Posts Tagged ‘Goa’
Panaji, Dec 10 (IANS) A Supreme Court-appointed committee has virtually confirmed the massive illegal mining scam in Goa, vindicating anti-mining activists who have been campaigning against the menace for over a decade.
After the central empowered committee (CEC) submitted a report to the Supreme Court last week, activists say their claims of illegal mining in Goa stand vindicated.
There are now two official reports, one by the SC-appointed CEC and the other by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission, which back the claims of the environmentalists.
The Shah Commission report was submitted to parliament some months ago.
“The CEC has outlined an excellent road map regarding capping, re-surveys, etc. but one thing I find amiss is that there is no mention of how to recover the estimated Rs.35,000 crore loss,” Siddarth Karapurkar, secretary of the Goenchea Xetkaracho Ekvott, a grassroots traditional farmers organisation in Goa, said in a conversation with IANS.
The CEC in its report submitted after nearly two months of ground study in Goa, has indicted government agencies for their inability to curb blatant illegal mining in Goa.
The report submitted by the CEC secretary M.K. Jiwraka has also asked that 42 blatantly illegal mines in Goa be closed down, apart from suggesting that environment clearances (EC) granted to all mining operations be verified, to rule out fraud.
Goa has nearly 90 operational mines.
“Acute damage has also been caused to ground water aquifers due to indiscriminate mining below ground water level, which in turn has, in several areas, adversely affected agricultural activities,” Jiwraka said in his report, apart from asking the state government to come up with norms and regulations to control illegal mining in the future.
“Goa may be directed to immediately notify comprehensive rules to regulate storage, transportation and shipment of mineral. It should provide for issue of transit permits before the mineral is permitted to be transported outside the lease area, and ensure verification in transit. Till such comprehensive rules are put in place, the resumption of mining operations may be not be permitted,” the report said, buttressing the demands of environmentalists, who have been seeking just such a mechanism.
“It is a justice due to the people of Goa and the state. It was reckless and mindless mining that was being carried out all these years. The CEC has tightened all the screws and the loopholes making it next to impossible to start mining again,” according to Ramesh Gauns, a school teacher, who has doubled as an activist.
Gauns has been pushed and shoved several times by the mining lobby, during his countless protests against illegal iron ore extraction and movement of ore to the ports for export.
Now with the Supreme Court set to decide the future of the multi-million dollar mining industry, and on course to bring the culprits of the Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam to book, Gauns’s fellow-activists like Zarina da Cunha are only too happy.
“Now that the ball is in the court of judiciary, whatever they say is acceptable. Let the law take its course, I am confident it will,” da Cunha said.
Fatorda (Margao), Dec 8 (IANS) Pune FC will look forward to extend their stranglehold over Salgaocar FC in the I-League on their happy hunting ground at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here Sunday.
Having maintained a perfect all-win record – 3 wins from as many visits – over the hosts, Pune FC will also hope to take heart from the win over Sporting Clube de Goa the last time around.
With the Goans currently going though an agonising transition process, the round-10 game also gives Pune FC a chance to complete a hat-trick of away wins.
Pune FC Coach Derrick Pereira explains, “Salgaocar, as I see, is going through a lot of changes presently. Their midfield is good as always and defense is robust.”
Salgaocar, this season, had Karim Bencherifa resign soon after not picking up a win in their first two league games. Since then, the hosts picked up four points from the two games under assistant coach Peter Vales, but have so far managed a solitary point ever since Englishman David Booth took charge.
While the changes have had telling effects in Salgaocar’s performance, Pune FC need to also be wary of a possible backlash from the former League and Fed Cup champions, who will be eager to fight away from the relegation zone.
Victory would help Pune FC consolidate their position in the top-4 and close the gap on the top-3 in the standings.
Panaji, Dec 7 (IANS) Out migration patterns of Indians in general and Goans in particular will now be tracked and studied with the Goa University establishing a chair for diaspora studies for the forthcoming academic year.
According to Rajeev Verma, secretary to Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo, a Rs.2 million grant has already been allocated and has been accorded approval of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Speaking to reporters here Friday, former commissioner for Goa’s Non-resident India (NRI) cell Eduadro Faleiro, said: “It would deal with issues concerning the Indian diaspora in general and the Goan diaspora in particular along with the study of migration in other countries. It will explore the relationship that the Diaspora people have with their homeland.”
The former minister of state for external affairs said that this was the first such chair in the country which had been specifically set up to study migration and that it would throw light on consistent migration of Goans to other parts of the country as well as the world.
“The study of migration is one of the most fascinating areas of academic research and it is particularly relevant to Goa since over the centuries a significant number of our people have migrated to other parts of India and abroad for various reasons,” said Faleiro, who had been pursuing the matter of the chair with the union human resource development (HRD) ministry.
“It will also undertake research studies pertaining to migration of Goans to the neighbouring areas of north Karnataka and south Maharashtra in the 16th and 17th century due to religious, cultural and economic reasons,” he added.
In the recent past, Goa has seen out-migration to Britain, Africa and especially to the Gulf countries and with a huge non resident population, was the second state in India after Kerala, to conduct a scientific study on migration.
Panaji, Dec 7 (IANS) The Goa float at the Republic Day parade, which has often won prizes in the past, may not make its presence felt at Rajpath this year, an official said.
A defence ministry’s panel, which oversees and clears the themes of the floats to be paraded Jan 26, has rejected Goa’s theme of the ‘jagor’, a multi-religious wake carried out in most villages, where ancient talks and folk stories are narrated.
The art form is fading out and conscious steps are being taken by the state government to revive the same as part of state heritage.
Congress Rajya Sabha member from Goa Shantaram Naik said efforts made to lobby with the ministry of defence, which largely conducts the celebrations, had failed to find favour with the screening panel.
“We have asked them to review the decision,” Naik said, adding that according to the panel, changes it recommended had already been incorporated by the Goa government in its float.
“New drawings on jagor were presented whereupon the expert committee suggested some major changes,” Naik said.
“There were 15 states, out of which 14 have been cleared except Goa. And among nine floats of ministries, five have been cleared.
“A total of 19 floats are presently cleared,” Naik said.
Speaking to IANS, Sushant Khedekar, vice president of the state-run centre for performing arts, who is in charge of putting together the float said: “Artistes had put in a lot of strain in creating the decorations and the theme for the jagor float.”
“This is really sad. We will try and appeal once again. The state government will officially take the matter up with the ministry of defence,” Khedekar said.
Panaji, Dec 5 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Wednesday that he would love to do a doctorate in Physics if life gives him another opportunity.
“If I was given an opportunity again in my life to select a course probably I would select a Ph.D. in Physics,” Parrikar said.
Parrikar, who is India’s first IIT-educated chief minister, was speaking at the fag end of INSPIRE (Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research), a programme organised by the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography to popularise science in the state.
The chief minister said that India needed nationwide awakening to revitalise the manner in which professional education is conducted.Parrikar, a graduate in metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai and a self-confessed lover of science, also said that quality education in basic sciences was imperative for India.
“There is a need for the nation to create a pool of talent in pure sciences,” said Parrikar, who’s is also Goa’s education minister.
Panaji, Dec 4 (IANS) Goa’s multi-million rupee illegal mining scam may cause material harm to two former chief ministers.
The current BJP-led state government, under pressure to act against those responsible for Goa’s mega mining scandal, has said in a communication to a Supreme Court-appointed panel that it would be filing first information reports (FIRs) against former chief ministers Pratapsing Rane and Digambar Kamat for their alleged complicity in the mining scandal.
Drafted by Chief Secretary B. Vijayan, the 68-page letter says decisions taken by Rane and Kamat – both from the Congress – in connection with condoning delays in renewal of mining leases merited the registration of FIRs against them.
Kamat was Goa chief minister from 2007 to 2012, while Rane was the chief minister from 1980 to 1989, 1994 to 1999 and from 2005 to 2007. Kamat was also the state’s mines minister.
According to the Justice M.B. Shah commission report, which exposed the scam, and as reflected in Vijayan’s letter, the delay in renewing the mines’ leases was allegedly improperly condoned by Kamat and Rane in their respective tenures as chief ministers.
Vijayan’s letter, to which IANS has access, is addressed to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) in New Delhi appointed by the apex court to physically probe the scandal.
The Supreme Court, hearing a public interest litigation, has banned all mining activity in the state from October.
Rane and Kamat are responsible and have taken these decisions and therefore the state government has decided to file appropriate criminal proceedings against them, Vijayan said.
The FIRs, he said, would be filed under laws governing graft as well as under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code.
Rane told IANS that he was not aware of any such letter and that all decisions taken by him as chief minister were “legal”.
“I have nothing more to say. All my decisions were legal and above board,” he said.
Kamat was unavailable for comment.
The sincerity of the incumbent BJP government in bringing the guilty to book has been criticised by civil society activists and opposition parties.
After protesting and campaigning against illegal mining in Goa for nearly a decade as opposition leader, Manohar Parrikar, now chief minister, has gone out of his way to back the mining industry, his critics have alleged.
Congress spokesperson Reginaldo Lourenco has repeatedly accused Parrikar of attacking the small fry involved in the mining scam and allowing the big fish to go scot-free.
“Has he really taken action against any big person yet? All this while, Parrikar has only been running after the small fry like a junior government officer (Dattatray Bhave), who committed suicide because of the harassment,” Lourenco said, cautioning Parrikar against a witch-hunt against Congress leaders.
Vijayan’s letter to the CEC also follows recent critical statements made by Justice Shah, whose voluminous report exposed the mining scam, that the Goa government was giving wrong mining-related facts to the commission.
The chief secretary’s letter also points to a nexus among politicians involved in the scam, a fact underlined in the Shah Commission report too.
The letter states that several ruling politicians and ministers had “proactive participation” in the scam and would regularly direct officials to committee illegalities in the mines department.
Until last year, Goa’s 90 odd operational mines extracted and exported nearly 50 million tonnes of iron ore annually, the highest output in the country. Over a third of the exported iron ore was alleged to have been illegally sourced, according to Parrikar, who was opposition leader at that time.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Panaji, Dec 4 (IANS) Goa can’t afford the social and political unrest that may arise due to the Supreme Court imposed ban on mining, the state’s chief secretary has said in a letter to an apex court-appointed committee.
In one of the several missives sent by the Goa government to the committee probing illegal mining in the state, B. Vijayan has also argued for resumption of “sustainable mining” in Goa.
“The state would rather forego the revenue that accrues from mining. However, it is afraid of serious threat of social and political unrest which the state is in no position to afford,” the chief secretary has said in his latest communication to the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee, which wound up its probe in Goa a few weeks ago.
IANS is in possession of a facsimile of the letter.
Vijayan has also given a detailed breakdown of the direct and indirect impact which could be caused to Goa’s economy in view of the mining ban.
The top bureaucrat said that while the state government would suffer a direct revenue loss of Rs.930 crore, the “total cumulative income loss to the economy of the state” would amount to Rs.17,600 crore, which is more than double the state’s revenue expenditure for the 2012-13 fiscal.
Spelling out a possible unemployment scenario, Vijayan has said that over one lakh people would be rendered jobless if the ban on mining continued, almost echoing the sentiments of the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), which last week quoted a similar figure of projected unemployment.
“The state is totally against reckless mining at the cost of ecology and environment but sustainable mining in the state cannot be stopped,” the chief secretary has said, adding that mining as an economic activity had been going on in Goa since the Portuguese times and it was the mainstay of the state’s economy.
Incidentally, Vijayan has also pointed in his letter that the contribution of the mining sector to the state domestic product almost doubled from 9.36 percent in 2006-07 to 18.06 percent in 2011-12.
The Justice M.B. Shah commission, which probed illegal mining in Goa and put a figure of Rs.35,000 crore on the scam, had identified the years from 2006 to 2011 as the period when the bulk of the scam took place.
The letter also says that the Goa government would not even resume mining in the state, even if the Central Empowered Committee and the Supreme Court sanctions approval, until an effective regulatory mechanism is put in place to check rampant and excessive mining.
Panaji, Dec 3 (IANS) The Goa government is in overdrive to attract new industries to Goa, even as the Supreme Court-enforced ban on mining in Goa nears two months.
According to Industries Minister Mahadev Naik, the state government was looking to up the number of small to big industrial estates from 20 to 40, in a bid to ensure that people dependant on mining in Goa are not left jobless.
“Setting up new industrial estates is the need of the hour. We are looking to start one industrial estate in every constituency,” Naik told reporters here Monday.
There are 40 assembly constituencies in Goa, but the industrial estates are presently located in places in the hinterland and away from coastal Goa.
Naik said that the ban on mining could be telling on the several thousand people dependant on the industry like truck owners, mechanics, bulldozer operators, and technicians who would be rendered jobless if the ban persisted.
“We have to overcome the crisis of the moment which is unemployment caused due to the mining ban,” he said.
The Supreme Court ban in October, follows a public interest litigation filed by civil society activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who used data from an explosive report by Justice M.B. Shah, that has exposed a Rs.35,000 crore mining scam in the state.
The industries minister also said that the Goa government was tinkering with a policy, which aimed at deterring migrant labour from coming into the state.
“It is a step we have to take because of the conditions right now. As per the forthcoming industrial policy, we will try to ensure that we will not have too many migrants coming into Goa,” Naik said.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is already looking to work a consensus over a possible freeze in in-migration numbers in the state, which he said is essential to ensure the unique identity of the state.
The upcoming industrial policy is likely to put an emphasis on non-polluting and non-labour intensive sectors like moderate-sized IT and ITES firms, pharmaceuticals and tourism related industries.
Candolim (Goa), Dec 2 (IANS) From Indian names including Zeenat Aman, Bipasha Basu, Genelia D’Souza, Shazahn Padamsee to International fashion icons like Paris Hilton, Miss Paraguay Leryn Franco and Nicole Huber, the second edition of India Resort Fashion Week (IRFW) was more about glamour than business.
With as many as 30 shows, the four-day festival that was divided into three areas – ‘The Fashion Show’, ‘The Fashion Village’ and ‘The Music Festival’, concluded here Saturday with a energetic performance by Paris, who visited the country for the second time.
The first edition witnessed 15 designers showcasing their talent, but the second edition had more names.
Some of the established names part of fashion fest were Narendra Kumar, Neeta Lulla, Arjun and Anjalee Kapoor, Pria Kataaria Puri, James Ferreira, Falguni and Shane Peacock, Rocky S and Babita Malkani.
When asked why there were lesser established names this year, Mumbai-based designer Narendra Kumar said that people in India were little exposed to trends in resort wear.
“I think I understand the value of the resort week, other people probably do not understand or cannot make clothes that are different from one collection to other. Its important that I participated and am sure there will be more designers who will enjoy the mix of fun, fashion and music together in the coming days,” he told IANS.
“I think the resort trend is relevant to India. It is one kind of clothing that is perfect across India. It is probably the best thing one could do,” Kumar added.
Unlike last season, this fashion week was organised in open air, giving more space for designers to showcase their creativity.
While space was provided, there were hardly any collection displayed for the buyers. Almost all the stalls were empty, and there was much leisure and chatting.
Shane and Flaguni Peacock, who were the finale designers for the fashion week, said that organising a resort week is surely going to help the Indian fashion world.
“Resort week is definitely a good thing to do for Indian market and it was our gut feeling that made us say yes to this event,” said the designer duo, who rarely participate in Indian fashion weeks because of their international commitments.
Amit Patel from E-Sense entertainment, who brought some of the international names, including Paris, said that buyers from around the globe had flown in to see the collection.
“Indian fashion is much more appreciated outside India and with IRFW we strive to create a platform for all aspiring designers to showcase their talent globally. It’s a perfect blend of music and fashion. Also there has been a lot of business as buyers from around the globe have flown in to watch the collection,” said Patel.
Visitors at the IRFW seemed more drawn to the music than the fashion.
The four-day event, which began Wednesday, had a robust line-up of Indian and international disc jockeys (DJs).
From Indian DJs like Vijay Chawla, Anish Sood and Clement D’Souza to international names like Sidney Samson, Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike and of course Paris Hilton, the music definitely attracted one and all.
(Nivedita can be contacted at email@example.com)
Candolim (Goa), Dec 2 (IANS) Like any other well informed deejay, Paris Hilton knew what’s needed to get the crowd swinging and swaying. The socialite and entrepreneur chose the popular Korean song “Gangnam Style” and peppered the hit number with the words, “We will rock this night Goa” to begin her performance at the Sandkastle Music Festival of India Resort Fashion Week (IRFW).
After walking for designer duo Shane and Falguni peacock at the finale of the fashion fest in Peacock print gown, Paris looked all geared for her maiden performance as a DJ here in metallic knee-length dress. The four-day fashion extravaganza concluded here Saturday night.
“So Goa how are you feeling today, all set to rock the night and get grooved?” she asked before starting the performance and continued by adding, “I love you people. You guys are just so amazing, I Love India and the country rocks.”
The music lovers danced on some of the popular tracks like “Tonight’s Gonna be a good night” and “I’m sexy and I Know it” something that the 31-year old remixed herself apart from asking the crowd to go for Korean singer Psy’s Gangnam style – the moment that was surely the highpoint of the night.
The heiress, who visited the country last year to launch the Fall-Winter designs of her handbags, made her debut as a DJ this summer during a music festival in Brazil.
Before this, Hilton made her entry into the music world in 2006 as a solo artist with “Stars Are Blind” and also released a self-titled album in the same year.
People from as far as Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai, and from countries like Ireland, New York and London attended the programme. They all were having fun in their own way.
“I love Paris Hilton, We were always the fan of her vivacious beauty and watching her spinning for the first time is incredible. Never believed that she actually got such a talent,” said Viktoria Narain, a college student who came all the way from Bangalore to watch Paris perform.
“After watching her performance, I want to go and kiss her. She is just superb,” said Daniel Verghis.
After the show got over, Paris promised to come back again soon.
“Wow! What a fun show! Had the best time performing tonight! So happy that you all loved my set! Loved seeing you all dance! Yes ( sic),” she tweeted.
Candolim (Goa), Dec 1 (IANS) Actor Vidyut Jamnwal, who walked for bed and bath brand Spaces Home & Beyond at the last day of India Resort Fashion Week (IRFW) Saturday, flaunted his six-pack abs but choose to remain mum to queries about his fitness regime.
“I enjoy this and I think I have the right body and I am in the best shape, physically and mentally, right now,” he said after the show but didn’t divulge much about his fitness regimen.
“Whatever I do, I do with conviction and confidence. I think there are no secrets as such one should never diet and know about their metabolism,” added Vidyut who is best known for his negative portrayal in Bollywood film “Force”.
The actor walked in denims and a towel loosely thrown around his well-toned body, drawing hoots from girls sitting in the audience.
Talking about his Bollywood projects, Vidyut said that he is now working hard for his upcoming film “Commando”
“It’s a hard core action film and is being produced by Vipul Shah. It is the first film where no body doubles or props are used for the action scenes. I focus on one thing at a time so I have only been busy with the film and maintaining myself for all the action that is required for it,” he said.
Talking about his experience walking the ramp for IRFW, he said: “I have been here and I think it is a good platform. I loved the choreography by Achla Sachdev. I think she is the best show choreographer.”
Candolim (Goa ), Dec 1 (IANS) International socialite Paris Hilton, who is set to spin the disc as a DJ on the last day of India Resort Fashion Week (IRFW), says she has always been a huge fan of Indian fashion and will walk the ramp for finale designer Shane and Falguni Peacock late Saturday.
“I was always fascinated by Indian fashion and whenever I visit, I make sure to buy something for myself. Last time it was sari that I tried and this time I am walking for Shane and Falguni’s show at the fashion event,” Hilton said, while addressing the media here. She wore a wide-slit printed dress by the designer duo.
This is Hilton’s second visit to India. She visited the country last year to launch her range of handbags and accessories.
The 31-year-old is set to sashay down the Indian ramp for the first time in Shane and Falguni Peacock’s creations during the ongoing India Resort Fashion Week Saturday.
“I love their (Shane and Falguni Peacock) designs and this is the reason why I am walking for them. Since my childhood, I was accompanied by my mom to several fashion weeks and that is when I started getting used to fashion. I love everything that is beautiful and this is the reason why I love India for its vivacious and bright colours and designs,” she told IANS.
Apart from catwalk, Hilton is looking forward to her performance Saturday and says she has a bag full of surprises for her Indian fans. She has been brought to India by E-sense Entertainment.
“I am playing electronic, pop and some fun music that I have remixed myself. I am excited to perform in the country that has huge music lovers. Obviously there are some surprises in store but for that you have to wait and watch,” she said.
Hilton also took some time out for shopping.
“I went to spice market and bought some spices. I love Indian food. I also bought trinkets from the local market here for my family and they are just beautiful,” she said.