Goa Nuvem MLA Mickky likely to surrender this week

The absconding Nuvem MLA Francisco (Mickky) Pacheco who was sentenced to go to jail for assaulting an engineer of the state electricity department eight years ago, is likely to surrender this week, sources said.

Law caught up with the flamboyant politician from Salcete on March 30 when the Supreme Court dismissed his petition challenging the high court order which had upheld sentence of six month’s imprisonment.

Chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, before going on a private holiday with his family, had last week expressed confidence that Pacheco would surrender within two days. That didn’t happen and Pacheco continued to be on the run.


The sources told TOI that Pacheco is likely to surrender in a Goa court in a day or two.

Sources said that the police had sent 2-3 teams to the national capital as they had some information that he had been hiding in north India. This was after arrest warrant was issued.

The police have come under severe criticism for their poor attempts to nab the absconding former minister especially after the first team was sent to Delhi by train.
Pacheco resigned on April 3 from the cabinet saying he did not want to cause further embarrassment to the BJP-led government in the state. The chief minister said he had asked Pacheco who was minister for RDA, archaelogy & archives, to quit in view of the apex court ruling. His berth is still vacant in the Parsekar-led cabinet.


Goa tourism Department rebuts charges

Tourism Department reacted to the allegations and said they have been made based on wrong information. “The allegations are false, misleading and attempts to malign the new beach cleaning initiative of the department,” a statement released by Tourism Department says.

The department said that no payments have been made to the contractor for works not undertaken by them and that inspections of the beach belt are carried out by officials and committees constituted and payments are made based on the reports submitted by the officials and the committees.

“The Department of Tourism reiterates that no payments have been made where terms and conditions of the contract have not been fulfilled,” says the statement.

The proposal for erection of composting pits and segregation pits and portable cabins is awaiting the approval of the GCZMA which has given approval for one segregation pit and portable cabin in each of the beach stretch, the department clarified.

It said 720 dustbins have been deployed every 100 meters. However, no payments have been made for placing of the dustbins to the contractor. It also said that no payments have been made to the contractors for deployment of tractors. Regarding laborers, the department said that the contractors have 216 labourers and the department has effected deductions for not providing laborers on the beach stretches.

“The contractor is not paid for the things he has not complied with as such there is no question of reimbursement as has been demanded,” the statement says.

Courtesy: H

Massive US online degrees’ fraud exposed: Goa News

Perpetrator traced in Karachi; lured gullible people through 370 attractive websites

A massive fraud of awarding online American degrees in dozens of disciplines in the name of hundreds of universities and high schools was on Monday exposed, with its perpetrator traced in Karachi, running the virtual world fraud with over 2,000 staffers of a software firm.

Don’t be surprised to run into someone in India flaunting the degrees of any of the universities with elegant names as victims of the big academic fraud exposed by The New York Times are from across the globe, lured by 370 attractive websites that none could suspect to be a mirage.

Names of the universities from whom degrees were awarded are quite impressive like Barkley, Newford, Belford, Granttown, Rochville, Columbiana and Headway. None would have suspected as seen from the Internet, it is a vast education empire with smiling professors at sun-dappled American campuses, enthusiastic video testimonials, glowing endorsements on the CNN iReport website and even the State Department authentication certificates bearing the signatures of Secretary of State John Kerry.

NYT found out that very little in this virtual academic realm is real — except for the tens of millions of dollars in estimated revenue it gleans each year for many thousands of people around the world, all paid to a secretive Pakistani firm called Axact, whose founder Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh has already built a massive empire and recruiting prominent journalists in Pakistan for launching a television and newspaper group later this year.

Shaikh seized the opportunity that came his way from a booming interest in online education, aggressively positioning his portal websites to appear prominently in online searches, luring in potential international customers and impersonating American government officials to persuade the gullible customers to buy certificates and authenticated documents.

Revenues, estimated by former employers and fraud experts at several million dollars per month, were cycled through a network of offshore companies, while Axact’s role as the owner of this fake education empire remains obscured by proxy Internet services, combative legal tactics and a chronic lack of regulation in Pakistan.

Axact tailors its websites to appeal to customers in principal markets, including the United States and Persian Gulf countries. One Egyptian man paid $12000 last year for a doctorate in engineering technology from Nixon University and a certificate signed by John Kerry.

Last May, Mohan (39), an Indian employed as a junior accountant at a construction firm in Abu Dhabi, paid $3,300 for what he believed was going to be an 18-month online master’s programme in business administration at Grant Town University. All that he got was a cheap tablet computer in the mail, but no education applications or course work but only a series of insistent demands for more money.

When a caller identifying himself as an American embassy official railed at Mohan for his lack of an English language qualification, he agreed to pay $7,500 to the Global Institute of English Language Training Certification that turned out to be another Axact-run website. In the second call, he was pressed to buy a State Department authentication certificate signed by Kerry and he was charged $7500 more to his credit card.

In September came a call from a main claiming to be from the United Arab Emirates government, threatening deportation unless he legalises his degree locally and so he agreed to pay $18,000 in installments. By October, he was $30,000 in debt and sinking into depression.

Mohan’s sheer luck was that he ran into Yasir Jamshaid, an ex-employee of Axact who quit the company and moved to UAE in October, taking with him internal records of 22 individual customer payments totalling over $600,000. Jamshaid has contacted most of these customers, offering his services to get back their money. After weeks of fraught negotiations, Axact refunded Mohan $31,300.

Axact’s role in the diploma mill industry was nearly exposed in 2009 when an American woman in Michigan challenged the useless diploma awarded to her. The case quickly expanded into a class-action lawsuit with an estimated 30,000 American claimants. But instead of Axact, one Salem Kureshi, a Pakistani, stepped forward claiming to run the websites from his apartments. His legal fees of over $400,000 were paid to his American lawyers through cash transfers from currency exchange stores in Dubai. The lawsuit ended in 2012 when a federal judge ordered Kureshi and Belford to pay $22.7 million in damages. None of the damages have been paid.

Kureshi has vanished into thin air while Belford is still open for business, using a slightly different website address to continue to cheat the gullible.



Goa Convent schools must allow Hindu customs: Hindu Janajgruti Samiti

Alleging that there is religious discrimination against Hindu students studying in convent schools, the Hindu Janajgruti Samiti (HJS) has called the government to issue notices to all convent schools in the state to stop the discrimination on the grounds of religion and that no Hindu student should be punished for following their customary Hindu rights.

“Hindu students studying in convent schools are barred from following their customs like putting mehndi, wearing flowers, wearing dupatta, bindi or tilki. It needs to be stopped,” said Manoj Solanki, state convener of HJS.

“We have taken a resolution opposing the discrimination of students at convent schools and will submit a memorandum to chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar urging him to stop this discrimination,” Solanki said.

HJS convener also said that if minority schools are given any privileges and majority of the students in that schools are from a majority community then such given privileges should be withdrawn.

“Our constitution is secular. Any privileges on the basis of religion it not justifiable. It is against the spirit of secularism,” Solanki said.

Solanki said that a vigilance team comprising parents, NGOs and government officials must be formed to check such religious atrocities and the teams should visit convent schools and directly talk to students and understand their difficulties about the following of religious practices.


Goa, Porvorim to have its own sewerage system

The project’s cost is estimated at Rs 283 crore; NABARD has already released the first instalment of Rs 93 crore

Porvorim has developed at a fast pace in recent years. It now houses many residential and commercial complexes, hospitals, hotels, automobile showrooms, banks, government departments, and the Assembly complex. A High Court is also expected to come up there. In fact, Porvorim may well be the defacto capital of Goa.
Now, the town will even have its own sewerage system. The government has sanctioned a sewerage project for Porvorim thanks to the efforts of local MLA Rohan Khaunte.
The Sewerage and Infrastructure Development Corporation of Goa (SIDC) had prepared the project report two years ago, but the government could not give it a green light due to a financial crunch. Now, that the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has released the funds, the SIDC is all set to implement the project this month.
Khaunte stated that the project was of utmost importance as Porvorim was growing at a rapid pace. The project’s cost is estimated at Rs 283 crore; NABARD has already released the first instalment of Rs 93 crore.
At present, Porvorim does not have any wastewater collection, conveyance or treatment facility. Waste is disposed into soak pits, which results in contamination of the ground water as the water table is high. Moreover, the terrain naturally slopes towards the riverside, contributing to the contamination of the River Mandovi.
Kaunte pointed out that even the laterite soil prevalent there did not permit percolation of wastewater. The sewerage project would protect Porvorim’s residents from health hazards and prevent contamination of ground and other water bodies.
Managing Director of SIDC Arvind Patil stated that the project is for a population of 1.6 lakh people in seven panchayats: Pillerne, Reis Magos, Socorro, Pomburpa, Penha de Franca, Nerul and Salvador do Mundo, which will be implemented in three phases.
In the first phase, work at Porvorim plateau will be taken up and trenchless technology will be used for laying sewerage pipelines of 200 mm to 800 diameters. Each house and building will be connected to the sewerage system.
Kadamba Transport Corporation Depot, Ecoxim and Nerul will each get a sewerage treatment plant. KTC uses around three MLD of potable water each day for washing its buses. This water will be saved once its gets filtered water from the new treatment plant.
The project was tendered and the contract has been awarded to three companies: Creative Infrastructure Development from New Delhi, Rock Deal from Jaipur, and Krita from Bangalore. If NABARD releases more funds, the second and third phase can be started simultaneously. According to Patil, the project will be completed within two years.