Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goa Casinos in dilemma over sea gamble

 casinos in Goa The decision of the government to shunt out the casinos in the deep sea and out of city limits has put the owners of the casinos in a dilemma while some organizations have called for a complete ban on casinos in Goa.

There are fears within the Casino lobby that if the ships go about five miles out into the sea, the chances of the industry dying out was very much on the cards. There is another school of thought that the prospect of travelling into the deep sea through small boats might be frightening for the customers, especially at night.

Meanwhile an NGO called " Aam Aadmi and Aurat against gambling(AAAG)" seems to have sprung up with Ms Sabina Martins its convenor warning the government against adding to the number of casinos in Goa and described the decision to shift the casinos off the coastline as a "smokescreen" only to help the proliferation of more casinos and make more money.

Terming the whole exercise of moving casinos in the sea as an eyewash, the AAAG asserted that gambling in city licasino gamblingmits would continue despite the move and casinos would venture into the city under the pretext of refuelling and repairs. Claiming that gambling was ruining people in Goa by making them gambling addicts who would then be a threat to society, Ms Martins said that casinos will have to go out of goa whether onshore or offshore.

The AAAG pointed out to the vicious circle where the economy of Goa was working towards destroying families for which money is subsequently expected to be allocated under the garb of social welfare.The casino industry in Goa is estimated to be employing around 2200 people from Goa while remitting around 75 crore to the state exchequer.

The AAAG therefore demanded a complete rescinding of the casino amendment and indicated that it would intensify its efforts to expose all irregularities regarding casinos.

Colva Beach - Queen of South Goa

The Colva Beach has been the prime spot for tourists visiting south Goa and is considered to be one of the finest beaches colva beach sunsetamong the Goan beaches. Located at a distance of hardly six kilometers from the Goan commercial capital Margao, Colva beach has been the idyllic unwinding place for the South Goan population as also the avid tourist and has a wide opening towards the beach. The beachfront is a collection of restaurants, souvenir stalls and plenty of snack bars decorating the central roundabout.

Due to its convenient location and idyllic setting , Colva beach is a favourite haunt for visitors. Every day , busloads of visitors from out of Goa frolic on the beach after a paddle on the crowded foreshore. Swimming is relatively safe, while the sand, , is spotless and scattered with beautiful shells all around. Colva, gets crowded in the evenings and on weekends, it is a completely bustling place, with hundreds of visitors just parking themselves in the welcome sands of the beach.

How to get to Colva
By Air: The only airport in Goa at Dabolim is around 36 kms away from Colva and there are plenty of taxis servicing this route
By Rail: The nearest railway station is at margao known as “ Madgaon railway station” and is hardly 7 kilometres away from Colva.
By Road: The bus service to Colva is very frequent with buses plying from Colva to and fro for the whole day. Also there is a sharing taxi service from Margao which is best to be avoided as it normally exceeds the passenger limits. From Margao, one can travel to the north in Panjim which is around 35 kms away

How to spend time in Colva

Although Colva had never been regarded as a great venue for rave parties or the like, Colva can boast of a more livelier nightlife than anywhere else in south Goa, thanks to its ever-growing population of young package tourists.

For the most happening nightspots you need to move down in the dunes, south of the beachfront area where “ splash” welcomes you with a big MTV satellite screen and music to go with it, and a late bar and disco that adds extra life up around 10.00 pm.

A sandy plod just south of here, Ziggy's is armed with supposedly Goa's only air conditioned dance floor, a vibrantly thumping Indian Ragga and Techno sound system, and a social grooving terrace abounding with easy chairs. If you prefer to get lost somewhere affordable and less revealing you may want to , try Johnny Cool's midway between the beach and the crossroads of Colva

Eating Out in Colva

When the season is in full swing, Colva’s beach front hosts a lot of temporary structures known as Shacks which are restaurants serving Goan cuisine and temptuous seafood. These shacks are well equipped with good music and lighting. The rates for food in these places may be a little costlier, but the portions are correspondingly more, and standards generally high since they cater normally to the foreign tourist.

So bury your legs in the sand while feasting on delicious Goan cuisine to be washed down by some heady Goan cock-tails while enjoying the crashing waves of the vast sea in front of you   

Places To Stay in Colva

In keeping upto the rapid development of Colva as a package tour resort, Colva's increasing appetite for accommodation is well satiated in a wide range from swish campuses of hotels and swimming pools to a fair selection of ” good value for money” guesthouses, in between.

Good living Styles” is a good place to book cheap accommodation in spacious apartments in Colva with all the amenities such as refrigerator , air conditioner, cooking gas, plush bathrooms etc. Added to this is the hygiene and the sparkling nature of their apartments which can hold good sway over any tourist. Their apartments are also located at less than a five minute walk from the beach and most of all are priced at an unbelievable steal. To book cheap accommodation in Colva in spacious apartments “click here"

Library in Colva

There is also a book front on the beach front at Colva for you and Damodar Book store, is stocked with a nice selection of reasonably priced second hand paperbacks in English. They also do exchange and subscription of books, and have the best range of postcards in the Colva area.

Places to visit in Colva

The Nossa Senhora de Merces (Our Lady of Mercy) Church is the church of Colva and is famous for its annual religious event known as the -Fama of Menino Jesus (Child Jesus)- which is celebrated since the 17th century. The predominantly Catholic community of Colva celebrates this feast on the third Monday of October every year. In the Goan This feast is very popular and is considered as one of the major draws for people from all over Goa and a big fair is held on the occasion. So visiting Colva would be complete with a visit to this historic Church

Biometric scanner removal haunting Goa Govt. employees functioning?

margao municipal council The Biometric scanner introduced by the Margao Municipality a couple of months back met with stiff resistance from the employees of the council resulting in a stand-off between the office of the chief officer and the chairperson on one side versus the civic employees' union on the other.

The issue was solved with a meek surrender by the council in an apparent intervention  by the office of the Chief Minister , to appease the erring employees and reconciling to their whims and fancies and thereby agreeing to their demands to continue the attendance on the muster roll which has always been known to be the prime source of all mischief with regard to attendance.

It was on Friday, the 26th February 2009, that the stand of the Chief officer and the chairperson on the use of the biometric scanner was completely vindicated during a surprise inspection of the attendance register. A group of employees were caught when the attendance register revealed that they had signed the muster roll for the post-lunch session during lunch break.

The incident came to light in the afternoon when the Chairperson, Savio Coutinho had a random check of the muster rolls, which led to the revelation that five employees had signed the rolls around 1.15 pm. This is being done despite the attendance register being kept in the Chief Officer's cabin which has failed to serve the desired purpose. This clearly showed that the muster roll was being manipulated to favour absent employees by vested interests within the council.

The issue being a serious lapse, the chairperson has now asked the Chief Officer to initiate action against the erring employees and has also reportedly instructed the official supervising the attendance register to make the relevant remarks on the muster roll so that irregularities are brought to the notice of the chief Officer.

It has been painfully observed by citizens of Margao that due to the inefficiency of the civic staff, they are compelled to make innumerable rounds to the Municipality for silly reasons and the large scale absenteeism of the staff to pursue their own interest during working hours has only added to the miseries of the common man in Goa.

The reason for the novel idea of introducing the biometric scanner and the reservations by the civic employees union are both now very clear. Law has been forcefully subverted by meaningless opposition against the bids to  enforce norms of discipline which is a prerogative of the employer. This is the saddest thing happening in full public view of Goans who are at the mercy of this staff on a daily basis. How did the government of Goa succumb to such arm twisting, is a mystery?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Goa Beaches - Anjuna Beach

The Anjuna beach has been the capital of fun in the sea of Goan beachtheanjuna beaches. Some around the world like to call it the freak capital of Goa  and there i s a reason to that kind of a connotation. It has claimed attention for its trance parties and the hippies who tried to blend the spiritual traditions the art, thoughts , ideas and visions of the East with the music of the West gave it a certain identity. Goa’s Anjuna beach is a just right refuge for all tourists and you will come across some of them who have been staying on this beach for extended periods owing to the magnetism of Anjuna.

About Anjuna

A virgin strip of land, the Anjuna beach was 'discovered' sometime in 1950's and 60's by a group of travellers and then they began to meet here in the dry season to party. It was therefore referred to as the hippie destination and was most loved by hippies and made famous by them in the sixties. Anjuna draws a horde of tourists year after year owing to its natural beauty with young and old folks making this place their unmistakable haunt in their itinerary of the Goan holiday.

The big beach that it is, Anjuna is broadly divided into three sections. The north, south and the middle beach of Anjuna. The middle portion hosts the flea market while the north is the abode of most of the hotels and resorts, the bars and the restaurants while the south is known as the Little Anjuna. Anjuna is very electric and the people who visit this place get infectious with the mood of Anjuna

Anjuna is dotted by red laterite cliffs of an olden Portuguese era and is blessed with clean white sand. An abode of thickly populated coconut palms amidst the windy breeze and the aroma of the beach filling you up, as one wanders in the soft white sand , Anjuna simply instills a glorious sense of a holiday inside the unsuspecting visitor to this great place.

Anjuna is often called the birth place and home of trance music and electronic dance music  by many famous DJ's, including "Above & beyond", who even named their record label AnjunaBeats.

The village of Anjuna is considered to be one of the twelve Brahmin communidades of Bardez taluka in the north and is situated eight kilometers on the west of Mapusa and the Church of Anjuna is known as St. Michaels' Church, which was built in the year 1595, is dedicated to saint Miguel and the locals celebrate the feast of its patron on September 29 every year. Anjuna also has three large chapels in the parish.

Anjuna’s Famous Flea Market

For those of you whose holiday is incomplete without shopping, Anjuna Beach has the perfect offer - the weekly Flea Market. Every Wednesday it’s time for shopping and bargaining at Anjuna Beach.The Anjuna flea market is asanjuna flea market famous as the Anjuna Beach to travellers from all over the world where one can find a host of things ranging from foreign electronic goods to Indian souvenirs to trance music. Some flock here to shop for beach wears, trinkets and other assorted stuffs. You will also be able to find a mixture of good Gujarati, Kashmiri and Tibetan handicrafts. The Wednesday Flea Market is a must visit for every tourist.

What to do in Anjuna
Take a plunge into swimming which is the most relaxing water activity that can be pursued at the Anjuna Beach. Sun bathing is also the most preferred way of relaxing at Anjuna by sun starved European and Russian tourists and some also try their hand at bungee jumping
Anjuna also has a couple of landmarks which some may like to check out.

There is the monumental Mascarenhas Mansion which many consider as a must visit owing to its finery in wood work and resplendent floral etchings made on glass. The Albuquerque mansion is another place to stop and marvel. The Albuquerque mansion as old as 1920, is endowed with a beautiful border made up of the octagonal towers. Even the Mangalore tile-roof of the mansion is a delight to view.

Some tourists love to shake a leg at house parties which are held on the full-moon nights and are a major draw for the tourists.The fun and frolic around the fire are fantabulous. Anjuna is crazy for hip-hop and is abounding in facilities such as amphitheatres, dance clubs, restaurants and bars. All you need to do is just relax and rejuvenate yourself.

Where to stay
Anjuna has plenty of accommodation to choose from. Besides the expensive hotels Anjuna also has places which the common tourist can afford to stay in with some houses which can be hired at cheap rates. Contact “ Goa Living Styles” for best options for a cheap stay in Goa.

How to get there
Anjuna village that houses the beautiful beach is well connected with the rest of the places.

While the Dabolim airport located at a distance of 47 kms, the Karmali railway station is around 32 kms away to take care of the tourists who travel by train. For road transport there are plenty of bus services besides motorcycles and taxis that may be easily hired from Panjim, Mapusa or Karmali.

Even though swimming is considered safe one must take extra precautions as the undercurrents can deceive you and before long you might be in trouble. Always ensure that the lifeguards are spotted around your area.

For any emergencies, call the emergency number 108

Goa tourism to get a 50 cr headstart

The tourism ministry in Goa is planning an aggressive marketing blitz in an international marketing campaign with an estimated budgeted Goa sunsetspend of Rs 50 crore to woo the international tourists to come flocking to the world destination of sun, sea and sand.

The share of the starred hotels in this campaign has also been increased as compared to previous years and hotels in Goa will spend anything between 30 lakh to 65 lakh on advertising in an all cash system.

The ministry of tourism in Goa has increased its budget for this year to Rs 30 crore as against the budgeted spending of Rs 18 crore on tourism promotion campaign last year.

The state is estimated to be earning nearly 1500 crore in terms of revenues through tourism in Goa while the industry is urging the government to increase its budget allocation towards development of the basic infrastructure towards tourism in Goa..

Facilities are constantly needing upgradation at various points of tourism such as safety on beaches, cleanliness and hygiene, repairs and maintenance of roads and paths, water showers at beaches, changing rooms etc and with the world recession hitting Goa, these areas need to be leaving no room for complaint.

The Mumbai terror attacks coupled with global recession affected the tourism arrivals in Goa in the peak season. However Carnival was a big draw and most of the hotels in Goa had good occupancy during the carnival celebrations in Goa

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Goa garbage management to get a boost

Goa solid Waste management Corporation is a body which is soon going to be set up by the government of Goa to take care of the solid waste nuisance plaguing the state for a long time.

The Chief Minister Mr Digambar Kamat announced that the corporation would exclusively deal with the management of all kinds of solid waste thereby resolving the vexed issue of solid waste garbage.

Asserting that a house committee visited the solid waste management corporation of Karnataka he informed that the committee had apprised itself of the functioning of the corporation.

The CM while pointing out to the solid waste disposal plant already functioning at Fr Agnel Polytechnic Verna , informed that the said plant treats around half a tonne of biodegradable waste on a daily basis. The corporation would endeavour to help village panchayats to set up their own garbage disposal facilities in an organised manner thereby ensuring that they follow exact procedures in handling waste in the proper manner.

The corporation plans to bring about a proper system in entire Goa for the disposal of garbage with special focus on the coastal regions and the rural villages of Goa and aims to carry out scientific, engineering and sustainable schemes for taking such measures to safely utilise or dispose the solid waste.

The corporation is therefore expected to act like a facilitator to assist the smooth and orderly setting up, growth and development of solid waste management services and facilities, with a view of ensuring a clean and sustainable waste free environment in Goa.

The corporation is expected to generate funds on its won strength through revenue generation methods while the land for the functioning of the corporation will be acquired under the Land acquisition act.

Goa bus fares look up as fuel prices look down

A gazetted notification issued by the department of transport raised the prices of bus fares by one rupee last week despite the fuel prices  unwinding twice in the last few months.

The notification states that the fares will be five rupees for the first five kilometres and 45 paise for every subsequent or part kilometre . The existing fare was Rs four for the first three kilometres while being the same for the subsequent part.

Though fuel price rise was the main cause to demand this hike, which was proposed during the rise in fuel prices a few months back, the current enforcement in the rates after the prices cooling down comes as a surprise.

Private bus operators argued the increase against the rising prices of spare parts and higher maintenance costs in recent times.

It is reported that in exchange for the fare increase, the bus operators have shown willingness to co-operate in printing and issuing tickets to passengers and adhere to the norms laid down by the department of transport.

Citizens in Goa have always had to bear the brunt of overcrowded buses with rules flouted including the excessive standing passengers and the buses delay in leaving the buses from the bus stands unless the bus is full of passengers.

The conductors in the buses also do not wear proper uniforms besides being rude to passengers who question their high handedness . The department of transport therefore need to show their mettle in dealing with all those bus operators and their employees who fail to adhere to the specified norms of the department.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Its fasting ,abstinence and time for prayer in Goa

Ash Wednesday saw thousands of Goans flocking to churches early in the morning, beginning the season of Lent. Most Goans will turn vegetarian for the next 40 days while some will abstain from a host of eating and other such pleasures during the entire period.

It is the season of Lent all over the world, which urges Christians around the globe to pray, fast and abstain, while preparing themselves for the biggest feast of the Christian faith which is Easter.For Christians, Easter is the day, Jesus rose from his death signifying victory over death- a day which is preceded by 40 days of penance.

Easter holds a special place for most Christians, and is considered much important and sacred than Christmas. The rising of Jesus from death after three days, brings about salvation into the lives of those who believe.

The period of Lent is drawn from other instances in the Bible including the time spent by Moses on Mount Sinai as also the 40 days and nights of floods in the times of Noah's Ark. However the penance of a physically weak Jesus in the desert, fending off Satan's temptations is the one attributed to the season of penance.

Christians abstain from various pleasures during this season and regard it as  time for self-purification. There are those who regularly fast on Fridays and Wednesdays in the entire period and religiously attend the "stations of the Cross" on those days. Meat is mostly abhorred by Christians during the entire period.

The sacrifices are most often personal in nature and may not be dictated by the Church. Christians find the sacrifices as a means to achieve God's grace through their personal actions which are only noticed by the most High..

Curtains come down on carnival in Goa

The festivities related to carnival came to a close on Tuesday 24th February 2009 with the last float parades and all other programmes in Goa coming to a close .

With the floats in Panjim , Margao and Vasco already hosted on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, it was the turn of Mapusa in the north and Curtorim in South Goa to have the last float parades in the state.

The Mapusa float parade was similar to the parades witnessed in Margao and Panjim besides some additional floats by the Aldona Royals, the St Jerome Boys of Mapusa, Lover boys, Peddem boys Anjuna, Bekar boys with a float on terorism, Nomoxint boys of Caranzalem with Goynchi Girestkai, Amigos club of St. Inez, Sangolda Boys, Discovery boys of Calangute etc.

The Curtorim village had the "festival of curtorcars 2009" at Curtorim which had the hosting of the float parade, the fancy dress competition which was a huge success besides a variety of cultural programmes. A super display of fireworks and performances by Goan tiatrists Wilmix and Sharon wound up the festivities.

25th February onwards, marks the holy lenten season in Goa just as the rest of the world, with the observation of Ash Wednesday.

Goa politicians tussle over animal-fights!

This is one unique battle which must be making animal rights activists bull fight in Goasit up and scratch their heads in disbelief. Two Goan legislators are currently tussling on who should actually be credited for making efforts to make animals fight. I repeat, making animals fight, not fighting for animals' rights.

The tussle is currently between the former Chief Minister of Goa and current Member of Parliament Mr Francisco Sardinha and the " erstwhile save Goa party merged-into-congress MLA " Mr Aleixo Reginald Lourenco. Both the rivals from the Curtorim constituency are currently engaged in a war of words over who is more interested in the legalisation of the "DHIRIO", the so-called traditional bullfight which a section of Goans apparently love.

It seems the promise to legalise the 'dhirio" was made by some legislators to their constituents at the time of elections and with the Lok sabha elections looking up, the promises are knocking hard for answers.

On the 6th of February  the Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco introduced a  Bill in the concluding  session of the state assembly of Goa seeking an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 . The Bill sought to nullify the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act under which the organization of bullfights or "Dhirio" is illegal.

The bill also seeks to formulate guidelines  to be framed by the government for the purpose of regulating the conduct of the "sport" in the state while mentioning that dhirio is a traditional sport in Goa which needs to be protected.

Countering the move, the Congress MP said that the bill in the Goa assembly has no meaning untill the law is amended at the centre and apparently termed it an eyewash.

On 12th February, Sardinha moved a private member's Bill in the Lok Sabha to revoke the ban on bullfights, asserting that these festivities form part of a tradition of Goa going back centuries thereby seeking a series of amendments in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 to ensure these bull fights are regulated and the animals are protected from suffering any injuries.

The Bill is therefore aimed at the squashing of the ban on Dhirio, a kind of a traditional Goan bullfight or a game for trial of strength which is a part of the traditional festivity in Goan villages during the monsoon( and now anytime) which has been stopped for more than a decade by the animal lovers in the state by invoking the Act on the ground that the animals were subjected to cruelty in this kind of a game.

Citing the case of Tamil Nadu and Goa to be identical,bull fight In the statement of objects and reasons for moving the amendment bill, Sardinha reasoned that the bullfights are part of festivities in certain parts of the country,such as Tamil Nadu and Goa but argued the inability of having the bullfights due to the restrictions on the same.

Incidentally, organizers of "Dhirios" mint anywhere from Rs two lakh to Rs 8 lakh a fight, as bull owners and spectators bet heavily on their favourite competitor and the whole game is allegedly driven by betting.

The bill in the Lok sabha however has no meaning now as it was presented in the last session of the 14th Lok Sabha and all pending Bills collapse on the constitution of the new House which will be constituted after the election results in May 2009.

Portuguese Nationality for Goans : documents needed if born after 19.12.1961

The following documentation is required for Goans to apply for a Portuguese Passport 

All applications to claim the Portuguese Nationality can be submitted at the nearest Portuguese Consulate of your area.

The documents needed to apply for the Portuguese passport :
(A) For those born after 19th December 1961 - Can apply only after their parents birth and marriage are registered in " Conservatoria dos registos Centrais de Lisboa"(Conservatória records of Central Lisbon)- The documents required are as under

1. Document of Identification of the applicant ( Indian passport with personal elements in conformity with those stated in the birth certificate)

2. Police Clearance certificate, with a photograph of the applicant pasted, and attested by the issuing authority, stating that no cases, criminal / judicial, are pending against the applicant, and its validity not earlier than six months;

3. Birth certificate of the applicant – Note:- Birth certificates upto 1970 must be in “Teor”

4. "Assento de nascimento" ( certificate of Birth) and "Assento de Casamento"(certificate of marriage)  of the parent(s) registered in the Conservatoria dos registos Centrais de Lisboa"(Conservatória records of Central Lisbon)- within the validity period

5. original BI of the parent registered in the Conservatoria dos registos Centrais de Lisboa"(Conservatória records of Central Lisbon)-

6. Birth certificate of the parent not registered in the Conservatoria dos registos Centrais de Lisboa"(Conservatória records of Central Lisbon)-

7. Death certificate(s) of the deceased parent(s)

All original documents issued in English or in local Indian language must be accompanied by a translation of the same, in the Portuguese language except the notarized Xerox copy of the passport, issued in English or in local Indian language.

- All documents and respective translations, except the notarized Xerox copy of the passport must be attested by

-Those obtained in Goa :
(a) Notary
(b) Collector
(c) Under-Secretary (HOME)

-Those obtained in Daman and Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli
a) Notary
(b) Mamlatdar
(c) Joint Secretary (HOME/ Collector);

-Those obtaining from Maharashtra
a) Notary
(b) Mantralaya ( Home department)
(c) Under-Secretary (HOME)

Consular fees :

Attestation of each document : Rs 719.( as of 25/2/2009)

Nationality processing fee : Rs 14,083

(B) For those born in the Antigo Estado da India ( Former state of India) before 19th December 1961 ( Day of liberation of Goa):Please CLICK HERE for the requirements of the documentation.

Goa government to relieve Mandovi of Casinos

The government of Goa has decided to shunt out the offshore casinos from the river Mandovi and the city's limits and instead relocate them at a minimum distance of atleast one nautical mile from the seashore,towards the Arabian sea within a period of 15 days.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting yesterday after which the Chief Minister Mr Digambar Kamat briefed media persons about the decision and indicated that all the existing casinos operating from the river Mandovi will have to move out into the Arabian sea and will be allowed to come in the city only to refuel and replenish their stocks on a swift basis.

The casinos operating in the rivers of the Mandovi will therefore be issued notices to ensure compliance with the order to move out into the Arabian sea and be in the waters anywhere between 1 nautical mile to around 5 nautical miles from the seashore, which forms the state's territorial water limits. This would definitely relieve the Mandovi of excess traffic which was posing dangers to the navigation of various vessels.

The Chief Minister made it clear that the government of Goa, was earning a sizeable income through the casinos in Goa and said that the revenues help social causes in Goa.

The decision to shift the casinos may have been triggered by the threat made by the opposition leader in the assembly Mr Manohar Parrikar who has alleged irregularities over the permissions granted to various casinos besides pointing out the the lack of checks on seaworthiness of some of the casinos currently operating in the river Mandovi besides some which he alleged to be non-equipped with appropriate licences.

The BJP had served a deadline of March 15 to the government to shift all the casinos out of river Mandovi or face an agitation amidst allegations of scams and kickbacks involving bureaucrats and top officials within the government.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Portuguese Nationality for Goans: Documentation for Goans born before 19.12.1961

The following documentation is required for Goans to apply for a Portuguese Passport and claim the Portuguese nationality

Place of application:
All applications to claim the Portuguese Nationality should be submitted to the nearest Portuguese Consulate of your area.

The documents needed to apply for the Portuguese passport are:
(A) For those born in the Antigo Estado da India ( Former state of India) before 19th December 1961 ( Day of liberation of Goa):

1. Document of Identification of the applicant ( Indian passport with personal elements in conformity with those stated in the birth certificate)

2. Police Clearance certificate, with a photograph of the applicant pasted, and attested by the issuing authority, stating that no cases, criminal / judicial, are pending against the applicant, and its validity not earlier than six months;

3. Birth certificate of the applicant – Note:- Birth certificates upto 1970 must be in “Teor”

4. Residential certificate with a photograph of the applicant, pasted and attested by the issuing authority, stating the complete residential address of the same ( obtained from the mamlatdar / panchayat)

5. Additional proof of residence of the applicant, specifically for the period from 01.01.1974 to 31.12.1975 ( school / college / Employment / Church certificate)

6. The applicant must submit an old document issued by the Portuguese administration in the erstwhile Estado Portugues da India and only documents with the following characteristics will be considered relevant as proof of date and place of birth.


The document has to be an original issued by the civil registrar of Civil identification Authorities or passport or temporary document of travel. Original documents should not be understood as those obtained by illegal or other means ( i.e pages/certificates removed from the book of records)


1. Issued on an official stamp paper or forms that contains the official emblem of Portugal

2. Should have the signature of the issuing officer and authenticated with a white seal.

3. Identification of the issuing authority

4. Identification of the number and year of registration, if it’s a certificate or number, series and year of document.


The old document has to compulsorily have the following identification matter

Full name:
Date Of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Parents name:

-All original documents except the notarized Xerox copy of he passport, issued in English or in local Indian language, must be accompanied by a translation of the same, in the Portuguese language

- All documents and respective translations, except the notarized Xerox copy of the passport must be attested by

-Those obtained in Goa :
(a) Notary
(b) Collector
(c) Under-Secretary (HOME)

-Those obtained in Daman and Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli
a) Notary
(b) Mamlatdar
(c) Joint Secretary (HOME/ Collector);

-Those obtaining from Maharashtra
a) Notary
(b) Mantralaya ( Home department)
(c) Under-Secretary (HOME)

Consular fees :

Attestation of each document : Rs 719.

(B) For those born after 19th December 1961 - Can apply only after their parents birth and marriage are registered in " Conservatoria dos registos Centrais de Lisboa"(Conservatória records of Central Lisbon)- Please CLICK HERE for the requirements of the documentation.

EMRI in Goa

108 has been seen as an agent of help in Goa for quite some time now.It wasEMRI ambulance van in Goa on September 5 2008 that the 108 Emergency Management and Research Institute launched (EMRI) in partnership with the Government of Goa, as a free emergency response service in the state.

EMRI is committed to improving the emergency response service in Goa  and presently the 108 vehicles in Goa have responded to over 8,000 emergencies and thereby saved over 150 lives ever since it was launched in September 2008. Goa was in fact the first state to have launched the service in the entire country  with 18 ambulances covering a population of 13.44 lakh.

The endeavour was envisioned as an example of  a corporate social responsibility of the state towards its citizens .The Govt of Goa has an understanding with EMRI which makes EMRI responsible to develop and operationalise the comprehensive Emergency Response Service unit. This unit is expected to provide pre-hospital care and transport to definitive care, to patients with illness and injuries which constitute a medical emergency.

EMRI is also aimed at developing an integrated emergency management model to network the different arteries of emergency response – the major institutions and infrastructure setups like hospitals, police stations and fire brigades are working in co-ordination with EMRI in Goa.

EMRI, which is accessible through its toll free number 108, handles all kinds of emergencies in this coastal state of Goa, including delivery related, accident, drowning or any other instances of such mishaps.

The cost component of EMRI is mainly borne by the government of Goa while providing the capital expenditure for development of land allotted by the government for construction of the state-of-the-art building. The cost of purchasing the ambulances is also paid for by the government of Goa.  The Government also funds 95 per cent of the operational expenditure  such as salaries of staff,  ambulance operational cost, medical consumables requirements , training etc.

While an advanced Life Saving (ALS) fully equipped ambulance costs Rs 17 lakh, the cost of a Basic Life Saving ( BLS) equipped ambulance is Rs 13 lakh. This cost includes the bare vehicle, cost of fabrication and medical equipment. The State of Goa also funds the infrastructure required to house the Emergency Response Center and the necessary technology hardware costing around Rs 10 crore.

EMRI contributes with its expertise of leadership, technology, innovation, research and training free of cost and also contributes 5 per cent of operational expenses while also giving around Rs 8 crore to meet any balance operational expenses and the costs of the leadership, research and training. However, the cost of technology support provided by Satyam is additional and runs into several crores which is provided free of cost to every State.

The monitoring, evaluation and auditing is undertaken by an advisory council under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary of Goa which is expected to meet every quarter to audit expenses, and its recommendations are mandatory. Its members are the Health  Finance and the Home secretaries. The DGP and the Health commissioner are the conveners.

The Goan Carnival of yesteryears! Carnaval indeed!

Goa has been celebrating carnival for centuries since the Portuguese set footprints hKhell tiatrists of Carnival in Goaere to make it part of the lifestyle of Goans before the lenten season sets in. However in those days there were no floats, no blaring music systems, no motored vehicles to carry the revelers and everything was in a way original , genuine stuff through various programmes, the memories of which continue to touch the members of the older generation.

While there used to be a fun filled camaraderie among villagers during carnival, small plays or skits would be staged in front of prominent houses in the village. With the traditional "Ghumot" in tow, groups of men would dress colourfully in various costumes, some of them masquerading as women to perform various hilarious plays riddled with humour and satire, the memories of which are fondly remembered by the senior citizens till today.

The plays, known as Khell  were normally staged in villages. There was the usual poking of fun at the character played in the name of the Village Bhatcar( landlord) with his high nosed mannerisms and aristocratic attitudes often ridiculed and mocked at by the lowly mundkar ( labourer / farmer). khellcouple

In some plays there used to be  different groups formed to divide the members of the play. The group of the gawda community used to be called as the "Gaudiam parte" another group known as the "Raksiam parte" was a party deemed to belong to the monster group and there was a third group known as the "Bomboichi parte" which was a group of Goans presumed to be from Mumbai.

The destination to seek sponsors for such plays were always the richest people and the khell was normally enacted in the compound of these affluent Goans as the troupe moved from house to house in search of patrons to stage the play.

While the plays were held without even any basic facilities like props or curtains, they would effectively entertain the crowds to the hilt and would often be reffered to as the "Zomnir Khell" ( a play on the ground).

While spontaneity was a major ingredient in the Khell, yet everything was not on the spur of the moment and the songs and dialogues were written and the actors and musicians  would rehearse a bit before they took to the staging of the Khell.

When there was a beating of the drums, it was clear that the play is about to begin and the crowds simply used to find Khella desperate place in a circle around the artists and ready themselves in silence for a piece of the action.A whistle would blow before the action really got underway.The Regidor ( the headman of the village) of the village was granted the privilege of watching the first performance of the Khell and would not be charged any fees for the same after which the landlords and affluent people were visited for the performances.

Over the years the Khell slowly transformed with props and curtains coming in to make the suspense of the situation etc more effective with a small stage also being erected at many places.

However while the Khell still exists in Goa, it is only dominant in the sourthern part of Goa and specifiaclly concentrated in Salcete and other peripheral areas.

Goa Carnival's dancing buddies

Carnival floats in GoaThe festival of colours in Goa that Carnival is, it seems to have a place for everyone to showcase their brand image and their talent . While corporates such as Maggi and Budweiser besides catering institutions and ambulance service 108 as well as local businesses have walloped the limelight in a bid to promote their brand image. However carnival in Goa can never miss a distinct brigade of boys and girls who lend the exceptional dance spirit of carnival to the float parade in Goa.

It is a familiar sight to see thcarnaval in Goaese young lasses in attire full of frills and carnivelesque colours in the good company of boys flaunting a maverick hairstyle or better topping themselves with cowboy hats or just wearing bandanas. The cultural splurge of carnival which gives a little extra punch to free flowing dancing abilities, has given this ever renewing brigade in Goa a good reason to hog some limelight while making some extra cash for themselves.

While the student community of Goa is the backbone of this inseparable carnival brigade. the organisers find this community to be the ideal foil to their plans because students are inexpensive, can be moulded easily, love some limelight in their teens and essentially have no airs as some of the seasoned dancers would carry with them.   the Goan carnival

The students are often selected through common friends in college and other such campuses and get to participate in all the parades in Panjim, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa while pocketing for themselves payments upto Rs 500 per day. Armed with a training which may range for a day or two, the students conduct practices, often within their own group on Sundays and holidays.

So this unmistakable brigade of boys and girls lend the completeness to the carnival floats by dancing to a series of forward, backward and side steps and hip movements in a choreographed rhythm for every few metres of the float parade.

The students get picked up by individual float carnival tableau in Goasponsors like hot cakes with sponsors ranging from beverage companies to cell phone manufacturers scouting for this hep crowd from among the schools and college campus influentials.

After selection, the youngsters are then fine tuned to personalise with  the particular brand they are selected for and keeping with the requirements of the song and its tempo, they trail behind the leading brand image banners, synchronizing with their dance steps often with glittering strips of  colourful papers adorning their hands. They also help in distributing pamphlets of the advertised product besides some of them even singing and making announcementsGoa carnival float parade

It is the love of dancing and the spirit of fun besides the welcome bonus of pocket money which goads these youngsters to take part in the parade year on year and once they leave the campus,  the generation next takes over in  a continuance of the passion to enjoy the remnants of Goa's colonial past adding fun and frolic to their lives.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Go Green Goa!

Ecological resurgence was the key sentiment for the Go Green Goa - a workshop held in Panjim.

A host of issues with special focus on Goa, ranging from agriculture, alternative energy, climate change and water management were discussed at the workshop.

Agriculture was highlighted to be an extremely profitable business if all resources are pooled towards its success which urged farmers to cultivate and market a local variety of rice with smart packaging techniques.

Stressing on motivating the younger generation, the experts opined that through the various projects such as agriculture, water harvesting, waste management and others, they would like to prove that the agricultural profession is as glamorous as any other.

Ground realities such as carbon emissions in India and practices to reducing the carbon footprints by adopting simple steps such as planting trees, vermiculture, CFL bulbs usage and renewable energy would go a long way.

Experts included the environmental scientist Dr. Emmanuel Silva, Ms Clea Chandmal - a plant scientist, Ms. Yogita Mehra of TERI, Ms Bruna Fogaca - a food engineer, Mr Miguel Braganca- a horticulturist, Mr Darryl Pereira of the Reira Eco ventures and students Aaron Pereira and Isa Alvares

Are Taxis hurting Goa tourism?

There has been a proverbial hue and cry about Goan taxis overcharging tourists for a long time from different tourists arriving in the state. While the government has specified certain rates between distances, it is still unclear as to why the government of Goa is not enforcing the meter system in Goa.

For most part of their business, the tourist taxis are alleged to be demanding whatever figure comes to their mind and expecting the tourist to cough up the amount. Also depending on the type of the tourist, rates also happen to differ. The rates in the cities are different from the rates at the beaches. This is absolutely negative for the image of Goa and should be rectified by the government of Goa in right earnest.

It is therefore important that all taxi owners in Goa should install meters on their taxis to bring about an uniformity in rates. If you compare the rates here vis-a-vis the rates in Mumbai for a similar distance the rates which are deduced as per the meter reading are much lower. So why should Goa be different?

Dabolim or Mopa ! The great Goa election gimmick?

The Minister for Aviation dropped a note of great comfort for anti-Mopa communities within the state of Goa. He suggested that the notion of having only one airport and closing the other one is an unfounded theory and a misguided one.

While the expansion of the new airport is a  welcome relief, the closure of the Dabolim airport is a foregone conclusion in the minds of many Goans once Mopa becomes a reality. However the Minister says that both will operate. Great logic!

Interestingly, the Union Minister should know that the Union cabinet of which he is a member is in contradiction to what the Minister claims.Air traffic in Goa is insufficient to support the infrastructure of two airports. Further, Mopa is to be developed on a private-public partnership basis and if Dabolim is also open while Mopa operates, there will be no investor willing to be a guinea pig and invest money in the new international airport.

Such a policy of operating two airports in the long run inside a small state like Goa is  definitely not a sustainable one and very soon economic sense will prevail over the minor grumbles of the anti-Mopa community which will then be defunct and have few teeth to even mumble its opposition.

For some time however I suspect that both the airports are bound to operate.It is a funny suspense which air travelers are bound to face.Currently the dilemma is faced by travellers  on Mumbai-Goa buses whicDabolim airporth are bound for Panjim and if you want to head for Margao, you need to confirm in advance and depending on your destination, take the bus or wait for another one. However many confirmations have gone wrong as many irate passengers on these buses discovered once the bus reaches Panjim and original assurances made to passengers headed for Margao are denied making your tiring journey even more punishing by scouting for another means of transport for Margao.

Air travel is however more organised in their systems but the uncertainty is bound to be very irritating for travelers from South Goa who may have to take the flight to Pernem in urgent times thereby making the travel agonising.

Mopa is bound to be the modern airport with the best planning and execution. It will contain the latest methods and gadgets which are in tune with modern airports. Besides Mopa has a luxurious land availability which will assist towards the enormity of planning such a massive project. Dabolim will therefore be relegated to a secondary or a domestic destination for a while whereas Mopa will be elevated immediately to the International status. In time, Dabolim will close and be handed over to the Indian Navy. Modernising the Dabolim airport is not going to go to waste. The Navy will use the facilities and the justification will have little opposition.

All this song about Dabolim being one among the two Goan airports is bound to fade once the election fever subsides and agitations cease. We will then be expected to gulp all the assurances with a pinch of salt. And if the Minister is not in his chair by then( which is highly probable), the new one will wash off his hands and there will be no accountability for the statements or their credibility. What a system of clinical politics! Alas Goa!

Xittuk Goencar

Parra, first village in Goa to respond with own plan

Parra, a village in the north of Goa is the first village in the state of Goa to have drawn up its own Regional plan 2021 for the village of Parra.

So while the rest of Goa and its villages rejected the copy of the draft RP 2021, citing errors, Parra decided to use the golden opportunity of having its own say.

The new Parra land use and development plan prepared by the 20 member village level committee RP2021 is now put up for display at the panchay at house and other public places for final corrections invited from the members of the public. The general scheme of the plan was approved by the Gram sabha earlier.

The Parra village committee executed two major tasks on the draft parra villageplan. Firstly it corrected the copy sent to the panchayat. After the corrections were absorbed, the committee recommended certain modifications to the Regional plan 2021 to the extent required for the further development and conservation of the village.

What is of sheer interest is the way that people from the various wards of the village came together to participate in the planning exercise.While striving to keep its rural character intact, the committee chose to preserve its heritage and ecological landmarks by mapping bird nesting sites, water bodies, ponds, banyan trees and heritage houses in its land use and development plan.

Importantly the committee decided to reserve the Parra hill as a permanent forest of the village and the decision to keep the hill as a forest area as also to maintain the paddy fields free of any construction, was absolutely unanimous.

Secondly, the committee decided to revert the village to VP3 status instead of the existing VP2, thereby opting for low key development in a bid to protect its ecological ambience of fields, forest land, bandhs and ponds which consume a major area of the village.

The villagers were wise to see through the misleading figures on the density of the population in Parra which is showing as 755 persons per sq km as per the draft  RP 2021. However this calculation includes the area covered under forest, orchard and paddy areas which are non-development areas. So if one takes into account only the settlement areas, the figures are at an already high 3205 persons per sq km which forecasts to be an alarming 5334 persons in 2021 with the increase in population. This assessment has been pivotal, to prepare the present land use and development plan forcing the village to seek controls on development including the VP3 status and FAR of a mere 30 for plots in excess of 4000 sq meters.

Housing developments have also come under the acute scanner of the committee  and controls have been put in place. New buildings coming up in the village will not be allowed stilt parking and will not have more than ground plus one with a permissible height of 9 metres to the highest ridge of the roof.

Unnecessary widening of roads will no longer be allowed with a ceiling of 6 mts width for all areas. Sections of villages will be marked as conservation zones. Bird nesting sites, orchards and water collection points, groves of peepal and coconut trees and cattle grazing areas were all identified for preservation.

The committee was of the view that garbage was being handled very efficiently by the village with a regular collection on Sunday of non-biodegradable waste, which is sent to recyclers, while the biodegradable waste was taken care of by individual households. There was therefore no need to go in for a special garbage site which would degenerate the dump area and be misused.

Also facilities such as medical centre, market, sewage management plan and other amenities, cycle tracks,jogging tracks, animal trails, off season fields for playgrounds and wayside markets for villagers to sell agricultural produce have also been mapped.

Parra has therefore come up with one of the most intelligent exercises which the rest of Goa should follow swiftly for their own villages.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Need to promote Goa as honeymoon paradise

Goa has earned a namRomance by the seae on the world map as one of the places to visit to get the thrill of a succegado Goan ambience along with the pristine beaches, a great culture, temples, churches and exotic locales within the state.

During the time of Christmas, New Year and Carnival, Goa is normally packed to the brim with curious tourists as well as the traditional holidayer who does not want to miss Goa for anything.

However there is a great potential to make Goa a round-the -year hot destination for all kinds of tourists. The honeymoon couples are just one of these people who could find Goa to be the right place to celebrate and the Goa government needs to consciously tap this potential. 

It is also worth noting that Goa's cultural freedom of expressing oneself baga riverside in Goagives us the added advantage to beat the rest of the country in this area. Nowadays we have a rabid breed of " moral police" in many parts of the country trying to impose their sense of morality and the ugly Mangalore incident in Karnataka was just another of those bullying tactics employed by some of these disgruntled groups.

Meanwhile Goa has no such problems because Goans do not tolerate this kind of absurdity.  Goa has been peace loving since liberation and is therefore naturally consider ed as a safe place to enjoy a holiday. For people with romance on their mind it is the perfect destination as Goa provides the seclusion and tranquil that lovers relish and honeymoon couples have discovered it to be the best haunt in India.

The tourism department of Goa should therefore work overtime to devisehoneymoon couple in Goa schemes and means of wooing this select band of people to ensure that their honeymoon is synonymous with Goa. The word should go out everywhere and Goa should add another reason to its endless list of people who want to head to Goa for a hundred other reasons of their own.

Goa's Dabolim airport not to close, says Minister

Blaming it on speculation and possible politics, the Minister of state for civil aviation Mr Praful Patel said that the government never desired to close down the Dabolim airport, when the proposed Mopa airport becomes a reality.

The Minister was laying a foundation stone of the new integrated building at Dabolim airport and dismissed all rumours of closure of the Dabolim airport. The Minister called it a great day for Goa and the entire country's tourism and the economic development of the country that the Dabolim airport is finally expanding. There  is no need to say no to an old airport, claimed the Minister adding that such dilemmas were things of the past and in modern times such issues do not crop up.

The new integrated terminal building with an area of around 62,000 square metres will be constructed with glass and steel and house a modern passenger friendly system. It is also expected to have central air conditioning, inclined arrival baggage claim carousals, public address systems, flight information display systems, escalators, check in counters for car parking and CCTV's for surveillance.

Carnival 2009 paints Goa in multi colours

It was a sea of humanity which swept the capital city of Goa at Panjim on Saturday 21st February 2009, when the float parade unleaslargemaskhed a variety of technicolored themes to usher in the hedonistic festival of Carnival, which thrilled the weekend crowds to the hilt.

Earlier in the morning the Panjim carnival committee organised an alvoerada and music was being played  at different locations in the city.

At the float parade, it was a scene full of revelry and fun with a total over 80 floats t aking part in the parade which included huge giants like the life sized swivelling dinosaur, thrilling crowds with  almost life-threatening growls ,a larger than life sized elephant spraying water through its trunk,huge zebras perched atop the vehicles, besides water borne sharks , octopuses and sea-horses as also enactment of various scenes ranging from countless couples either overtly expressingdinosaur their romance or just wedded couples besotted with each other, to traditional trades of Goan societies such as carpentry,pottery, barber shops, toddy-tappers, fishermen, piggery and sausage farmers etc. The Floats also depicted various styles of Goan living at various times in Goa. Goan  fruits and vegetables, the lifestyles of one of goa's oldest inhabitants- the goatherds and the wedding in their family as also of the kunbi tribe.

As expected the garbage crisis in Goa was depicted in many floats as also the terrorism in the country.Goan identity was also fseahorseocussed in a couple of floats reminding of the need for a special status for Goa. There was also a particular float where a certain Military from Portugal was enacting their ability to secure Goa from terrorists. Spanish bullfights also saw a float showcasing the act.

The junk cars and bikes brought in the vintage interest from the crowds while the individual clowns and mimic acts brought in irresistible laughter and interactions with the mimic artists and mascots.

A pirate ship, a ghost ship, a 9 feet King Kong articulately made from peanuts and hair made of domestic brooms, a fairyland princess in a pumpkin chariot, sea life with octopuses, starfish and sea horses as well as scenes related to the Mumbai terror attack were all part of the parade.Some beverage companies, private businesses as also 108 ambulance service took part in the parade to lend the commercial effect.

Pickups loaded with speakers providing the irresistible tempo for dancers on the ground to perform, bikes and cyclists performing stunts on their two wheelers, men masquerading in women lingerie and provoking the crowds with erotic gestures, huge giant faced men and women with the vulturous look in their eyes , the dazzle of the colours, the uninhibited revelry and the unmistakable mascotmanface copyGoan spirit over flowing and pouring in the streets  packed to capacity crowds was a summary of the Carnival parade.

Every part of the city of Panjim was stuffed with people swarming for a glimpse and included foreign as well as Indian tourists packing the entire area. People among the tourists including European and Russian were part of the Goa Carnival fever, painting their faces and tattooing their bodies, wearing all kinds of masks and their active part in the whole carnival revelry was a common  sight.

Panjim was abuzz even after the parade was over and the whole city and its eateries were stuffed with revelers and tourists from India and abroad trying to get a bite of food.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

20th Feb 2009 - Goa's 2nd Hottest in 38 years

Most recently we had the hottest day in Goa for many decades. However yesterday, the 20th of February was even worse.The mercury soared to an astonishing 39.2 degrees celcius in a Goan February. In fact it was second  hottest day in the last 38 years.

The Highest known recorded temperature in Goa has been 39.8 degrees celcius.However the 20th of February has been the highest since April 7th 1989  when the state had the highest record of 39.8 degrees celcius.

The other higher temperatures recorded in February have been 38 degrees celcius on February 29th 1984 and 37.6 degrees celcius on February 20th 1999.

Although the temperature was high as reported, the low humidity at 63% in the morning and around 48% in the evening surely was a welcome relief to Goan citizens

Portuguese passport : a fairy tale for many Goans

portuguese consulate in Goa The penchant for the Portuguese passport has only increased among Goans over the years. This despite the fact that many consider the whole exercise as futile and bearing little fruit. Yet, the desire to apply for the Portuguese nationality and wait for years to see that special "dream day" is something many a Goan has learnt to live with.

However the disgruntlement in the minds of Goans is loud and clear. The inability to get the passport or the absolute  lack of clarity in the duration required to obtain the Portuguese passport has left many Goans very annoyed and helpless.

The documentation required by the Portuguese administration also changes with time. Probably the administration is trying to keep up with the best criteria to identify genuine applicants in quest of the Portuguese passport. However this has been viewed by Goans with a lot of suspicion and the whole process is often referred to as unreasonable by Goans who have found themselves stranded for years.

While there is no clarity in the issuance of the Portuguese passport, it is without doubt the prerogative of the Portuguese government to effect whatever changes are required for documentation and Goans should try to understand this from the view of the Portuguese government.

Earlier between the period 1986 to around 1994 the process was much simpler. However for most of that period, there was no consulate in Goa and one had to travel to Delhi to get things done which discouraged many Goans to apply for the passport. In that period, the entire family could apply for the passport together under the shelter of the person born before December 19th 1961. So the process took the least amount of time with the entire family applying together.

However the rules changed somewhere around 1994-95 when the Goa consulate made it mandatory for the parents to be registered first and then after the assento de nascimento ( birth certificate) was registered the marriage certificate ( assento de casamento) was the next step. Only after producing these two documents the children could be eligible to apply.

In recent times there has been another change. The parent whose birth is registered in Portugal also needs to obtain the Bilhete Identidade ( Identity card of Portugal) and subsequently register the marriage. So nowadays  it has  become a longer procedure for the children to get the two requisite documents.

While these changes may be required to be done, one cannot understand the sense of delaying the entire process for years by the Portuguese government. Clearly there seems to be a deliberate "go slow" approach employed by the Portuguese government in most cases. Strangely there seems to be no hierarchy or seniority of a particular application for nationality and it is often issued at random to candidates without following the merits of a descending order of  application.

People in Goa are also often befuddled at the way Goans are called out by their token numbers when they wait for their turn at the Portuguese consulate in Goa with any random calling of token numbers. If one may argue that it may be due to different office staff in the consulate handling different procedures and so calling out as per their particular order, a close observation belies that theory. In short there is a random system followed which nobody can understand. And honestly no Goan is willing to ask lest he risks his chances at the mercy of the staff.

The pursuit for the passport is also made through the services of various agents and touts who claim to have good knowledge of Portuguese and also good contacts in the Conservatoria in Portugal. However bitter experiences of some Goans have proved that some of these agents are all out to make a fast buck in the name of the Portuguese passport and follow the normal procedure laid down by the consulate and the Conservatoria, thereby failing to actually expedite the process

However some Goans prefer their services which are honestly of little value unless some representative actually pushes the process in Portugal.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Goa Land acquisitions opposed by citizens.

Land acquisition in Goa is the latest to be added to the scanner of citizens within Goa who seem to have waged a war against the government against its unplanned sense of development.

Villagers of Nuvem joined farmers in protesting against the acquisition of fields for the development of a playground in the village. The Nuvem Civic and consumer forum led the protest to hold demonstrations at the village panchayat building demanding a stop to the land acquisitions immediately.

While the gram sabha of Nuvem had apparently opposed this land acquisition process, Nuvem Villagers demanded to know the reasons behind the acquisition despite the gram sabha resolution opposing the project.Labelling the whole exercise as a land grab, the villagers raised eyebrows over the plans to acquire fertile agricultural fields of nuvem measuring nearly 50,000 sq metres for a playground which the villagers believe, is something more than meets the eye. The entire acquisition threatens to displace around 25 farmers who have been cultivating the fields regularly every year raising two crops of paddy, onions, vegetables,chillies, sweet potatoes etc.

Villagers of Nuvem have questioned the wisdom of acquiring such large tracts of land in the name of a playground which the villagers opine is not required for the village as it is barely within 2.5 kms distance from the Fatorda stadium.

Meanwhile in another development, shareholders of the communidade of  Chinchinim held a meeting recently to fight the acquisition of 12,000 sq m of land in the village of Chinchinim by the government of Goa to construct a bypass road in the village.

Out of the total area of 12,000 sq km of land, a large chunk of around 5000 sq km of land belongs to the Chinchinim Commundade. The said area under acquisition also includes the centuries old Communidade building of Chinchinim, which is a heritage structure.

Opposing the acquisition of land which would finally lead to the destruction of the roots of the Chinchinim Communidade, villagers termed the plan as ill-conceived and sought to know as to why the  eastern side which has wide space is not utilised for the road widening.

Lamenting at the attitude towards the last vestiges of the institution, the shareholders demanded that a suitable delegation comprising of all shareholders, heritage action groups and other aggrieved parties call on the local MLA to request him to help them in this matter.

Land acquisition in Goa has been a farce for far too long and now the citizens of Goa seem to have woken up to the realities facing Goans for a long time. The government needs to show its sincerity by addressing genuine issues and ensuring that Goans do not lose their land for paltry sums in the name of development. Also if such land is acquired for development purposes, the landlosers should have the right to sell the land to private parties instead of the government dealing with private real estate developers.

The final verdict on this will be interesting

The Portuguese passport for Goans

It is familiar news in the corridors of Goan society for a long time. Goans are making their way to Europe in search for greener pastures. And the help is coming from a distant quarter in Europe. A country which most Goans fought against for independence. And got it, thanks to the might of India which liberated Goa from Portuguese rule on 19th December 1961.

But now in modern Goa, Portugal seems to be holding a special place in the hearts and minds of Goans. While the older generation has a mixed feeling towards the Portuguese, the younger generation is finding it difficult to hold any resentment against the Portuguese.

The special place accorded to Portugal by many Goans has a lot to do with the Portuguese passport which Portugal has extended to the original residents of Goa and is still in force thanks to the largesse of the Portugal nation.

So under the current Portuguese Nationality law, all Goans living in Goa before 19th December 1961 are deemed to be Portuguese nationals. The only hassle( and the major one) is to prove and claim that Nationality. It is believed that the Portuguese dictator Salazar, provided laws to keep Portuguese Indians as Portuguese nationals after the Indian army liberated Goa.

However in Goa, many were overwhelmed by the passion of liberation from the Portuguese and in their excitement are known to have destroyed all their Portuguese documents including the Passports, Bilhetes and many other original papers during their celebrations just after the liberation of Goa. However the Portuguese law granting nationality to goans continued to remain in force.

While other ex-Portuguese colonies were given time to decide between their new independent country( Mocambique, Angola etc) and Portugal, the citizens from the Estado da India were not given a period of time to make up their mind which still entitles us to continue being Portuguese citizens today.

So the law made under Prime Minister Marques De Pombal in the year 1757 by a Royal Decree which was duly signed by King D.Jose I, granting all Portuguese Indians ( Goa, Damao and Diu) the citizenship of Portugal and equal status with the Metropolitan Portuguese, still remains in force.

So while Portuguese Indians rejoiced in the liberation of their territories form Portugal, and had no wish to claim Portuguese Nationality owing to Portugal being a poor economy, the whole scenario changed when the dynamics of Europe were transformed with the formation of the European union which made Portugal a mouth watering proposition.

In 1986, The European community was formed of which Portugal was a part. This opened windows for Portuguese Nationals to travel and work or reside in any part of the European Union thus raising the level of interest in Portugal by many Goans. The European union consists of countries such as England and France which became the hot pursuit for job seeking Goans. In fact it is well said in the gossip streets of Goa that half of the population of the picturesque coastal village of Siridao, in Goa, is residing in either France or Swindon in England.

The applications for claiming the Portuguese Naitonality therefore increased after the year 1986 and even if one had been born even today, in the twenty first century, but had his parents or grandparents born before December 19th 1961, one could claim for the Portuguese nationality through their benevolence.

The only exercise however is to claim for this Portuguese nationality from Portugal. To do this it takes many excruciating years of searching documents, notarising them, attesting them with government bureaucrats in India and finally presenting them with the Portuguese consulate. This exercise is repeated atleast six or seven times in the whole procedure to get yourself the Portuguese nationality.

However the delay is caused by the Portuguese nationality process which can take anywhere between a lucky 3 years or a ridiculous decade or even more. Many Goans have spent decades in pursuit of this nationality and some have dropped out due to frustration of not seeing their process go any further despite furnishing the requisite documents.

Nevertheless many Goans and Indians from Daman and Diu who are eligible for this privilege have been diligently trying their level best to secure the passport, consuming years with patience for the seemingly green card for Europe.

The Goan Carnival - How, When, Why!

The Goan carnival is something with which Goa has been fondly associated with and in recent times, tourists from all over the world have found the Goan carnival as being one of the reasons to be here.

So how did Goa actually begin this tradition of hosting a festival most famously belonging to Europe? Portugal may be the spontaneous answer. Portuguese rule in Goa is indeed the prime reason for the transfer of this festival in this part of the world.

While Carnival is derived from the old Latin expression 'carne vale' which if translated means " farewell to meat" thereby implying that the days of merriment were being linked to be the last days of eating meat before the Lenten season sets in, during which Christians abstain from eating meat.

Roman empires are known to have brought forth this pagan festival and it therefore has roots of origin in Saturnalia which saw merry processions and revelry sunk people all across the Roman empire. This indulgence in fun and frolic eventually led to the present three day concentrated indulgence of festivity and merry-making right before the chaste season of Lent.

While this festival was originally celebrated in Catholic areas of Europe, the merriment was naturally descended to many colonies of Europe and as a result Goa has simply absorbed it from the Portuguese.

Originally in Goa, the Carnival was a very simple fest.The mood of carnival itself made up for the excitement associated with the festival and young and old Goans used to revel in taking part in the festivities. Water balloons and buckets of water ready to shower, were the weapons often baited with friends and village folks at vantage points in the vaddo or the city, which was often difficult to avoid.

The catholic church in the meanwhile has always abhorred the festival and always termed it a pagan ritual although it precedes the lenten season faithfully. In earlier Portuguese times, the stand of the Church was not very clear but post-portuguese the church has labelled carnival as a pagan festival full of indecent displays and an expression of senseless indulgence.

During the Portuguese times in Goa, people form all walks of life took active part in the carnival festival, swarming the streets with a splash of colours, powder, masks,etc. In the villages the wards or "vaddos" would take active part by competing in various competitions with each other. Carnival tiatrs were the order of the day and the tiatrs would travel from place to place within the state of Goa.

The Khell tiatr was another sign that Carnival in Goa had arrived. This open air art form is still strongly prevalent till today. A certain group gathers together and travels from place to place originally in an open pick-up van or bus and stops at various locations in the day, staging the "Khell-tiatr". The Khell-tiatr is another form of tiatr but of a short duration and is called "khell" meaning "play". There are 3-4 plays staged at one location by this troupe which packs its bags after that to go to another close destination to stage it again. People follow this troupes with utmost dedication and thoroughly enjoy this theatrical part of carnival.

The floats were introduced in Goa much after the Portuguese left Goa in 1961 but it was always a close affair with passionate groups of people taking part in the carnival fun. The government of Goa was not involved in the festivities of carnival. Often the old horse-carriages which were still present in Panjim in those days were used to drive these giant floats. Mapusa and Margao also had float parades and the people in Margao celebrated something known as the festival of fans.

The whole festival was an informal affair and survived on the might of donations and funds from various places given by the generosity of Goan businessmen and affluent people of Goa. The performers also made up their own costumes and were never in the fray for monetary benefits. The fun always took centre-stage and was never lost in pursuit of money. Small groups, individuals and large groups all found their place in the floats as if they belonged there.

The government of Goa stepped in the whole carnival celebrations in the eighties when the tourism department hit upon the novel idea of using Carnival as a means to drive the tourist traffic to Goa. The government therefore began pouring in the funds required to give the carnival celebration the necessary direction and soon enough corporates stepped in and it was a very commercial affair. Logos, ads and themes began ruling the parades. The King Momo was soon a necessity in keeping with the traditions followed in Brazil and the King Momo was introduced along with dancers, vintage cars and loud coloured floats. Music and bands followed. Skimpy clothes and scanty dressing also became an uncomfortable part but was soon disallowed.

As dusk sets in Goa is still alive with music and song just like before. The two traditional dances of Goa still survive the times and so the "Red and Black" dance organised by Clube Nacional is still strong on its brand in North Goa while the "Festa de Leques" is the dance to look forward to in the southern part of Goa for many decades.

The old spirit of Carnival though missing has some of its traces still left in the carnival in present day Goa. However the older generation feels that Goa has lost the old charm while the younger lot seem to prefer the current brand of Carnival  which is still a splurge of fun.

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