Manohar Parrikar certain of victory in Panaji bypoll, says voters have ‘already made up their minds’

Panaji: (PTI) Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar said voters of Panaji have already decided to elect him as their MLA in the by-election scheduled for 23 August, “as they know that doing so will be a win-win situation for them”.

Addressing a public meeting in Valpoi constituency, Parrikar said Goa’s revenue has gone up by 25 percent during the last five months since he took the charge of the state in March.

The BJP has fielded Parrikar from Panaji against Congress’ Girish Chodankar. In the Valpoi bypoll, Congress rebel Vishwajit Rane is contesting on a BJP ticket against Roy Naik, the son of former state home minister Ravi Naik.

BJP’s Siddharth Kuncolienkar had vacated the seat for Parrikar as he has to get elected to the Assembly within six months of becoming chief minister. Valpoi bypoll was necessitated after Rane joined the ruling BJP.

“This is the time to decide the future of Goa. Do ponder over this fact that parties like the MGP and Goa Forward Party have decided to join hands with the BJP for the welfare of the state. They did not trust Congress,” Parrikar said.

He said the voters of Panaji constituency have already taken a decision to elect him “since I returned to the state (from Delhi)”. “Panaji voters are educated and they know it very well that it’s a win-win situation if they elect chief minister as their MLA,” Parrikar said.

Parrikar returned to the state politics after resigning as defence minister, when Assembly polls threw a hung verdict in March this year.

He said the issue in Panaji constituency is not about his victory, but about the quantum of lead he will take over his opponent. “My lead will entirely depend on the percentage of voting. If there is 70 percent voting then my lead will exceed 7,000 mark, if it is 75 percent, then it will touch 8,000-9,000,” he said.

Parrikar said the revenue of Goa has gone up by 25 percent in the last five months. “It (increase in revenue) is not magic. Finance is a skill. Like a cricketer knows exactly how to move the bat before even the ball is thrown, similarly the person who handles finance should have a foresight. To handle each department, one should get in sync with it and match your wavelength with it,” he said.

Parrikar said the BJP-led government will not only concentrate on building infrastructure in the coming days, but also on the development of individual citizens. “There was a reference about the youths who have failed in Class X examination and are seeking government jobs. There is no need to worry. The state government has already made a provision of employment for the youths who could not complete their Class X,” he said.

In the Pay Commission, ‘D’ group has been converted into ‘C’ group, which requires Class X as the minimum qualification, he said. “Now, we have classified certain posts in ‘D’ group where Class VIII is the minimum qualification. If they have not cleared Class VIII, then we can even introduce a one-month training for reading and writing for them,” the chief minister said.

He said the current investment policy is in tune with the generation of employment in rural areas. “We are reimbursing the interest on the loan given to those entrepreneurs who are setting up their industries in Sattari taluka (the rural area where Valpoi constituency is located). We also reimburse them 35 percent of the salary paid to their staff. Due to this the investment has started coming in Sattari,” Parrikar added.


Goa bypolls: Catholics in state not apprehensive of beef ban, says Manohar Parrikar

Panaji: (IANS) Goan Catholics are not apprehensive about the beef ban issue in the state’s Goan context, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday.

He was responding to a query if in course of his campaign for the Panaji by-poll, Catholic voters had expressed their grievances about the beef ban narrative at the national level.

“Nothing is coming through. Those who have read and have knowledge, they know the situation vis a vis the Goan context,” Parrikar said.

Catholics account for more than a quarter of the state’s 1.5 million population and are a sizeable votebank in the Panaji Assembly constituency.

The Goa Church has openly criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party regime, both at the Centre and the BJP-led coalition government in the state, accusing it of trying to clamp down on sale of beef, brazenly in the rest of India and subtly in the coastal state, where minorities and a sizeable chunk of the six million plus tourists who visit the state, eat it.

Parrikar, during the recently concluded monsoon session of the Goa Legislative Assembly however, said that the state government would take all steps possible to ensure supply of beef in the state.

Source: IANS

Huge cracks emerge in Chapora Fort hill slope

PANAJI: A 380-metre long controversial road built by the public works department (PWD) at the iconic Chapora fort has turned into a water conduit during monsoon, and channelizing the runoffs into houses below the hill.

The hill, which has a steep gradient had been cut into heavily, to lay the road from an area near the foot of the hill to an upper section, a few metres short of the heritage monument.

A hotel nearby had also excavated into the hillside and constructed a helipad, a rain water harvesting tank and other illegal structures.

The construction of the road in the soft laterite soil has affected stability and erosion after heavy rainfall is triggering further collapse of the excavated portions.

“Landslides are frequent due to the destabilization of the hill slope. Channels have been formed on either side of the road due to water runoffs from the top of the hill, and the slurry (semi-liquid mix) is flowing down the hill,” Sagardeep Sirsaikar, a resident of Anjuna said.

PWD had built the road at the request of the directorate of archives and archaeology (DAA) to help carry building material for the restoration of the fort.

Sirsaikar had then complained to the Goa coastal zone management authority (GCZMA), alleging that the illegal hill cutting and the road construction near the fort was in blatant violation of Coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification 2011 and its rules.

“With so much digging in the fragile section of the hill, the heavy rainfall has caused more damage,” Sirsaikar said. “The water would flow towards my house during the rainy season, but it is now entering my balcony,” Joe D’Souza, a resident from Vagator, said, whose house is nearest to the fort while five other houses have also been affected.

“Streams of rainwater flow from the excavated hill around our houses, to the nullah below,” Felix D’Souza, another resident from Vagator said.

Sources close to water resources minister and local MLA, Vinod Palienkar said that he has inspected the area and directed the authorities to carry out remedial measures. “The digging activity has created a mess here,” D’Souza said.



Nigerian arrested with 190 grams of ganja in Baga area of Goa


Panaji, Jul 29 Goa police have arrested a 30-year-old Nigerian for possessing 190 grams of ganja from the state’s north Goa coastal belt.

“Augustine Okafor Olise, originally from Nigeria and currently living at Anjuna was arrested at Baga beach last night,” Police Inspector Jivba Dalvi said.

Olise has been booked under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

Dalvi said prior information was received about a Nigerian national coming to sell ganja in Baga area at Bharat Junction late night yesterday.

Accordingly a team was formed and the Nigerian was arrested and the ganja was seized, he said.

A personal search led to discovery of 190 grams of Ganja, said Dalvi.


Monsoon deficit rises to 16%: Met

PANAJI: With the peak month of monsoon season, July witnessing only light to moderate rainfall, the deficit is slowly mounting and farmers in some areas are getting worried over the impact of dry spells on their crops. The deficit has risen to 16%, as the seasonal total touched 1,605.4mm (63.2 inches) on Saturday, while the normal should be 1,909.9mm (75.1 inches) at this stage.

“The overall situation is okay, as some areas like Canacona have even got surplus rain, but there could be a slight problem in localized conditions,” director, agriculture department, Ulhas Pai Kakode said. In upland areas, paddy and sugarcane crops can suffer stress during certain stages due to scarce rainfall. “When paddy crop reaches tillering stage and if there is no water at the base of the plant, it will have biotic stress,” agronomist and former Indian council of agricultural research, (ICAR) scientist, H R Prabhudesai said.

Rainfall activity has been weak during the last few days. It was only Quepem rain gauge station that recorded heavy rainfall of 70.0mm during the last 24 hours till Saturday morning. A few other centres recorded moderate rainfall, Ponda 36.8mm, Valpoi 34.0mm, Sakhali 32.6mm, Mapusa 29.0mm and other centres on a lesser scale. Figures of rainfall recorded in Sanguem and Margao were not available.

The meteorological centre has forecast light to moderate rain or thundershowers at most places over Goa during the next five days. “A few spells of rain are likely due to weak monsoon activity,” an official said.


1.96 traffic violators booked in Goa this year

PANAJI: Traffic Police has booked 3.16 traffic violators in 2016 and 1.96 violators till June this year, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar informed the legislative assembly.

Goa Police forwarded reports for cancellation and suspension of licenses of defaulting drivers in major accidents to the concerned assistant directors of transport with all details. A total of 497 licenses were suspended by assistant director of transport Mapusa, 11 in Bicholim, 22 in Ponda, 23 in Vasco, 112 in Panaji, 132 in Margao, 54 in Quepem, 4 in Canacona, 48 in Pernem and one in Dharbandora over the past one year.


Congress begins exercise to field candidate in Panaji seat

Panaji, Jul 29 (PTI) The Congress and other parties have begun the exercise to field a common candidate against Manohar Parrikar in the upcoming Panaji by-election scheduled on August 23.

The Congress which has decided to contest the by-election in Panaji along with Valpoi held a series of meetings today in capital city chaired by Goa Pradesh Congress committee president Shantaram Naik to shortlist the candidates.

The party had almost finalised the candidature of former minister Atanasio Monserratte to contest from Panaji, but he left the party to join Goa Forward Party, said party sources.

Congress sources confirmed that after the exit of Monserratte, the party has zeroed in on ex-mayor of Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) Ashok Naik.

After the meeting, Shantaram Naik told PTI that “the party will field its own candidates in both the constituencies, and the parties which are willing to defeat BJP should join the hands with us.”

“The talks are yet to begin with any of the party but congress will welcome the support,” he said.

Naik said names of both the candidates would be announced on Monday by the Congress.

The name of Ashok Naik has been considered as he would be acceptable to majority of parties which are not with the BJP-led government, said party sources.

“Ashok Naik has been at the helm of affairs at the CCP between 2001-2006 and is known for his simplicity. There are various leaders from other parties who are willing to support him,” a senior Congress leader said, refusing to be quoted.

He said that the exercise to have a dialogue with parties like the Goa Suraksha Manch and the Aam Aadmi Party has already begun.

When contacted, Ashok Naik said “Congress had approached me with the offer to contest in Panaji by-election. I met their leaders. I have told them that I will consult my supporters and well wishers and get back on Monday.”

He claimed that there are several BJP workers too, who are supporting him.

When contacted, GSM President Anand Shirodkar said the party is yet to take a stand on whether to support consensus candidate or not.

“It will depend entirely on the situation,” he said.