Aadhar card by such illegal residents.“Those who had rented their premises to such illegal immigrants will also be investigated as to why they rented rooms without verification, since when, for what reason, whether they were aware of their background. Various wings of Goa police are working on identifying such illegal residents,” Sawant said.Such illegal immigrants are found to be working in businesses such as illegal scrapyards, the CM said. “We have passed the tenant verification bill in the assembly, after which the tenant verification exercise began across Goa. During the exercise we saw that many have no permanent address. These people are employed in illegal scrap yards and other illegal businesses. I appeal to those renting their houses to verify where their tenant is coming from,” Sawant said.
Panaji: Eleven years after two men were accused of forging a driving licence for registration of a new motorcycle in Mapusa, a north Goa court acquitted one of the accused Vaman Dessai. The first accused Birbal Gurjar, in whose name the forged driving licence was produced as genuine at the office of the assistant director of transport prior to August 2009, Mapusa for registration of a new motorcycle, already expired.The prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Dessai had forged the driving licence, the court found. The original specimen writing which was sent to the handwriting expert was misplaced during the shifting of the police station, the investigating officer submitted to the court.The court was told that the handwriting on the questioned signature as well as on the specimen tallies with each other and is the same as that of accused Dessai, but the court found other missing links in the case.“The questions as to how, why and where did accused Dessai forged the said licence which was allegedly used by Gurjar remained unanswered. Nothing has come on record which would answer the said questions. Even the relation of Gurjar and Dessai, or how the latter came in possession of a MDL allegedly forged by Gurjar is not come on record in the prosecution evidence,” the court stated.It added that except for the report of the handwriting expert, there is no other evidence that links the accused to the present offence.“As such though, the handwriting experts opinion is relevant and can be used for corroborative purposes but in the present case the linking facts of the case have not been brought on record by the prosecution so as to make the report of the handwriting expert reliable in order to establish the prosecution case beyond reasonable doubt,” stated Judicial Magistrate First Class, 'F' Court, Mapusa, Teisy Mascarenhas.
Panaji: The state government is revising its policy on inclusive education to allow primary schools to open resource rooms to admit children with special needs living in the institute’s neighbourhood, said Goa state commissioner for persons with disabilities, Guruprasad Pawaskar. The policy is being altered to meet one of the recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, as per which all schools are required to have resource rooms.Having a resource room in the village primary school will mean that special children need not travel long distances only to be able to attend classes. Resource rooms encourage inclusion and discourage segregation of special children from their typical peers. Studying in resource rooms in regular schools is known to show better overall development in the children with special needs.“The state’s inclusive education policy is being tweaked to include resource rooms at the primary school level. We are working on research projects and have begun training teachers. We have also started training cluster resource persons under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan and we have held four workshops so far,” Pawaskar said. At present, only around 40 high schools in the state have the provision of resource rooms.The resource room allows children with special needs to study alongside their ‘typical peers’. It is a separate room in a regular school where children with disabilities or learning difficulties receive extra individualised attention for some of the periods. For other periods, the special children attend classes alongside their typical peers.“Now, special children will also be able to attend class in the village school. Teachers need to also be sensitive on this subject. Two early intervention centres have also been started by the state, one in each district, to diagnose any disabilities in children. Diagnosis before the age of six is very important to carry out interventions,” said chief minister Pramod Sawant.Goa already has a scheme for special children in place since 2005, which was later revised in 2008 and 2018. The scheme provides financial assistance to regular schools — mostly high schools at present — to set up resource rooms and practice inclusive education.
Eyeing expansion, the Trinamool Congress had actively campaigned for the assembly elections in Goa.New Delhi: The Goa assembly elections were keenly fought with the Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party throwing their hats in the ring but when it came to poll expenditure, it was the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress that loosened its purse strings spending a whopping Rs 47.54 crore.The BJP, which retained power in Goa with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at the helm, spent over Rs 17.75 crore towards election expenditure in the state.The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP spent nearly Rs 3.5 crore in Goa, where it tried its luck for the second consecutive assembly elections.The details of the election expenditure were submitted by the respective political parties to the Election Commission recently.The Congress, which was hoping to dislodge the BJP from power in Goa, spent approximately Rs 12 crore on the Goa elections.The Nationalist Congress Party gave Rs 25 lakh each to the 11 candidates it had fielded for the elections, besides spending on the campaign from the party's central fund.The Shiv Sena, which fielded 10 candidates in the Goa elections, spent nearly Rs 92 lakh towards poll expenditure. Eyeing expansion, the Trinamool Congress had launched an election blitzkrieg in Goa with poll strategist Prashant Kishor playing a key role in trying to get the party a toehold in the state.The party fielded 23 candidates in the Goa assembly election but none of them won, while its ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party put up candidates in 13 seats and managed to win two.The AAP fielded 39 candidates and managed to open its account in the state by winning two seats.The Congress had cried foul at the entry of Trinamool Congress and the AAP in the electoral fray in Goa, accusing them of dividing the anti-BJP vote.The BJP won 20 seats in the 40-member assembly and formed the government with the support of two MGP MLAs and three Independent legislators.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comEarlier this month, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs, including Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo and former chief minister Digambar Kamat, defected to the BJP.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
MARGAO: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday handed over land title documents (sanads) for forest land under occupation to several beneficiaries under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. Addressing the gathering at a function held at the south Goa collectorate, Sawant said that the government has set a target of handing over 10,000 sanads to claimants of both individual and community rights category, within the next 12 to 18 months. Sawant said that his government was working on the Antyodaya principle, and said that being able to hand over titles to rightful claimants of forest land under the Act was his biggest achievement since becoming the chief minister. “There were nearly 10,000 applications pending under the Act whenI became the chief minister in 2019. No sanad was given to any claimant before that. So far 2,000 to 2,500 sanads have been handed over to beneficiaries. The rest will be cleared in due course,” he said. He urged beneficiaries not to sell the agricultural land they have now come to own, but cultivate it with the assistance of the agriculture department. Sawant also inaugurated the FRC Sanad Information System portal that will facilitate beneficiaries under the Act to obtain their land title documents online. “This is yet another step in our mission towards making Goa swayampurna (self-reliant),” Sawant said. Despite a large number of claims, sources said lack of documentation by claimants, the requirement of 50% quorum at gram sabhas have turned out to be major impediments in speedy processing of claims.
PANAJI: The state government on Thursday notified 46.1 sqkm area in the state as private forest, in compliance with an order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). This is the first parcel of land in Goa to be notified as a private forest. However, in the meantime, work is in progress to confirm almost double of the area notified, which has been identified provisionally as private forest for now. Enumeration of 9,183 ha or 91.8 sqkm area is being carried out at present by 16 sub-committees comprising range forest officers, inspectors of survey and land records, and village talathis, under the supervision of the deputy conservator of forests. This area was identified as a provisional forest by the Thomas and the Araujo committees. “The review of survey numbers provisionally identified as private forests by the Thomas and Araujo committees is on as per the order of NGT dated January 7, 2021. Five interim reports have been already uploaded on the forest department website, and three compliance reports have been filed before the tribunal and the balance review work is under process,” an official said. The first parcel of 46.1 sqkm of private forest notified now in Goa was based on the findings of the Sawant and the Karapurkar committees, which were later reviewed and confirmed by the Sharma committee. The government panels, while identifying private forests, applied the criteria that the area should be either contiguous to government forest lands or, if in isolation, the minimum area identified should be 5 ha. And, canopy density should not be less than 0.4. The review committee has now formed several sub-committees, which are carrying out ground enumeration mainly based on the third criteria — that at least 75% of the tree species in the private forest are of ‘forestry type’. This will be the determining factor for an identified area to qualify as private forest. So that there are no objections to the forest found to be qualifying as private forest from the land owners, the review committee has now put multiple checks in place. These checks include the range forest officer or member secretary of the sub-committee mandatorily visiting all the sites and verifying 100% sample points on ground. Further, an inspector of survey and land records and talathi also attend the field enumeration and verify the report prepared by the sub-committee before sending it to the review committee. In addition, assistant conservators of forests have been assigned an area for checking and have to verify at least 20% of the sample points. Besides this, geo-reference photographs of the trees at sampling points have to be taken mandatorily, along with the representatives, objectors or owners of the land.