Goa PCC observes 129th birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at Old Goa

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee observed the 129th birth anniversary of the late Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at Old Goa, organised by the Cumbharjua Pradesh Congress Committee.

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Those present at the function included former MP and former Goa CM Francisco Sardinha, Senior Congress leader M K Shaikh, PCC member Joseph Vaz, Subodh Amonkar, Mahila Congress State Secretary Diya Shetkar, Old Goa former panch Vishal Volvoikar, PCC member Hemant Naik, North Goa District President Vijay Bhike and other leaders.

About 150 Congress workers attended the function which was held at the Old Goa Panchayat Hall premises.

While paying rich tributes to the late PM Jawaharlal Nehru, senior Congress leader Shri M K Shaikh said, “BJP in trying to belittle the greatness of Jawaharlal Nehru and neglect or erase his contribution as a freedom fighter, as a thinker, writer and as PM of the country.”

“The BJP government even removed a chapter on Nehru from the syllabus in Rajasthan. But they should remember that the people of India will not forget the sacrifices made by Jawaharlal Nehru and his contribution to the creation of modern India.”

Ex MP Francisco Sardinha called upon the people to follow in the footsteps of Jawaharlal Nehru and work together irrespective of religion, caste or community. Others who spoke at the function included Joseph Vaz, Mahila State Secretary Diya Shetkar, District President Vijay Bhike and Vijay Shetye.

Sudeep Naik welcomed the gathering, while Vishal Volvoikar proposed the vote of thanks.

Former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar announces plunge into electoral politics

Panaji, Nov 12 (IANS): In what could be a worrying sign for the Goa BJP, former state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, an arch rival of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, on Sunday announced his plunge into electoral politics.

The announcement comes at a time when the the state BJP as well as the BJP-led coalition government in Goa are facing immense flak over the continuance of ailing Parrikar as Chief Minister despite being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer for the last nine months.

“I will be actively working for the Goa Suraksha Manch,” Velingkar told reporters in Panaji.

Asked if he would be contesting the upcoming by-polls in Goa’s Shiroda and Mandrem constituencies which have been necessitated due to resignations of Congress MLAs from both seats, Velingkar said the decision would be taken at “the appropriate time”.

He also said that considering the political chaos in the state, following Parrikar’s illness and comfortable numbers in the Assembly still eluding the BJP, the Goa Assembly would be dissolved and fresh polls would be announced in Goa along with Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Velingkar, 66, has served as the state Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief for more than two decades and is considered responsible for the political grooming of the state BJP’s top leaders including Parrikar, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik and former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

He was sacked from the RSS in 2016 after he took on Parrikar, who Velingkar accused of backstabbing the principles of both the Sangh as well as BJP.

Velingkar later founded and mentored the Goa Suraksha Manch, a right-wing conservative political party which considers the BJP its key rival.

Source: IANS

Goa Tourism Industry In Turmoil: Huge Shortage of Fish Looms Over The State As 6-Month Import Ban Takes Effect

PANAJI: Even as the six-month ban on import of fish into the state of Goa came into effect from today, the Tourism Industry in Goa is staring at huge losses as exotic sea food is the backbone of the restaurants and hotels in coastal state.

The tourism industry stands to face a cumulative loss of Rs 70-95 crore, which can even go up to Rs 150 crore over a period of six months if the ban is strictly enforced, according to research conducted by IndiaScoops.com in consultation with various tourism, shacks and hotel and restaurant associations in Goa.

“Most foreigners who visit Goa during the tourism months from December to February patronize the sea-food restaurants. Various types of fish, prawns, tiger prawns, lobsters, etc., are the items of choice and the most patronized dishes on the menus of most restaurants. Goa is not able to meet the demand for this high-end, exotic sea food, including salmon, etc., which is in great demand with the foreign tourists,” said Adv Diya Shetkar, President of the Goa Citizen’s Action Forum.

According to a report in the Navhind Times, the Congress party on Sunday called upon the government and the Health Minister Vishwajit Rane to do a re-think “as it would put the state and the fish eaters in crisis.”

Addressing media persons, Congress spokesperson Sankalp Amonkar along with some youth Congress leaders on Sunday, warned that if the government imposes a ban on fish import without banning export of Goan fish, it will lead to chaos and confusion in state due to extreme fish shortage.

Amonkar expressed fear that the ban on import of fish will create fish scarcity in the state markets since fish is a staple diet of most Goans.

Elaborating further, he said that when subsidy of Rs 100 crore is given to fishermen, the catch should be enjoyed by Goans first as the money comes from the taxpayers’ pockets.

He questioned the government whether measures are in place to crack down on illegal import of fish particularly by buses, trains adding soon people will start bringing fish in their private vehicles and goods carriers.

Amonkar said that Goans should not suffer due to the ban and should get formalin-free fish and demanded that FDA officer Iva Fernandes be appointed as nodal officer.

The Congress spokesperson further said that the Health Minister Rane had made a statement that fish ban has been announced in consultation with the TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai and asked why this is happening when the state has a designated fisheries minister.

Alleging that the Fisheries Minister Vinod Palienkar is maintaining a stoic silence, Amonkar said that Palienkar should break his silence and come out clean on the issue and if he is under some pressure from anybody then he should quit the post. He said, “Let some capable person take over the post and handle the issue tactfully.”

Amonkar also alleged that the fish ban and formalin issue is a well-enacted drama by two ministers and fish mafia and alleged that only ministers and fish mafia are speaking but the fisheries minister is silent over the issue.

with inputs from The Navhind Times

Ban beef to cure CM: Manohar Parrikar suffering from cancer because he didn’t ban beef in Goa, says Swami Chakrapani

While the Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, is undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer, the leader of the All India Hindu Mahasabha, Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, has said that beef ban must immediately be put in place in Goa.

Also Read: Beef issue: Goans must understand they live in Hindustan and not Portugal

According to him, this will have a positive impact on the health of the ailing Chief Minister.

He even went one step ahead to say that the CM is suffering from cancer because he didn’t totally ban beef in Goa. “If Parrikar had to ban beef earlier, he would not be in the situation he is in today,” the leader of the All India Hindu Mahasabha, Swami Chakrapani Maharaj

Also Read: Beef to be completely banned in Goa, rest of India by 2019

This bizarre demand by Chakrapani comes close after the news of CM Manohar Parrikar being at an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer.

Earlier this week, Union Minister Shripad Naik said that a “change in leadership is required” considering the health of the incumbent minister.

Also Read: Stop Eating Beef or Get Killed, Lynchings To continue if Muslims, Christians Don’t Stop Eating Beef

The state is currently reeling under the absence of the Chief Minister. Parrikar recently chaired a cabinet meeting at his house after a gap of almost three months. He is currently recuperating at his residence in Goa following his discharge from AIIMS in New Delhi on October 14.

Also Read: Those who eat beef should be hung in public, says Sadhvi Saraswati

“Beef ban in Goa will cure Parrikar. It will have a positive impact on his health,” Chakrapani said.

This is contradictory to Goa CM Parrikar’s remarks who defended and backed the bee traders earlier this year.

Also Read: VHP and Bajrang Dal set to impose complete beef ban in India

The CM also warned that anyone who tries to stop the legal import of beef into the state would be punished. This was a response to cow vigilantes in the state, who were creating hurdles in the import of cattle into the State.

Swami Chakrapani has been in the news earlier as well for his controversial remarks.

Also Read: Stop eating Pork & Beef, embrace Hindutva or else leave India

During the time of Kerala floods, Chakrapani also made a statement regarding the consumption of beef in relation to the reason for floods.

He further said that the people who eat beef must not get any help in the state and must be left to perish.

Also Read: Jesus was born in a Cow Shed, so Christians must Stop Eating Beef says RSS leader Indresh Kumar

The flood-hit victims must submit an affidavit that they will never eat beef again, only then should they be provided with any help.

Change of leadership required in Goa due to Manohar Parrikar’s failing health: Union Minister Shripad Naik

Panaji: A change in leadership in Goa is a “requirement” “today or tomorrow” considering the health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Union Minister Shripad Naik. Parrikar has been undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment for several months now and arrived in the state on October 14 post hospitalization at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, PTI reported.

Speaking at the sidelines of a press conference to announce International Yoga Day Naik said that change in the leadership is a requirement, today or tomorrow as the CM’s health is not well.

There has been a constant chatter about a change in leadership in the state but the BJP has consistently ruled it out.

Naik is perhaps the first BJP leaders from Goa to demand a change of leadership. Parrikar, who is in an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer, is currently on bed rest at his residence in Dona Paula, Goa. According to media inputs, the CM hasn’t attended his office at Porvorim since June.

BJP allies in the state, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP), have already clarified that they will support the coalition till Manohar Parrikar remains the chief minister.

The BJP has 14 legislators in the 40-member Goa Assembly and has received the support of three MLAs each of MGP and GFP, apart from three Independent legislators. It’s critical for the saffron party to have the support of MGP and GFP to survive as it needs at least 21 MLAs to remain in power in the coastal state.

Sooner or later, Parrikar has to go: Shripad Naik

Ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s leadership will have to be changed “today or tomorrow”, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik said on Friday, according to an IANS report.

Naik also said that in view of Parrikar’s ill-health, dropping him as the Chief Minister was a “requirement” and a “compulsion” for the BJP leadership. Sooner or later, Parrikar has to go, he said.

“Change will have to be done today or tomorrow. It is a requirement. You know the Chief Minister’s health is not good. But he is still working in this condition,” Naik told mediapersons in Panaji.

Naik is one of the first Goa BJP leaders to demand a change of leadership in Goa even as the state BJP as well as members of the BJP-led coalition have come under immense flak over the Chief Minister’s prolonged absence due to his illness.

Parrikar is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and Delhi for nearly nine months.

He returned from New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences on October 14 and has not moved out of his private residence, for any official event since.

The opposition has been demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister, claiming that the administration has come to a standstill due to Parrikar’s absence.

To a question, as to whether it was fair to let an unwell Parrikar to handle administrative matters despite his illness, Naik said: “There are many reasons, which cannot be fully talked about. Thing will happen in time.”

Naik also said that he would take the lead to patch up differences among top BJP leaders, including former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Goa Speaker Rajendra Arlekar, who have openly rebelled against the decision taken by state BJP President Vinay Tendulkar and Parrikar to induct two Congress MLAs into the BJP.

with inputs from IANS

Experts see red over Goa’s proposed tourism policy

The Goa government’s draft tourism policy and tourism master plan came in for severe criticism from different stakeholders and civil society activists at an interactive session convened here by the Centre for Responsible Tourism, a Church-affiliated body, on Wednesday.

The State tourism department has sought suggestions on its report on the tourism policy and master plan. The policy has been uploaded on the tourism department’s website and is open for suggestions from stakeholders and public.

Experts and activists have pointed out several flaws in the draft tourism policy and called it a “top-down master plan” prepared by foreign consultants without any discussion with the people.

More time sought
The last date to submit suggestions for the draft master plan, according to the State government, is November 11, but the CRT has demanded at least three months to study it and come up with suggestions.

The CRT has also demanded that the draft be translated into vernacular and be circulated to village panchayats for greater awareness on it through gram sabhas. It has also questioned the Goa government as to why the draft is not being published in the State gazette.

Goa University scientist and social activist Nandkumar Kamat evaluated the proposed plan and lambasted the proposal for hiding crucial information about major aspects like income generated through tourism in the State which gets close to 6.5 million tourists, including 0.06 million foreign tourists, per year.

He lamented that the master plan prepared by a professional consultant, KPMG, hides more things than it reveals. “Is it tourism for Goa or Goa for tourism? Is tourism for the benefit of people of Goa or Goa’s people are for tourism?” asked an indignant Mr. Kamat.

Besides the economic dimension, the earnings from domestic and foreign tourists have been kept hidden from the public, he claimed.

“The draft plan says nothing about income from tourism to the State, which, according to information obtained through a Right to Information plea, is around ₹29,400 crore or around 40% of the Goa’s GDP. The government fears questions from the people if the figures are revealed,” said Mr. Kamat, adding that the proposed master plan is a “copy-paste job which had no place for Goa’s environment, ecology, culture, heritage”.

‘Amateurish draft’
“Rather this document seems to be a Trojan horse for the Goa Tourism Board which hides the fact that such instrument is absent in all other States which are ahead of Goa in tourism. A public policy needs to have a clear mission statement and principles, present current situation and analyses, clearly and concisely state the goals, objectives, strategies and action plans, spell out steps for responsible tourism and provide details of implementation and review. This draft is very amateurish and purely academic in nature,” said Mr. Kamat.

He also objected to a proposed autonomous Tourism Board in the policy and master plan saying if it is headed by the State Minister of Tourism as proposed therein then it is a mockery of autonomy.

Retired scientist from Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography, Antonio Mascarenhas, raised concern that the proposed master plan makes no mention of sand dunes, mangroves or ecologically sensitive areas of the coastal tourist State.

Mr. Valmiki Naik of Aam Aadmi Party said that the proposed master plan has very little of statistics and gives too much of importance to casinos.

Serafino Cota, former president of Small and Medium Restaurants Association in South Goa, suspected it was a scam and said that the draft master plan laid too much emphasis on PPP and profits for private players while there is nothing for the common people.

Source: The Hindu

RTI Activists and NGOs announce an indefinite fast unto death to protest against Goa CM Parrikar’s reluctance to hand over charge

The Goa Citizen’s Action Forum (GCAF), national RTI awardee Rajan S Ghate and NGO Nari Adhikar along with others on Friday announced that they would undertake an indefinite fast unto death to protest against the failure of the Goa government to find solutions and take action against issues like rising unemployment, rise in prevalence of gambling due to spread of Casino culture, failure of the Goa government including the Goa CM Manohar Parrikar to allocate important portfolios like Home, Finance, Industries, etc., to capable and responsible Ministers and others.

Speaking at the press conference held at Panaji, national RTI awardee Rajan Ghate who will inaugurate the fast unto death and social activist Anil N Laad said: “I am giving the BJP-led Goa government a notice of 7 days’ time to announce a solution to the issues like rising unemployment, loss of jobs, spread of gambling and Casino culture and the failure of the Goa CM Manohar Parrikar to allocate important portfolios like Home, Finance, Industries, etc., to capable and responsible Ministers, so that the work of these ministries is not hampered and is carried out under the responsible, day-to-day supervision of the Minister holding the portfolio.”

NGO Nari Adhikar along with the Goa Citizen’s Action Forum (GCAF) is carrying out a socio-medico-academic survey in certain poorer sections of Goa to understand the unemployment problem in detail and to study the impact of certain socio-geographical indicators over the overall health of the people of Goa.

Adv Diya Shetkar of the NGO Nari Adhikar said that the survey has already begun in the Ponda-Shiroda belt and we will cover the entire State in batches over a period of 3-4 months. Nari Adhikar and GCF strongly condemn the lackadaisical attitude and failure of the Goa government to address the unemployment problem in the state, which is causing frustration among youth and forcing them into gambling, drugs and other vices.

“According to information from the Govt of Goa Statistics Dept and the Personnel Dept, the new jobs creation (in the government sector) for the year 2018 stood at ZERO. This means the Goa govt has not been able to create new jobs for the youth of Goa. It has come to my knowledge that BJP leaders in Goa are selling government jobs to the highest bidder in their constituencies. Instead of giving out job contracts to Goans, former GTDC chairman and BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral has given out contracts for services like tea/coffee vending, maintenance and serving to contractors from Delhi who bring their own labour from outside Goa. These contracts are arbitrarily awarded for periods and durations of 10-15 years, without any bidding, which is completely illegal,” said Adv Diya Shetkar of Nari Adhikar.

According to activist Kenneth Silveira: the coalition partner of the BJP government, the Goa Forward Party had made Casinos a big poll issue and senior office bearers of the GFP had even filed court cases against the casinos. But after coming to power, the senior leaders of GFP have now withdrawn the court cases against the casinos and the reason is obvious.”

I have heard that one casino owner has funded the US treatment costs of the Goa CM to the tune of Rs 2 crore. The money was transferred from a US bank account of the Casino magnate directly to the cancer hospital where the CM was undergoing treatment.

The government has not been able to solve the fish traders/fish importers formalin issue. The Health Minister says  one thing and the traders say a different thing all-together. At the end of the day, it’s the common man who is inconvenienced and has to pay more as the fish mafia is creating an artificial scarcity of fish.

The local transport system has completely collapsed in Goa. Every day 8-10 buses of the Kadamba Transport break down on the road causing great inconvenience to the public. There is no proper maintenance of the buses. Due to traffic congestion, the buses arrive very late and the public are made to stand in queues at the Margao and Panaji main bus stands as back-up drivers are not available during peak hours.

Congress leader Diya Shetkar alleges gangrape, murder threat by BJP leader Subhash Shirodkar’s supporters

In a serious allegation, a female Congress leader on Sunday accused BJP leader Subhash Shirodkar’s supporters of threatening her of gang-rape and killing if she campaigned in his constituency.

Shirodkar is a former Congress MLA and represented Shiroda in Goa Legislative Assembly. He had recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Congress party worker and lawyer in a complaint to the police at Panaji in Goa saying that she got a telephone call early on Sunday morning asking her to “not to do anything against him (Shirodkar) in Siroda constituency”.

Speaking to news agency ANI, the Congress leader said, “BJP leader Subhash Shirodkar’s goons are threatening me of gang-rape and killing. The BJP govt is tarnishing my image. In the morning, I got a call threatening me to not do anything against him in Shiroda constituency.”

In her complaint submitted at the Panaji Police Station, she said that she received a call on Sunday morning from an unknown person, who claimed to be Shirodkar`s supporter, who used “abusive and vulgar” language while delivering the threat to her.

“I was threatened with gang-rape by the caller if I entered constituency of Shirodkar, a former Congress MLA who joined the BJP last month, and campaigned against him,” she told the media.

The police said a non-cognizance complaint had been registered against an unknown person following the complaint.

While Shirodkar could not be contacted, state BJP General Secretary Sadanand Shet Tanavde said, “I do not know about the complaint, but I will find out.”

Shirodkar, along with another now-former Congress MLA Dayanand Sopte quit the Congress and joined the BJP.

Dassault paid Anil Ambani Rs 284 crore as kickback: Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that French jet maker Dassault Aviation paid kickbacks to Indian industrialist Anil Ambani who bagged the offset contract in the 36 Rafale aircraft deal in April 2015.

Addressing his sixth press conference on the matter at AICC headquarters, Gandhi said Dassault CEO claims Ambani got the offset contract because he had the land for the company but “he lied”.

“It turns out Dassault invested Rs 284 crore in Anil Ambani’s company worth Rs 8.30 lakh valuation. It was with this money that Ambani bought the land needed for the company. Dassault CEO is lying and the question is why he paid this amount to a loss making firm? This is the first tranche of kickbacks given to Anil Ambani by Dassault and this is clear as day,” Gandhi alleged.

On a query about the government saying everything is above board in the deal, Gandhi said HAL had more land than Ambani but was sidelined. He asked why.

“Ambani bought land with the money Dassault gave him. Why is Dassault CEO lying? Who is he protecting? There is only one person he is protecting and that is PM Narendra Modi. This is clear cut 100 per cent open and shut case of corruption. Rs 284 crore has gone into Ambani’s account for absolutely no logical reason other than a kickback,” Gandhi said, adding that the PM “cannot survive an inquiry in the matter which was why the CBI chief was removed as he was looking at these papers”.

He reiterated the demand of a joint parliamentary committee probe into the deal.

“Modi is terrified. Rafale is open and shut case and one of partnership between Modi and Ambani. Fact is Ambani didn’t pay for the land — Dassault did. The CBI chief was looking at these papers. It is obvious that there is enough material in the public domain to nail Modi and the CBI chief was removed,” said Gandhi.

On the question of SC asking for pricing details of the jet, Gandhi said the French President had told him privately that pricing was not covered by a secret pact.

“I keep saying Rafale is an open and shut case of corruption because the deal was negotiated for a decade. Modi personally, not ex-Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, changed everything,” Gandhi added.

Source: The Tribune