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Newsletter. Issue 14. July 03, 2010



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News Clips from Goa

Heavy rains affect normal life in Goa
The state witnessed heavy rains accompanied by gusty winds on Friday night and Saturday morning with many towns and villages experiencing acute water-logging, landslides and uprooting of trees, in turn causing inconvenience to the public. The state meteorological observatory recorded rainfall of 234.6 mm during 24 hours ending early Saturday morning, while the rainfall noted between 8.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. on Saturday is 25.6 mm. The observatory sources further informed that the weather conditions are becoming more favourable in coming three months as the further advances of Southwest Monsoon will bring good rains in western part of the country. "Widespread rain would occur over Konkan and Goa and coastal Karnataka, during next few days, with heavy rainfall warning in some of the states including Goa and Karnataka," they added. [NT]


Goa receives above normal rainfall in June
Goa received above normal rainfall for the month of June, this year, with rains touching 92 cm mark. The Met department on Tuesday confirmed that the rainfall was almost 8 per cent above normal for this month. “The normal rainfall for the month of June is predicted to be 87 cm, whereas till date we have received 97 cm of rains,” Indian Meteorological Observatory in-charge K V Singh said. As per the statistics, in 2009, the rainfall was much below normal in June. The Met department had recorded 73 cm of rains. “The normal monsoon has been predicted for the State since beginning. We expect Goa to receive more then 98 per cent of showers,” Singh said. Till date Goa has received 38 inches of seasonal rainfall. [H]


Wrong to call Goa unsafe destination: Swapnil Naik
The Goa tourism department has refuted findings of a survey by a popular tourism portal which dubbed Goa as the second-most unsafe tourist destination in India. "Goa is one of the safest tourist destination in India. How can one explain a 45 percent repeat foreign tourist clientele for the state? If we were unsafe, then tourists would have never come here again," Tourism Director Swapnil Naik told IANS. Trip Advisor, a popular tourism portal had in its 2010 survey ranked Goa as the second most unsafe destination in India after Delhi. [GT]


Dempo Climate Change Awareness Prog for school students launched
The Vasudeva V Dempo Climate Change Awareness programme for Goan school students, a Dempo-TERI (The Energy Resource Institute) initiative was formally launched on Friday at Dempo House, Panaji. It coincides with the 75th birth anniversary of late Vasudeva V Dempo. The relevant Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Ms Ranjana Saikia, Director of Environment Education and Youth Services, New Delhi and Mr B T Boke, senior general manager, Human Resource, Dempo Group of Companies amidst the presence of Mr Shrinivas V Dempo, Chairman, Dempo Group of Companies, Mr Vishwasrao Dempo, Director of Dempo Group of Companies and other dignitaries. [NT]


Common man badly hit by rise in prices of essential commodities
The exorbitant prices of essentials commodities including the local vegetables are ruining the lives of people from the low income and middle income group. Consumers have faced a sharp rise in prices of staple food items such as pulses, sugar and edible oil. Besides the rise in prices of almost all essential commodities, the hike in prices of LPG, kerosene and petrol has added to their woes. Consumers have alleged that civil supply authorities, weight and measure department and district administration is yet to take measures to ensure that the price list of essential commodities is displayed by traders. People have demanded that the civil supply authorities should carry inspections of traders alleging that prices of essential commodities vary from one shop to another in Salcete. This they say will keep a check on malpractices in the open market as far as weighing of commodities is concerned. [NT]


29 rescued girls sent to Apna Ghar
The 29 girls who were rescued by the Calangute police and the crime branch in raids conducted at different places at Calangute and Baga, have been sent to Apna Ghar, after obtaining a remand from the Bardez Deputy Collector. According to Calangute police inspector, Mr Nolasco Raposo, the raids were conducted on Monday on locations where the girls were reportedly staying, as the police had prior information that the flesh trade in Candolim-Calangute area was thriving. Due to this fact, no arrests were made but only the girls involved in the trade were rescued. Mr Raposo said that the raids being conducted on such places would continue. [NT]


State govt's health insurance scheme to cover every Goan family

PANAJI: The state government is currently chalking out a health insurance scheme of up to Rs 60,000 per year, which will cover every Goan family. A provision of Rs 15 crore will be made for the same.

The highly placed government sources informed that the scheme will be drawn on the lines of the National Health Insurance Scheme of the central government and the beneficiaries of the scheme will have to pay only minimal registration fee.

Under the scheme, any member of the beneficiary family will receive an amount of up to Rs 60,000 per year, for treatment in government as well as some select private hospitals. The Chief Minister, Mr Digambar Kamat had announced the scheme in his budget speech, earlier this year, in commemoration of the golden jubilee year of the Liberation of Goa. The finalisation of the details of the scheme has now reached the last phase. The scheme is being given final shape by consulting experts in the field of insurance, finance as well as health sectors.

The National Health Insurance Scheme of the central government is valid only for the below poverty line population, and the beneficiary families of the scheme are entitled for medical treatment costing up to Rs 30,000. These families, for the purpose of registration have to pay an annual registration fee of Rs 30. Under the scheme, they can avail medical facilities in government as well as private hospitals included in the government list, after producing the smart card.

The state health insurance scheme will also require its beneficiaries to produce the smart card for availing the facilities under it. The finance department predicts that an amount between Rs 15 crore and Rs 18 crore would be required to insure around 3.5 to 4 lakh families in the state. The finance department is also contemplating establishment of a tie-up with the insurance company, which is presently linked with the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Under the National Health Insurance Scheme, the state receives 75 per cent of the funds for the same from the central government, while it has to contribute the rest 25 per cent money. Now, the state government will have to bear the full expenses of the proposed state health insurance scheme.


Goa - Paradise lost, in just 50 years of independence
TNN, Jun 25, 2010, 05.05am IST

Many, many years ago, when we were young, we would roam freely in Margao, or ride around the villages to while away our time. The atmosphere was clean, the air we breathed pure, the scenery eye-catching. Open spaces were aplenty, with vast expanses of greenery.

Yet, back home at night,we often exclaimed: “Goa after 9pm looks like a cemetery. If this was Los Angeles or Europe, there would be so much development!” We longed for what we didn’t have. Then came Goa’s liberation and with it, development... a sea of illconceived development in which we are now drowning.

First came the big hoteliers who bought large stretches of our coast from Goans themselves, who were too eager to sell their properties for the attractive sums of money they got. Then came the Delhiwallahs with hard cash and again Goans were only too willing to part with ancestral property and large stretches of land in exchange of short-lived wealth. Some Goenkars migrated, others invested in fixed deposits. Nobody thought of investing in something worthwhile that would keep future generations happy in Goa. Successive governments (MGP, BJP, Congress and the coalitions) rose to power, only to loot and plunder Goa. Soon things got into a fast-forward mode. “Development” monsters came haunting us... IFFI, Regional Plan 2011, SEZs, sports city,Mopa international airport and the Panaji-Vasco sea link. All 40 MLAs keep colluding to make the most of their hidden agendas: “self-development”programmes meant to line their own pockets (with a zero plan for social development).

One classic case of ill-conceived development in Goa is the housing development scheme—otherwise a basic need of humankind. The world over, every government promotes housing schemes to provide more and better housing amenities to its citizens. The average Goan needed some help to improve his living conditions. But he was betrayed. Under the pretext of development, Goan politicians have exploited mega housing to further their nefarious agenda. What’s more, as their abominable tactics help create migrant vote banks, Goans are shown the door. It is not surprising that clearances to such housing projects are being scandalously issued without application of prevailing rules and regulations. The new mantra is: “Construct first, infrastructure later” (which means never). The promise of better infrastructure remains a pipe dream. It is money that rules the roost today. Clandestine deals are struck with huge kickbacks to politicians and their coterie.Moneyed builders from all over the world thrive here on illegalities. They easily manage to get agricultural land, forest areas and land debarred under CRZ regulations “converted”.

Mega projects, where Goans can’t even dream of securing a job or finding a roof over their heads, raise their ugly heads overnight. Every piece of our land is being fraudulently secured by outsiders. Our landscape and demographic balance has tilted radically. What the Portuguese could not destroy in 451 years is being frittered away in less than 50 years of our “independence”. With eyes set on filthy lucre and short term gains, we have lost so much that was precious and dear to us. Like the destruction of our coastline. More than 10% of the 105 kilometre (65 mile) coastline is congested with haphazard, unauthorized “development”... overflowing sewage, water shortage, contaminated groundwater, coastal erosion and congestion. (Perhaps it is not an irony that the previous tourism minister himself had to go underground). Mining pollution continues to play havoc with the environment. In villages, rivers run dry, wells have no water and mining rejects spill over into local fields.What is more frightening is the mafia that has sprung into illegal mining. The last nail in Goa’s coffin is the non-stop land acquisitions under the pretext of development—“land grabs”.

Acquisitions are made for one purpose and later the land is used for entirely different purposes. Goans have woken up to the reality that the sudden mushrooming of slums and concrete buildings in acquired lands has social, cultural and psychological consequences, which may not be evident to the casual observer. The loss of physical, social and cultural characteristics of the Goan identity is a serious matter today. It poses a threat to Goan identity. To the time-honoured traditions and cultural background of the original natives. Our little piece of paradise is being destroyed.Greedy politicians that we ourselves elect time and again permit distorted “development” to be transplanted into Goan soil. Development which kills the soul of a people. Goa does not need the model of development which has proven to be a failure elsewhere.What we need is socially cohesive, sustainable and, above all, a morally sound model of “development”. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. Yet hope springs eternal in the human breast.


Dabolim airport expansion project

Consolidated Construction Consortium Limited (CCCL), engaged in providing integrated turnkey construction services, has bagged a Rs 200 crore Dabolim Airport expansion project from the Airports Authority of India.

CCCL would be constructing the new terminal building at Civil Enclave, at the Dabolim airport. The scope of work includes civil, sanitary, plumbing, internal and external electrification, fire fighting system and CCTV.

The time limit for the project would be of 24 months.

The company had already completed airport projects in Tiruchirapalli, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore and Dehradun. The development of Kamaraj Domestic Terminal Phase-II, expansion of existing Anna International Terminal and face-lifting of existing terminals in Chennai are under progress. Besides, the company is executing the airport project at Rajamundri (Andhra Pradesh). The awarding of the contract would come as a big relief for the State government which had come under severe criticism from various quarters for not being serious on Dabolim expansion.

The initial tender floated by the AAI was cancelled due to technical flaws.


Goa second-most unsafe tourist destination: Survey
TNN, Jun 25, 2010, 05.58am IST

NEW DELHI: Three months before the Commonwealth Games, Delhi's ratings continue to plummet as a city unsafe for women. An overwhelming number of Indian travellers have given Delhi the thumbs down in terms of safety. Of the total number of travellers polled, 67% felt that Delhi was the most unsafe city in India followed by Goa (17%) and Mumbai (9%).

The Tripadvisor survey, that interviewed 5,000 respondents, said that Patna (5%) and Noida (4%) were the other unsafe cities. The capital city has become notorious for some of the most heinous crimes in the past few years. Crimes against women, incidents of foreigners being cheated from transit points like airports and railway stations have only strengthened this reputation. Goa has earned the ignominy this year of being unsafe thanks to the increasing number of assault cases against foreign tourists.

Polled on the clean tourist destinations, the survey on `summer trends 2010' found that the dirtiest hill station was Shimla (38%), Mussoorie (20%), Nainital (17%), Ooty (8%) and Darjeeling (7%). Unsurprisingly, the dirtiest beach was Juhu in Mumbai that was panned by 65% of the people, while Marina Beach in Chennai got 18% of the votes and Baga beach in Goa got 10% of the votes.

Tripadvisor India MD Sharat Dhall said that both safety and hygiene were increasing in importance when it came to the discerning traveller. `The masses will continue to go to a destination because of its popularity, but there is a small but growing section of travellers that will look for an alternative destination,'' he said. Another major trend is that Indian travellers are letting their hair down and learning to switch off. This means indulging in junk food and resisting the urge to check for phone calls from work.

The survey revealed that 70% of the people attended to lesser phone calls and emails, 62% woke up late in the morning and 54% were less likely to stick to their routines. Pegging it down to a more secure business environment, Dhall said, "Indians have traditionally been work-oriented. Till last year, there were far more people who would continue to work during their holiday. Now there is an increasing trend of letting go.''


Works of world-renowned Goan artist heads back home
TNN, Jun 25, 2010, 11.34pm IST

The journey back home will finally come to an end. Over 100 years after he left Goa, and forgotten by his homeland, many of the works of the "Rembrandt of the East" will find a permanent place in the state. Portugal's Fundacao Oriente will host a permanent gallery of Goan artist Antonio Xavier Trindade's works at its office in Panaji.

"The paintings," says Fundacao Oriente delegate director in Goa, Eduardo Kol de Carvalho, "will be a treasure for us and for Goa."

A treasure, agree artists, it definitely will be. Says artist Subodh Kerkar, "I think Trindade is very important to Goan art. There is hardly any collection of his in Goa, but I've seen some of his works in the Prince of Wales Museum and he is definitely a great master of his time."

Agrees artist Vamona Navelcar who says, "Trindade deserves more than a mention in Goa's directory of artists. He is one of the best artists Goa produced, one who made a mark in Indian art despite having a western influence. He is a master comparable to any great Indian artist."

Works to prepare the permanent exhibition hall are currently on. The gallery which is expected to take up four halls on the ground floor of the foundation's office is expected to be ready to welcome the paintings by the monsoon-end.

"We had to take care because of Goa's climate. We have installed airconditioners and dehumidifiers to keep the temperature and environment in the exhibition halls constant and conducive to protecting the paintings," says Carvalho.

Earlier, former Fundacao Oriente delegate in India, Adelino Rodrigues da Costa was asked to coordinate the gallery construction works. Speaking to TOI from Lisbon he said, "The main problem was reducing the humidity levels. I am certain that the new exhibition space created will dignify the collection and draw more visitors to Fontainhas."

That could actually happen as artists in Goa, familiar with Trindade's work, are eagerly awaiting the gallery opening.

Sanguem-born Trindade lived between 1870 and 1935 and was professor at Mumbai's JJ School of Art. He excelled in portrait painting and Kerkar says, "Some of the best portraits of Maharashtrian women have been painted by Trindade."

In fact, a large number of the paintings that will be on display at the gallery will be portraits and will include a self portrait, a Goa beach scene and landscapes of Nasik. The works have all come from the Trindade family collection. It was his family-grandchildren and great grandchildren-who initiated the move to have the paintings in Goa.

Fundacao Oriente came into the picture when the Trindade family, a branch of which is in the US, offered the collection to the foundation. "The family approached the foundation in 2001 offering to donate the works of Trindade. Their only condition was that these would be housed in Goa," says Carvalho.

The opening of the permanent gallery has been postponed for various reasons and the paintings are yet to reach Goa. The latest delay is the issue of import taxes on the paintings.

"We are in talks with the Indian government over this. The government has certain taxes that are imposed on the import of art. The foundation feels that since this is a Goan treasure which will remain in Goa permanently it should be exempted from taxes," says Carvalho.

Though Trindade has not been celebrated as an artist in Goa, his works have come under the hammer at auctions abroad.

According to their respective websites, an untitled painting of Trindade auctioned by Sotheby's, London in June last year was picked up for £8,750 (approximately Rs 6.50 lakh), while the painting titled Portrait of a Gentleman went for £2,300 (Rs 1.80 lakh) at Christie's, New York.

With the opening of the gallery in Goa, Trindade will finally be known in the land of his birth. "It is our moral obligation to give Trindade his due, even at this late stage. It is definitely important to have a gallery of his works in Goa," says Navelcar.

On its part, Fundacao Oriente promises to keep the interest in the exhibition going. "The exhibition will keep changing as we shall be replacing the exhibits regularly so that those who return to the gallery will get to see new paintings," says Carvalho.

Though the exact number of paintings is still not known, the foundation expects to have more than it can display at any given time. At a future date, paintings by Angela Trindade, daughter of Antonio Xavier Trindade will also be exhibited.

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