Goa Greenfield Airport: Goa to float global tenders for its new airport soon

Goa would float global tenders for its greenfield airport at Mopa in North Goa by the end of the current financial year, Chief Minister of the state Manohar Parikkar said here today. “We would like to float global tenders for the Mopa airport by March,” Parikkar told reporters on the sidelines of panIIT conference here.

Parikkar, an IIT graduate, said that the existing airport at Dabolim was totally saturated. The new airport would be built on public-private partnership basis with land to be given by the government. He said that the cost of the airport would be around Rs 3000 crore, adding that the government had earmarked 2500 acre for it.

The airport was likely to become operational in four year’s time, he said. Air traffic to Goa was expected to double from three million to six million in three years, Parikkar said.

Courtesy: ET

Goa Mining-Mining stakeholders in Goa burn CEC report

The stakeholders of the troubled mining industry in Goa on Saturday held protests here against the Supreme Court-appointed CEC’s report, which has ruled against the resumption of suspended mining activities in Goa till the illegalities were fixed. The protesters this evening marched to the historic Church Square and burnt the copies of Central Empowered Committee (CEC) report that was submitted to the Supreme Court yesterday.

Christopher Fonseca, leader of the union, said that the CEC had not taken into account the suffering of the people who are dependent on mining while drafting the report. He termed the CEC report as ‘anti Goa economy’.

According to the union there are over two lakh people dependent on mining, who it said are currently on the brink of a financial crisis. The CEC in its report submitted yesterday had suggested that mining should not be allowed in Goa till the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report is prepared by the concerned agencies. Goa is the country’s largest iron ore exporting state.

Total 43 million metric tonnes of ore was shipped from the state’s two ports during last financial year. The mining industry was marred with the controversies after Justice M B Shah Commission pointed out glaring illegalities in this sector.

Courtesy: Zee News

After erosion, encroachments haunt Goa’s beaches

It is as if some evil eye has been cast on Goa’s golden goose – its beaches – which year after year harvest tourists by the hundreds of thousands. If natural threats like erosion weren’t serious enough, the latest threat for Goa’s golden beaches comes from greedy land-hoggers who, the Goa government believes, are steadily encroaching on the beaches, all of which are state-owned. Alarmed by this, the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) is now in the process of commissioning a survey which will identify the encroached beach land before a legal move is calibrated to wrest it back.

“It has come to our attention. We have come across several instances where the beach land is being encroached upon. Since the commercial value of the land along the coast is high, we want to exactly know what the position is,” GTDC managing director Nikhil Desai told IANS. Desai’s concern stems from the fact that most of the encroachments have occurred in Goa’s two prized coastal sub-districts – Bardez in north Goa which is home to some of the most popular beaches like Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Anjuna and Vagator and Miramar and Salcete in South Goa with beaches like Colva, Betalbatim and Benaulim.
Property prices in these sought-after areas have already hit the roof, especially along the coastline. Encroachment of prime government land, especially the sandy beaches, would not only dent the pockets of the tourism ministry, which is the custodian of the property, but also has potential to derail Goa’s tourism gravy train due to over-exploitation of the area. Tourism department officials claim that private hoteliers and real estate speculators were found changing property markers and encroaching on government-owned land, but the biggest violators were found to be private shack owners, who are a powerful political lobby.

It is as if some evil eye is cast on Goa’s golden goose – its beaches – which attract thousands of tourists.
“Every year, the dimensions of these shacks increase and we lose more land every time. This has to stop some time. It is worst in places like Calangute and Baga, where some of the shacks operate all year round,” a tourism official said. Over 2.6 million tourists visit Goa’s beaches annually and more often than not it is these shacks which provide handy refreshments and alcohol right by the surf’s edge. Encroachment apart, Goa’s beaches are already losing the battle to rapid erosion, where rising sea levels are eating away at the sand, shrinking the width of the beaches.
The worst hit is Goa’s tourism mecca – the Candolim-Baga beach stretch – where a majority of Goa’s tourists, both domestic and international frolic. Government data suggest that over 25 percent of Goa’s coastline is already under threat of erosion. The state government’s water resources department (WRD), which has been entrusted with the task of restoring the eroding beaches, claims that erosion was a global phenomenon and that it was doing the best to arrest the sand slide. “We might go in for new technology to reduce the effects of this erosion. The geo-tubes which we used last time have had limited success. We should have an answer to this problem soon,” Water Resources Minister Dayanand Mandrekar said.

Courtesy : IBN

Goa cops to strengthen police-public relation

In yet another effort to bridge the gap between police and public, the Goa Police have launched a week-long community policing program titled “Saad Samvad”.

To begin with, the department has targeted sensitive places in the north district and SP Vijay Singh will hold his first meeting with the Anjuna villagers, a prominent spot for the domestic and international tourists this evening. Sensitization on issues like human trafficking, drug peddling, prostitution, and other illegal activities are also being taken up.

Police spokesperson said that an appeal will be made to the public to assist police in curbing these menaces and be a partner in the prevention and detection of crime.

Five crucial objectives are being focused: To bridge the communication gap between police and public, to break anonymity of law breakers, to make law abiding citizens as stakeholders in community policing, to improve police image and to make police accountable and transparent.

Courtesy: indiablooms

Illegal mining: Goan firm operates on Pakistani’s power of attorney: CEC tells SC

The brazen illegal mining with “tacit” approval of the Goa government touched a new high when the Supreme Court’s environment panel said that a Pakistani had been for decades executing power of attorney from Karachi to a Goan partnership firm for mining of iron ore in serious breach of law.

The CEC ( Central Empowered Committee) in its report to SC on Friday said, “It is seen that the mining lease was granted in the name of an individual who had migrated to Pakistan and died there. He was never involved in operating the mining lease or seeking renewal of it.

The lease has been allowed to be operated illegally by a partnership firm comprising Timblo Pvt Ltd, Ms Radha S Timblo and others.

The mining lease has been renewed by the Goa government in favour of the partnership firm owned and controlled by Timblo family by disregarding and in blatant violation of Rule 37 of Mineral Concession Rules, 1960.”

The CEC pointed out that the renewal of mining lease was allowed “on the basis of an unregistered power of attorney, stated to have been executed by the lessee while staying in Pakistan and whose genuineness and validity was highly dubious and doubtful”.

“Even though all facts in the matter were available with the state government, it chose to ignore them and the lease granted in favour of an individual was illegally allowed to be converted into a partnership firm owned by Timblo family,” the CEC said.

Amicus curiae A D N Rao informed the court that the CEC found many more such cases of grant of mining lease in violation of Mineral Concession Rules.

On the Timblo family-owned partnership firm, the environment panel said the original lease was granted to one Badrudin Bavani and the first renewal of the lease was allowed in the name of a firm ‘Badrudin Hussain Bhai Mavani’, who neither has any financial stake nor any control in the said firm controlled by the Timblo family.

“The state of Goa was fully aware of the serious illegalities involved. However, instead of taking punitive action in accordance with the law, it disregarded the serious illegalities and chose to grant renewal of the mining lease in favour of the partnership firm owned and under control of Timblo family, which should not have been permitted,” it said.

“The ownership and control of the said lease by the Timblo family (through the partnership firm) was justified by them by producing before the state government another power of attorney dated November 5, 1997 stated to have been executed by Mavani in favour of Ms Radha S Timblo. In the said power of attorney, it is mentioned that Mavani is staying in Karachi, Pakistan. This document is not registered, not notarized or signed in presence of witnesses,” it said.

The special secretary (development) found that the signature of Mavani in the power of attorney executed in 1979 did not tally with the 1997 document. It is mandatory for general power of attorney (GPA) signed abroad and received in India to be routed through the district magistrate or verified by the Indian embassy/consulate, neither of which was done in this case, the CEC found.

In another deed of partnership dated March 27, 2002, Abdul Sultan Mavani (son of the original lease holder) was included as partner in place of his father though the death of the earlier lease holder was no where mentioned in the partnership deed.

By another reconstitution of partnership deed on April 7, 2005, Abdul Sultan Mavani was stated to have retired from the partnership, the CEC said.

Courtesy : ET