Times of India | 10 months ago | 24-01-2022 | 01:26 am
Calangute: Former minister and Congress candidate Michael Lobo on Sunday questioned why transport minister Mauvin Godinho is silent about hiring outstation taxis with no fare-meter by the Election Commission (EC) in Goa. “Despite being transport minister Godinho has not said a word about outside taxis which have been brought by the Election Commission into Goa. How can the EC bring taxis without meters? The rule is that only taxis with meters can operate in Goa,” he said. He alleged that there is a scam in fitting digital taxi meters on cabs in Goa. “The taxi meters which have been fixed are a big scam by Godinho. Meters costing Rs4,990 have been given to taxi owners for Rs11,300. To clean this scam it is necessary to vote him out,” Lobo told reporters on Sunday.
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.
Panaji: A Goan birder’s rare luck in photographing a Crab Plover holding a crab in its beak at Agasaim beach piqued interest locally and abroad. Posted on a popular website, the pretty picture unveiled, once again, the quiet stretch as a paradise for rarely seen waders.The curving sandy beach with a wide intertidal zone on Zuari river mouth stretches in scenic isolation for about five kms. Verna-based birder, Justino Rebello’s photo – a click every birder would crave to take – evidently inspired Nathaniel Wander, a US painter and researcher, so much that he did a painting on it “in gouache and water colour pencil” and posted it on the same link. “For me, it was a shot of a life time – the wader holding a crab, its staple food and after which it has been named,” Rebello said.The waders mostly prefer a salt water environment - beaches and estuaries. Morjim, other estuaries and beach spots were hotspots for these birds in the past. But noisy footfalls, stray dogs, construction activity and other factors have turned into major stressors for avian biodiversity. In Agasaim, the desolate beach is an idyllic habitat for waders at low tide. Just a few fishermen or men walking their fighter buffaloes and birders are seen here.“The estuary of Zuari contains more mud than sand washed down from the hinterland along with the usual garbage - organic and plastic. The consequence is Agasaim beach is a mud flat with a spread of organic nutrients than a beach, which is good for birds and bad for tourists,” Savio Fonseca, chief naturalist with a tourism company, said. The Zuari and Mandovi estuaries have a few similarities, but the Zuari mouth is much wider and in terms of avian biodiversity, Agasaim largely hosts more rarely seen bird life than Miramar.“Beside birds, the (Agasaim) site is abundant with sand bubbler crabs and organisms which sadly the scientific community in Goa has largely ignored,” Fonseca said.Concurring with this view, Jalmesh Karapurkar, a member of Goa Bird Conservation Network stated that the rich diversity and amount of food attracts a lot of migratory birds with different feeding mechanisms. “Agasaim tidal mudflats exposed at the time of low tide are rich in nutrients and therefore you see crustaceans and molluscs flourishing here,” he said. The rare waders, though, other than hundreds of gulls visiting this hotspot may not be in huge numbers. “Among the many migratory birds that arrive here, the lesser spotted ones may be just one or two birds of a species. But a trip here is rewarding, as one may spot the Great knot, Sanderling, Eurasian oyster catcher, Indian skimmer, Curlew sandpiper and even a rarer Broad-billed sandpiper in this natural bird habitat,” Rebello said.Three passages, including a partly tarred road and a pathway lead to this southwestern tip of Tiswadi offering a stunning view of the surroundings. In the past, the area formed part of Goa’s ancient capital. “The vast expanse of intertidal zone once served as a bustling port and ship repair centre in pre-Portuguese era of trade with the Arabs. There is an appropriate need to conserve this area as a historical and heritage site as well as a site of biological importance,” Fonseca said.