Women voters wait in a queue outside a polling booth in Ponda on Sunday. (Joao Sousa)
PONDA: The elections to the Ponda municipal council on Sunday passed off peacefully baring some strange incidents with an overall turnout of 73.32 per cent.
Passengers waiting for their buses at the inter-state bus stand in Panaji on Saturday. The inter-state bus operators have supported the transporters’ strike, which will commence from the midnight of May 12.
PANJI/PONDA: A hike in the passenger tax imposed on the buses plying on the inter-state routes has led to the inter-state bus operators supporting the strike called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) from the midnight of May 12.
The inter-state bus operators claim that they have not been given a chance to be heard before the substantial hike in the passenger tax, a hike in the reciprocal agreement rates and imposition of the entry fee by the PWD. They further claim that the Chief Minister is reluctant to listen to their grievances and has not given an appointment till date.
“In my entire career, I have never supported strike but the state government’s decision in the recent past has forced us to join the strike,” said the managing director of Paulo Travels, Mr Mario Pereira.
The Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatan president, Mr Mallik Patel said that in the year 1974, both Goa government and the Maharashtra government had inked a reciprocal agreement with a provision for issuing leftover permits for contract carriage for private operators on the Mumbai-Goa route and the rate fixed at that time was ` 50 per passenger, per month.
However, this rate was hiked four times earlier and a substantial hike came recently when the state government hiked it from ` 600 to ` 1,200 per passenger, per month. The only advantage of getting permit in reciprocal agreement is that private operators are not required to change colour of their buses whereas in the case of national permit, all private buses have to paint their buses in a uniform colour, said Mr Patel.
He further said that with the amendment to the Goa Motor Vehicles (Taxation on Passengers and Goods) Act 2013, operators now have an additional burden of nearly ` 300 per passenger per trip.
“To further burden the operators, ` 1,000 entry fee is collected by PWD, which is a clear-cut case of double taxation. All these moves in the last few days have virtually put our business in the dark,” said Mr Patel.
Mr Patel said that 70-90 buses from Pune and Mumbai ply to Goa on a daily basis and from the midnight of May 12 onwards, not a single bus would enter Goa and all passengers would be alighted before the Goa check post.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Navhind Times, the chairman of the law commission and BJP general secretary, Mr Narendra Sawaikar said the decision of the inter-state bus operators to stop booking of the tickets will affect the domestic tourist season and the tourists who have already arrived in the state. He said that the transport department is working towards finding an amicable solution and added that a solution could be expected in the next two to four days. He also said that the decision on pass system for trucks will be finalised in the next couple of days.
The situation is crunch with all the trains including the five special trains passing through Goa having been over-subscribed. The public relations officer of Konkan Railways, Mr Baban Ghatge said that all the tickets of trains arriving in Goa and leaving the state have been sold out. He further said that the five special holiday trains are also running full.
The air fares are scaling towards the ` 5,000 mark and limited seats are available, making it an option for a few. A travel agent said that the tickets from Mumbai to Goa are in the range of ` 3,500 to ` 5,000. He said most of the flights are running to near 100 per cent occupancy making air travel a limited option at a handsome price.
Medical store at Panaji seen closed following nationwide chemists’ strike.Nandesh Kambli | NT
PANAJI/ VASCO: Virtually all medical stores remained closed on Friday due to the one-day strike call given by the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AICOD) and supported by the local Chemist & Druggist Association of Goa (CDAG).
The area where stalls are set up during Purumentache fest is yet to be cleared of undergrowth. (Ganadeep Sheldekar)
MARGAO: It is quite evident that slowly but certainly, most feasts in Goa are mainly serving as money-making avenues for various government agencies and business-minded individuals and the feast of Margao Holy Spirit Church is no exception.
PONDA: The Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday made a staunching attack on the Congress government at the Centre for the increase in prices of LPG cylinders and petroleum products.
While appealing to the citizens of Ponda to vote for the Ponda Citizens Committee in the forthcoming municipal elections, Mr Parrikar also claimed that the Congress party is jealous of the good work being done by the alliance government in the state.
Addressing a rally in Ponda late on Wednesday evening, Mr Parrikar said that the UPA chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh should answer the people over the increase in gas cylinder price by ` 550, diesel by ` 14 and hike in petrol prices and asked the state Congress why are they mum on this issues. He said that the state government will continue to work for the people and sought answers from the Congress party for the scandals in Ponda which include the demolition of Rajiv Kala Mandir and the sub-district hospital. He said that the Congress should come clean on what prompted them to demolish Rajiv Kala Mandir and what was the need of a 220-bed hospital in Ponda when not even 60 patients visit the hospital.
On the election front, he urged the people to support the candidates of the Ponda Citizens Committee and said that the government will provide the funds for the development of Ponda and it is only the BJP-MGP combine that can make Ponda clean of garbage and plastic just as the government has cleaned the highways.
Addressing the gathering, the PWD Minister, Mr Ramkrishna Dhavalikar accused the Congress of misleading the people and said that if the panel supported by the BJP-MGP is elected to civic body they will take up all-round development of Ponda to fulfill the dream of achieving clean and green Ponda.
While the industries minister said that it is the Congress that is responsible for the problems faced by the people on the mining front as they brought the Shah Commission. He said the people related to the mining industry are suffering however the Centre is not willing to provide a financial package. He said that the state government however will distribute financial aid to the truck owners, barge and machinery owners shortly.
The sitting MLA, Mr Lavoo Mamledar said that he has no doubt that all the 14 candidates will get elected and that they will work collectively address issues affecting Ponda town which will include the parking issue, sopo and other problems. He said it is over a year that the BJP-MGP got elected to power however petty politics prevented them from carrying out development of Ponda and urged the people to support candidates of the committee.
Fr Eremito Rebello addressing the gathering at a meeting organized by Goans for Dabolim Airport Only at Dando-Benaulim on Tuesday.
MARGAO: The convenor of the forum — Goans for Dabolim Airport Only, Fr Eremito Rebello, on Tuesday, firmly stated that the Mopa airport project would die a natural death due to people’s pressure as it has happened in the past with some other projects
in the state.
Activist, Fr Rebello, addressing the 300-odd people at Dando ground in Benaulim, stated that the government is keen on seeking Request for Qualification (RFQ) and Request for Proposals (RFP) for the proposed airport claiming that the land acquisition is done, “but it has failed to have environmental impact assessment (EIA), which is equally important.’’
“We are here to draw the attention of the people at the village level and make them aware that the government is trying to fool them with the two airport theory,’’
Recalling the statement of the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, who had said that by the year 2017, the Dabolim airport will be saturated with the increasing number of flights, Fr Rebello opined that with the construction of a new terminal, the Dabolim airport would be able to serve
“On May 1, 2000, the Union Minister for Civil Aviation had written to the then chief secretary of Goa stating that on the commissioning of the Mopa airport, the Dabolim airport would be closed down,’’ he pointed out and accused the government of misguiding the people .
Ms Therezinha Fernandes, fired salvos at the government and the politicians for supporting the Mopa airport
She alleged that “they all are rogues and looters of the state’’ and therefore people should unite in large numbers at the Margao Lohia Maidan on May 15, 4.30 p.m. against the Mopa airport project.
Mr Serafin Cota, a hotelier, explained how the idea of two airports has failed in other countries and in Mumbai and Hyderabad and added “in no way two airports would survive in the state.”
Mr Cruz Cardozo, speaking on behalf of the hotel and shack owners said that if the Mopa airport is built, the Dabolim airport would be closed down and as a result their business will be affected.
“If the Navy does not utilise the land for their activities, the said land can be used for the Dabolim airport expansion,’’ he maintained.
Mr Sandeep Kambli, the secretary of the Mopa Vimantol Piditt Xettkari Sauntha, said that they will not allow the government to grab their agricultural land for the Mopa airport.
“We are ready to die, but not allow the Mopa airport to happen. The Chief Minister is using all tricks against us, but we will not fall prey to it,’’ thundered Mr Kambli.
Others who spoke on the occasion, included Mr Job Fernandes and Mr George Fernandes.
A lone cyclist seen making his way through traffic at St Inez. The few who ride bicycles are only for the economic reason. ( Nandesh Kambli )
PANAJI: Cyclists opined that advertisement and awareness with the help of popular icons will go a long way in impressing upon the young minds about the bicycle use while they go to nearby places or have to travel a short distance.
Chess prodigy, Ivana Furtado presenting appreciation certificate to a faculty member at St Andrew’s Institute Hall, Vasco on Sunday. Also seen are YMCA’s Western India region chairman, Mr Joseph Vaz, Parish Priest of St Andrew’s Church, Rev Fr Jose Antonio Da Costa, YMCA’s Vasco branch president, Mr Apprecio Pereira and others. (Sudesh Bhosle)
VASCO: Chess prodigy, Ivana Furtado has called upon children to learn new things and enrich themselves by every passing day. Speaking as the chief guest on the occasion of the valedictory function of the second Summer Camp-2013 organised by the Young Men’s Christian Association’s Vasco branch at St Andrew’s Institute Hall,
Sao Jose De Areal villagers seen standing in a queue to avail of various services offered during the administration at doorstep camp on Saturday.
MARGAO: The Velim MLA, Mr Benjamin D’Silva, on Saturday, stated that a two-day camp is being organised by the district administration, at the initiative of the District Collector, to provide essential services to the people at their doorstep at Sao Jose de Areal from May 4.
This is the first such camp in the Salcete taluka. Earlier such camps were held in Sanguem and Canacona talukas.
Mr D’Silva while speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’ said, “The camp is being organised to reach out to the locals. There are various government schemes, but people are not aware of them.’’
He further stated that this is the first time such a camp is being organised in his constituency with an aim of providing the benefits of the schemes to villagers and more particularly to the ST people.
The MLA assured to take up the development works after the monsoon season gets over and thanked the District Collector, Mr N D Agrawal and his team for putting in collective efforts to organise the camp.
Offices of ST Finance, Tribal Welfare, Adhaar Card, RDA Animal Husbandry, KVIC, deputy Collector and mamlatdar have made available their services; ration cards, residence, caste and income certificates were issued to the residents on the occasion.
The District Magistrate, Mr Agrawal said that the main objective of the camp is to make available various documents instantly at the camp so that the people can avail of the benefits of various schemes.
“I have seen in the past how people frequently visit the offices of mamlatdar and Collector to obtain various certificates and dejectedly return back for want of proper guidance over submission of certain documents. In order to end their hardships, the camp is being organised,’’ he stated.
The local sarpanch, Mr Julio Monteiro, proposed the vote of thanks for providing the help to his villagers.
In all 25 government staff were seen assisting the locals at the camp. The locals were seen queuing up to get income and residence certificates on the occasion. Ms Shenon Lemos compered the programme.
The Minister for Panchayati Raj, Mr Laxmikant Parsekar seen interacting with the officials of water resources department regarding ongoing construction of anti-sea erosion works at Keri in the Pernem taluka on Friday.
PANAJI: The Minister for Panchayati Raj, Mr Laxmikant Parsekar, inspected ongoing construction of anti-sea erosion works, repairs of Khazankond bandhara at Keri and works of construction of retaining wall for water lake and construction of channel cum retaining wall at Tuem and desilting of nullha being taken up at Virnoda by Water Resources Department in the Pernem taluka on Friday.
Informally speaking after inspection, Mr Parsekar said that an amount of Rs 86 crore has been sanctioned by the Centre under Golden Jubilee package for anti-sea erosion works and beach protection. Out of which an amount of Rs. 11.4 crore has been spent for taking up the works of construction of anti-sea erosion work for 650 metre length stretch which includes casting of 1200 tetra pods and 2000 blocks of one ton each ready to be placed at site, he added.
Mr Parsekar further said that the project commenced in January this year, and is expected to be complete by January 2014. Work undertaken earlier by using flexible Gabion filled with granite stone for the stretch of 1640 metre from ferry point to Ajoba temple was damaged during the heavy cyclonic wind and vertex. As a result, work on this portion has been now undertaken using tetra pods and blocks, he added.
Work was allotted to R B Chouwan, Mumbai-based company which has done similar type of works at Choupati and Sea Links, Mumbai, Mr Parsekar informed and added that similar type of work was also undertaken at the Anjuna beach.
The Minister also paid a visit to Khazankond bandhara to inspect ongoing works of improvement of bund taken at a cost of Rs 4 crore which include construction of earthen bund with concrete flood protection wall and construction of two sluice gates undertaken by Water Resources Department at Keri in the Pernem taluka.
Thereafter, the Minister visited paddy farm at Virnoda where he was urged by the farmers to undertake desilting work of nullah for smooth flow of water and save paddy crops from damage.
In this regard he assured the farmers to take up the work by May 9. The Panchayat Minister was accompanied by Ms Jotsna Kaskar, Deputy Sarpanch, Keri Terekhol, Ms Runali Talkar, Mr Jayant Kerkar, Mr Yeshwant Narvekar, all panchayat Members, Mr Ullhas Naik, sarpanch of Tuem-Palyem, Ms Swati Harmalkar, deputy sarpanch, of Tuem-Palyem, Mr Pramod Badami, executive engineer, WRD, Mr G K Naik, assistant engineer, WRD, Mr Anil Parulekar, technical engineer WRD and senior government officials during his day-long tour.