LS polls: Congress may field fresh face in South Goa

The Congress party might have to prepare a fresh list of its probable candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections following chorus of demand from the members of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee that fresh candidates be fielded if the party wanted to win the elections.

According to the sources in the party there was overwhelming demand from the members of the GPCC to field a fresh face from South Goa by replacing Francisco Sardinha, the sitting MP, at the extended meeting of GPCC held at Margao in the presence of AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh and secretary A Chella Kumar.


The sources said that though the Congress normally does not reject tickets to sitting members, it might have to do a rethink given the widespread demand from its grassroots level leaders. A final call on whether to replace sitting Congress MP Francisco Sardinha would have to be taken by the high command, the sources added.

Though Sardinha and Luizinho Faleiro, the AICC general secretary in-charge of North Eastern states, and Valanka Alemao had their backers too, there was a general feeling among most GPCC members that the party would benefit if fresh faces were fielded. The sources said that the party might give in to the demand and name altogether a new face. In the case of North Goa Lok Sabha seat, the GPCC members felt that Congress should contest it to wrest it from sitting Bharatiya Janata Party MP Shripad Naik. Most members felt that Congress has a much bigger base in North Goa than the Nationalist Congress Party and that Congress should not repeat the past mistake if it wanted to wrest the seat from BJP.

According to sources, many in the party were in favour of a new face for North Goa too and the candidates shortlisted by the party did not find much favour among many of the GPCC members. The sources did not rule out the possibility of Vishnu Wagh, the sitting BJP legislator from St Andre, being named as the Congress nominee in case he switches over to the Congress.

Meanwhile, Faleiro has said that he is not in the race for the South Goa ticket and that he would prefer to carry on with the work assigned to him by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the N-E states.

He said that he was too busy with his assignments as he has to prepare not only for parliamentary elections but also for two state assemblies, which would go to polls simultaneously. “I have a very busy schedule and happy to execute the works assigned to me” he said. Faleiro said that he was overwhelmed and humbled by the support he got for his candidature from the Congressmen in the state, even as he went on to add that he would prefer to complete the mission in the North East to help the party.

Goa turns focus on Festival Tourism

As part of its strategy to develop Goa as a year-round tourist destination, Goa Tourism has decided to focus on Festival Tourism and is packaging and promoting the various festivals as major tourism events. Dilip Parulekar, Minister for Tourism, Woman & Child Development, Government of Goa along with Nikhil Desai, Director Tourism, Government of Goa and Managing Director, Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), addressed the media in Mumbai at Bungalow 9 restaurant to outline the grand plans for this year’s edition of the popular Goa Carnaval which will take place from March 1-4 and will be celebrated in seven cities with the main parade in Panaji on the first day.

“The Carnaval is the highlight of our annual calendar and we want to ensure that this will be an unforgettable experience for locals, as well as visitors to the state. The event is Goa’s tribute to its diverse population and heritage and it aims to spread a message of peace, unity and harmony. Our vision is to see that the Carnaval here becomes as popular as the legendary Brazilian Carnaval,” stated Parulekar. The Minister added that Goa Tourism is keen on promoting the state as a destination for celebrations.

“Goa is a place that induces a contagious celebratory spirit, right from weddings to festivals everything here is celebrated with pomp and fervour. This is why we are also promoting and packaging festivals and events like the Carnaval 2014 followed by Cashew & Coconut Festival and other festivals like Shigmo, Sao Jao, Bonderam and Tirpurari Purnima which have some quaint traditions associated with it and are a testimony to Goa’s rich history. It is also our effort to preserve the heritage and cultural lineage of our state,” stated Parulekar. He said that they expect more than 2.5 lakh tourists to participate in the Carnaval this year, which recorded nearly two lakh tourists last year.

To add that element of glamour and excitement to the proceedings, a Brazilian troupe will be especially flown in for an electrifying Samba performance for the Carnaval this year. Prominent musicians including the Raghu Dixit Project, Strings and some famous home-grown bands will perform at the festival too. It is expected that a fashion show and a fire display will also be included in the celebrations.

What makes the event different this year is that it will feature street performances by musicians at various vantage points across the state, a King Momo contest and increased prize money. The upcoming movie, Youngistan is the partner for the Carnaval and the stars of the movie Jackky Bhagnani and Neha Sharma were also present at the press meet and shared their experiences of Goa and association of the movie with the Carnaval. Anselm Pereira, owner of Bungalow9 announced that the restaurant will be hosting, Carnaval Feast, a grand food festival with music and dance from February 21 to March 2, 2014 to offer a sluice of the Carnavalexperience.

Coinciding with the Goa Carnaval, the Tourism Department is also organising the Food and Culture Festival that will commence on February 28, 2014. According to Desai, the Food and Culture Festival was revived last year after a gap of nine years. Apart from local Goan dishes cuisines of 15 other states of India will also be featured in the Festival. He informed that the parade during Shigmo Festival (March 16-31) will be held in 17 towns this year.

“The Cashew and Coconut Festival is one-of-its’-kind and will be held in mid-May this year. It will be a fun event with lot of activities like cashew stomping and contests like coconut breaking, coconut tree climbing, etc. and cuisine and showcase of handicrafts made from coconut. Our efforts are to showcase the heritage and culture of the state and attract larger number of repeat visitors to the state,” stated Desai.

Courtesy: travelbizmonitor

Under-construction building collapses in Goa; 40 feared trapped

Atleast 40 people were feared trapped in the debris of an under construction building, which collapsed in Goa’s Canacona town on Saturday, police said. Superintendent of Police Shekhar Prabhudesai said the incident took place in the afternoon around 3PM and they are still ascertaining the exact number of people who were caught in the crash.

According to eye witnesses, more than 40 people were working on the construction site when the structure came crashing down. Canacona is 80 kms Away from Panaji. Police and fire and emergency services have been rushed to the spot and rescue work has begun.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses claimed that rescue workers have retrieved six bodies from the debris. However, no official confirmation on this has been received so far.

Courtesy: Zee News

Aam Aadmi Party may target Goa casinos

It may have been ‘bijli’ and ‘paani’ which catapulted the AAP to power in Delhi. In Goa, India’s youngest political force may ‘gamble’ on casinos. Addressing the first formal press conference after signing up pop star Remo and several leading civil society personalities here, Aam Aadmi Party member Oscar Rebello said issues like proliferation of casinos, narcotics and real estate lobbies would be in the AAP crosshairs.

The AAP would also focus on generic agendas like a strong Lokayukta, public service guarantee and grassroots governance. “We will be against casinos. The way in which Goa is projected as a Las Vegas is something sad and distressing,” Rebello said. He added that the party would oppose the narcotics trade, which is continuing unabated in Goa irrespective of the colour of the political dispensation in power.

Goa has five operational offshore casinos and nearly a dozen onshore casinos, which attract hundreds of thousands of gamblers to the state annually. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which had promised to “throw the casinos into the sea”, reversed its stand after coming to power in 2012. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said the casinos would be relocated into the deep seas off Goa, only after four years. Rebello added that while the newly formed unit of AAP had not had the time to formulate an agenda for Goa, he said the BJP-led coalition had left people “dejected and disappointed”. AAP will contest Goa’s two Lok Sabha seats.

Courtesy: NDTV

Goa: A destination of many wonders

Stretches of silver sand and white surf beaches, the azure Arabian Sea, the reveling of late nights over feni, the taverns, the green covers and coconut trees… Goa is truly, a destination of many wonders.

Don’t we all love that tingling feeling as we dig our toes deep into the sand? Within some restless souls lives a quiet person who would love to spend hours looking at the horizon, watching the sun sink into the calm sea. There are also those who would gladly let loose, sprint along the coast line and become one with the pulse of the city. Goa is one place that promises both and perhaps even more.

The charm of Goa is that it remains distinct from all the other Indian states. Although it is the smallest state in the country, it has a magnetic appeal which attracts wanderers and curious souls to explore the state’s myriad wonders. One can reach Goa by train, flight or road. Arriving in Goa is like arriving in a different country altogether – the beautiful Portuguese churches, beaches and swaying palm trees seem more than welcoming. The Goa airport, although small, seems like a little fish market – the jostling crowd waiting for their luggage, the managers and workers and a crowd of over enthusiastic cab drivers calling out to the tourists. However, the moment one steps out in the open sun, the entire area is nothing less than a visual delight. In terms of railways, one can de board from either Madgaon or Vasco-da-gama, depending on which part of Goa you would like to visit – north or south.

South Goa is essentially the ‘touristy’ part of Goa. The entire city looks like a still from a period film. Not only does Goa have many spots, ruins and locations from the European colonisation time, it even displays a fair amount socio-political progressiveness. It becomes evident through casual conversations and exchange of pleasantries that the locals are a rather progressive lot. Although majority of the state follows Christianity, other religions coexist peacefully too. Some of the most popular churches in South Goa are Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, Church of St. Francis of Assissi, St. Cajetan Church, and Ruins of Church of St Augustine. All these churches are located in Old Goa, 10 kms east of Panaji. If you happen to be a photographer or just someone who likes to instill memories in your mind, visiting these marvelous architectures is a must. Another interesting must visit site is the Aguada Fort, 18 kms from Panaji. Not only is it a mysteriously attractive ruin dilapidated from the outside, it even houses the central jail.

Along the western coast of India are many beautiful beaches that are a permanent bookmark in the diaries of many travelers. Among the many popular beaches in South Goa is the Morjim beach. The swish of the waters and the Chapora River promise a bountiful catch of choice fish and coconuts as well as beautiful vistas for many travelers. Similarly, the Miramar beach has the most picturesque views and the dense canopy of palm trees provide enough shade and a quiet recluse to any person. The entire beach is lined with make shift shops and shacks where a number of curios, food and local brews enchant one and all.

For those who like to live it up, the buzzing spirit of the city can be witnessed in North Goa. Many cheap accommodations are available for those who like to travel light and take in more. Bikes, cars and jeeps can be hired by those who like to follow their own itinerary. Among the most happenings beaches in the city is Vagator. The rocky beach is crystal clear and many tourists without a shadow of misgivings jump into the clear blue waters for a long satisfying swim. The popular and crowded ‘family beach’, Baga, is lined with shacks selling all kinds of cuisines and a breathtaking view. Most markets, hotels and bedand-breakfast places are walking distance from here. The Calangute and Anjuna beach are known for their night flea markets and this fascinating and crowded place gives one the true ‘feel’ of the city. North Goa also has India’s most well known night clubs. Club Cabana, popularly known as the club in the sky, is one of the best clubs in India. A vast expanse of property, the club is known for its great music, food and ambience. Another popular and frequently visited place to party is Curlies at Anjuna beach. A place without any cover charge, the shack has a little something for everyone. A foosball table, a little bar, and beach beds lay outside the shack, Curlies is a great place to spend your evening dancing, relaxing or playing some table games. The Titos lane at Baga is almost like a one stop solution for the nocturnal beings. The entire lane is lined with pubs, bars and small clubs to keep the crowd of the city engaged.

Clubs, beaches and shacks aside, the one most popular feature of the state is its food. Seafood, coconut milk, rice and local spices are well known and liked. Prawn Hoonam, Harem Mas and marinated Goan sausages are the highlights of this region. While the meat, pork and beef dishes are great here, the prawn and fish curries or the lobster are lip smacking delicacies.

The beautiful state of Goa is not just a beach haven. The history of the place is as colouful as the land, and the food and ambience assure each tourist a memorable and satisfying long holiday.

Courtesy: TOI