Navhind Times | 6 months ago | 25-05-2022 | 02:06 am
Considering the footfall, stakeholders hopeful of better season next timeMargao: Though officially the tourism season winds up on May 30, many stakeholders in Salcete including shack owners, water sports operators and hoteliers are shutting shop early.The effects of COVID on the tourism industry over the past two years had many worried things with fears that tourism may not get back on track. However, this season, stakeholders say that things have improved slightly and the industry may see smooth operations next season.This year, many stakeholders started operations later than usual as they waited to see the trend of tourists during the peak season of November-January. Unlike the 2020-21 season, this season saw mostly domestic tourists flock to Salcete beaches, with Colva and Benaulim being popular ones especially during the Christmas-New Year holiday season.A handful of foreign tourists had made their way to the beaches of Colva, Benaulim, Varca and Cavleossim but with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the state’s major chunk of foreign Russian tourists failed to turn up this season. Many said that Russian tourists who had come to the state had to leave after a few days.Cavelossim shack owner and president of the Shack Owners Welfare Society, Goa Cruz Cardozo said, “A Russian couple who had come to my shack but after two days, I learnt that they had to return to their home country because of the war. Once the war started, we couldn’t see Russian tourists. It was mainly the Indian tourists who visited the state this season.”Along the Salcete coast, shack owners had started dismantling the structures as early as the beginning of May and the majority by mid- May. Bigger, popular shacks mostly in Colva and Benaulim however are waiting for the end of the month to wrap up.Goa Small and Medium Hoteliers Association president Serafin Cotta meanwhile is also hopeful and is looking to the next season. “Right now, the way forward looks to be good. We are hoping that with Russian tourists’ arrival collapsing, we can somehow get the English tourists to the state. This year, we mainly saw domestic tourists but we didn’t get as much business since many tourists were staying in unregistered rooms,” he said.Water sports operators too are hopeful as they have also seen a steady rise in domestic tourists. “We usually receive domestic tourists using water sports activities like banana boat rides, jet and water ski rides and parasailing. Since COVID, this year we are slowly seeing improvement. Compared to last season, we had a much better season this time,” said Colva-based water sport operator Menino Fernandes.However, there is a unanimous call for support and assistance from the government to further help the stakeholders stay afloat.“Shack owners are happy that permissions were given in time this season, but we have appealed to the government to give a one – or two-year extension to the holding of the shack allotment process which is due this year since last year many had not put up their shacks because of the pandemic. We have written to the tourism department already and hope that our request is considered,” said Cardozo.The problem of unregistered rooms has been troubling the small and medium hoteliers with constant calls to the state government to crack down on such practices as it was causing a loss to the state’s exchequer.“The new tourism minister seems to be interested in addressing our issues. We just hope the issue of unregistered rooms is resolved since around 80% of the tourists are staying in unregistered rooms, which is a loss to the state,” said Cotta.Subsidies and incentives, say stakeholders, could also help ease the burden. “It would come as a welcome relief to water sports operators if the government could provide us with some subsidies along the lines of the fisheries department either in providing a fuel subsidy or an incentive to help us buy new boats or equipment,” said Fernandes.
Margao/Ponda: Sugarcane growers of Sanguem have accused the government of fooling them by closing down the Sanjivani sugarcane plant and giving them false assurance of restarting it on various occasions.Addressing reporters, a member of the Sanguem Uss Utpadak Sangharsh Samiti, Prashant Dessai, said that despite the government having assured to pay sugarcane growers compensation of Rs 3,600 per tonne last year, the farmers were yet to receive the amount, leading them to hold a sit-in protest at the sugarcane plant. Dessai said that the farmers had objected to sugarcane cultivated by Goan farmers being sent to Karnataka, and had demanded that the cane instead be processed at the Sanjivani plant. However, he said, their demands were ignored and tonnes of sugarcane got wasted or consumed by animals. Consequently, Dessai said, farmers were forced into penury.Expressing disappointment over the government’s failure to revive the Sanjivani plant, Dessai demanded that the plant be given to the farmers. Several other sugarcane farmers recently demanded that the government makes its stand clear about the future of the factory. They have also threatened to once again sit in protest at the factory premises on December 6.Francis Mascarenhas, a cane farmer, said that the administration of the Sanjivani factory is yet to inform them on whether or not to plant canes. “The ethanol plant needs canes as raw material. If the government was certain about restarting the plant here, it would have directed us to plant canes,” he said.Several other sugarcane farmers recently demanded that the government make its stand clear about the future of the factory. They have also threatened to protest at the factory premises on December 6
New Delhi: The new international airport at Mopa is likely to become operational in the first week of January, possibly on the fifth, sources said.CM Pramod Sawant had said at the Times Now Summit last week that PM Narendra Modi could tentatively inaugurate it on December 11.“It takes about a month to make an airport operational after the inauguration,” sources said. “Airlines need to mark on tickets to and from Goa which airport the flight will operate from, Dabolim or Mopa. Also, CISF has to move in and take over security of the facility, which takes around 15 days. People who have bought tickets to and from Goa for the coming months will be informed by airlines via SMS in case their flights will now land at or depart from Mopa.” GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL), which will operate the airport, is looking at January 5 as Mopa’s opening date. On October 26, the directorate general of civil aviation had issued the aerodrome licence to the Airport after a series of checkposts, thus, the airport was certified to be safe for handling flights. Airlines like IndiGo have indicated that they will operate from both the existing Dabolim airport and the new one at Mopa.The Mopa airport is keenly awaited as Dabolim, a Naval airport, has limited slots for scheduled commercial flights. For years, this has meant flights during limited hours of the day — and hence high fares in peak travel season — for passengers. Being a 100% civilian airport, Mopa will allow more flights to Goa — at least doubling from current numbers.The airports economic regulatory authority (AERA) this August issued an ad hoc tariff order for the GMR-developed Mopa airport. For the first few years, second airports that will soon start opening in Indian cities/regions could be relatively more expensive than the single ones operating there so far. The reason: A majority of them will need to compete for traffic with the existing ones. When Bengaluru and Hyderabad got new airports in 2009 and 2008, respectively, the exiting ones — HAL and Begumpet — were closed for commercial flights. AERA’s ad hoc aeronautical charges tariff order for Mopa includes a user development fee (UDF) of Rs 450 and Rs 1,100 per departing domestic and international passenger respectively. The GMR group that has developed Mopa had proposed a UDF of Rs 980 and Rs 1,500. The authority felt “the proposal of the airport operator is on the higher side and needs to be moderated”. The authority has decided to allow GGIAL to charge the ad hoc tariff till March 31, 2023, or if the regular tariff order is issued before that.
Vasco: The department of legal metrology during a raid at Housing Board Colony, Zuarinagar, Vasco of BPCL domestic LPG cylinders, found 13 of the domestic LPG cylinders to be underweight.On Monday, people residing in Lamani Colony, Zuarinagar raised a protest after finding some cylinders brought for distribution were short in weight.Both the delivery person and driver of the distribution vehicle abandoned the truck and fled from the site after consumers confronted the duo.Following the uproar, assistant controller, legal metrology, South Zone-I Margao, Nitin Purushan along with his team rushed to the site and conducted a raid. Purushan said that necessary action will be initiated against the gas agency as per provisions of the legal metrology rules and acts. The department has advised consumers to check the weight of a cylinder before buying it and check the verification certificate issued by the department, and also urged citizens to lodge complaints on the designated number.
Panaji: The Union environment ministry (MoEFCC) has amended the CRZ notification, 2019, to allow activities like manual extraction of sand from sandbars in rivers and setting up of temporary structures, like beach shacks, in CRZ areas.The Centre has also given local authorities almost all powers to clear projects, except in case of those coming up in ecological sensitive areas and in water.A senior government officer said the amendments will be applicable only in states where the CZMP 2019 is notified and that, in the case of specific projects mentioned in the CRZ notification, 2019, approval will have to be sought from the MoEFCC.With reference to removal of sandbars in CRZ area, the MoEFCC’s CRZ amended notification, 2019, issued last week states: “The sandbars in intertidal areas shall be removed by traditional coastal communities only through non-mechanised manual method.”It further states that state governments and Union territory administration can permit removal of sand in specified quantity and in specified time period on the condition that the extraction is being carried out by registered persons from the local community. The notification also mandates annual renewal of the extraction registration.Various organisations and citizens have opposed amendments to the CRZ notification, 2019, related to oil and gas exploration, sand extraction from sandbars and retaining shacks on beaches during the monsoon, stating that the proposed changes will spell disaster for the environment and local communities.“For projects or activities also attracting the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, the Coastal Zone Management Authority shall forward its recommendations to the central government or state Environment Impact Assessment Authority for Category A and Category B projects, respectively, to enable a composite clearance,” the CRZ amendment states.For those projects not covered under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, but attracting the CRZ amended notification, 2019, and located in CRZ-I or CRZ-IV areas, Coastal Zone Management Authority shall forward its recommendations to the Centre, the MoEFCC notification states.The Centre had received representations from different stakeholders — state governments and ministry of petroleum and natural gas — through the director of general of hydrocarbon for making certain amendments in the CRZ notification, 2019, inter-alia, for delegating the powers of giving Coastal Regulation Zone clearance to State Coastal Zone Management Authorities or state governments for small infrastructure projects located in CRZ-I and CRZ-IV areas, exempting exploratory drilling and associated facilities thereto except in CRZ-IA areas, including the provision of temporary beach shacks as already available in Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2011, as amended and expanding the said provision to all coastal states, allowing removal of sand bars by traditional communities.“Projects or activities not covered in the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, but attracting this Notification and located in CRZ-II or CRZ-III areas or those projects or activities listed in sub-paragraph (ii) of paragraph 7 of this notification, shall be considered for clearance by the concerned Coastal Zone Management Authority within sixty days of the receipt of the complete proposal from the proponent,” the MoEFCC notification said.
Panaji: With Maharashtra shutting down the Tillari dam for maintenance, parts of Bardez taluka are struggling for water supply. Residents in some of the wards in Porvorim said they are facing a lot of inconvenience due to the erratic water supply. Public works department (PWD) and the water resources department (WRD) confirmed that Goa and Maharashtra agreed to shut supply of water from the Tillari dam from November 11 to December 10 to carry out the annual maintenance, including the Tillari project tributaries.“There is a severe shortage of water in some parts of Porvorim, such as Pundalik Nagar Housing Board, Journalists Colony and the tail end areas,” said a resident. “This has been happening for the last 15 days. PWD does not have sufficient water tankers to supply water.”PWD officials have urged residents to use water “judiciously” till the repairs are complete. “Maharashtra stopped releasing water on November 11 and the WRD has said that the work will go on for at least a month. The WRD officials have also conducted site visits to understand the condition of the canals. Since the Tillari infrastructure is several years old, there is a lot of seepage. The maintenance work is expected to be completed by December 10,” said a PWD chief engineer.To meet the needs of water in Porvorim and nearby areas, around 100 MLD is being pumped from the Amthane dam and the balance requirement is being taken from the barrage at Assonora.