Tuesday, March 31, 2009

History of Goa Velha's "Santachem Pursanv"

The Santachem Pursanv is one of the two traditional processions still alive in Goa. In olden times Goa used to see many religious processions conducted by the various religious orders existing in Old Goa.However due to various reasons many of the processions did not survive.

The processions included the "Corpus Christi' procession which was held on the first Thursday after Low Sunday,the procession of the Rosary by the Dominican fathers, the procession of the flagellants, and that of the " bones of the Hanges" by the Confraternity of Charity

In passing times of Goa, most of these processions were either banned or simply died out in the last couple of centuries. However the ritual practices of Lenten tableaus which were practiced in olden Goa, are still continued with fervour till this day.

Goa Velha Santachem pursao

The two processions that still continue till this day are the procession of the "Capas Magna" at the Se Cathedral in Old Goa which is most commonly known in Goa as the "Xeppdeanchem Pursanv" on Good Friday and the procession of the "Santachem Pursanv" held at Goa Velha on the Monday after Passion Sunday ( 5th Sunday of Lent) . Goa is the only other place besides Rome to have these processionsas of date.

The objective of the "Procession of Saints was to inculcate a sense of spirit of prayer and penance into the hearts and minds of the faithful, taking the saints as  role models who actually were simple people belonging to this world and who devoted their lives to Christ and thereby sanctified themselves.

This penitential  procession of the Franciscan third order, had originally 65 images of saints in their original life sizes and vestments which originally used to leave the Pilar convent Church and pass through neighbouring villages and return to the convent with people from different walks of life , the rich and the poor being present for the event.

However in 1835 there was a change of guard as Queen Maria II of Portugal issued a decree abolishing religious orders in Portugal and its colonies due to to which there  was a stop to the procession in an interval when nothing happened  and many images and vestments were destroyed.

Interestingly until 1935, the procession was traditionally held on Monday of the first week of Lent.However with the new church when the procession came to Goa Velha and since then is being held on the Monday following the passion Sunday.

In the years 1889 and 1895, there were new images added . Santa Angela Monica was offered by the villagers living in Bombay. However the original number of 65 was never restored and on todays date only 30 saints are part of the procession. They are, St Francis of Assisi, Pope Innocent III, St. Michael, Cardinal St. Boaventura, St. Clare of Assisi, St Francis of Assisi with St Lucy and St Dona Bona, St Pascal Bailan, St Rose of Viterbo, St Roque, St Isabel, Isabel of Hungary, St Antonio of Lisboa,Cardinal St Peter Pdamiao, St Bernardo, St. Louis IX King of France, St. Filipe, St Ina of Assiz, St Roa of Lima, St Francis of Assissi and St Domnic, Immaculate Franciscan, Ecce Homo, the Divine Nazarene, the martyr of Golgota or the man of sorrows embracing St Francis of Assisi, St John Evangelist, St Mary Magdalen, St Angela Marcia, St Francis of Assisi.

The lead tableau has a cross with two hands crucified, one representing Jesus and the other St Francis of Assisi and they form the arms and symbol of the Franciscan order. the final tableau is one depicting St Francis of Assisi on his knees seeing a vision of Christ being crucified and on the hands, feet and the chest, the wounds of Jesus Christ are visible.

Goa witnesses traditional "Procession of saints"

Goa Velha a beautiful village near Pilar, sprang to life yesterday, just like it does every year this day, as it was the day for the Christian tradition known as the "Procession of Saints" or better in Konkani, "Santachem Pursanv".

This event is part of the lenten season in Goa observed by catholics with consideration to the liturgical practices followed by the Church and which have come down through the centuries after having been introduced by the Portuguese in Goa.Santachem Pursanv

The "Santachem pursanv" is an event which is held on the fifth Monday of Lent and draws people from the neighborhoods as well as from many pats of Goa and begins in the evening with mass in the compound of St Andrew's Church Goa Velha.

Before the mass is held, Catholics make their way inside the Church and kiss and venerate the statues kept inside while whispering their prayers and wishes as they touch the feet of the statues. Subsequently the mass begins at around 4 pm and just before the sun goes down, the life sized images of saints dressed in different vestments and mounted on tableaus are seen emerging from the Church to mark the beginning of the "Santachem pursanv".

There is a particular order followed as the tableaus are carried by four Confraria members dressed in distinguishable ceremonial robes which are known as the Opa_Murca. The first tableau consists of the Tau and the crossed Arms, which is the logo of the Franciscans and depicts one arm each of Jesus and one of St Francis of Assisi while the last tableau has St Francis of Assisi receiving the stigmata on Mount Alverna. 

Procession of saints

After moving the statues out of the Church, the tableau pauses at the podium where a brief narration of the life of the saint is read out in konkani. The tableau bearers along with the people and the devotees then proceed along the traditional route with each of the thirty tableaus following the procession.

There is also a peculiar ritual followed by devotees during the procession. Devotees stand in queue and duck under each tableau in the belief that this act is capable of absolving them of sin and also grants them the blessings of the saints. The procession finally winds up with with each tableau being kept at a particular place inside the church square.

The priest then preaches his sermon and subsequently the images are carried back into the Church where they are kept for three days for veneration. This marks the beginning of a pompous fair with various food items, toys, clothes and other such articles occupying the outside area.

In the Olden days it was a tradition to travel on foot or by bullock carts to be a part of the "Santachem Pursanv" and the pilgrims used to find a place to rest anywhere in the village.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Using Goan employees to shield illegalities in Goa

There is never a dearth of loopholes to take advantage of, in the Goan system of governance. And if there isn't any in sight, a lot of head scratching and brainstorming will surely open up a new window to exploit so that one's skin is saved. Never mind if it is immoral or unethical or simply illegal. Issue is, it works!

Using Goan employees as a bait seems to be a wonderful technique discovered by many in Goa who are on the wrong side of the law. It is obviously another topic about how they were allowed to travel for so long on the wrong side and who should be accountable for it. However what comes to the fore is a suddenly created urgency of saving jobs of innocent Goans.

The brainwave of using employees under the pretext of them losing their jobs is the latest fascination caught onto everyone whose illegalities come into the open. To substantiate for the reason to continue with the illegalities , these employees seem to come forth to present their case as if the illegalities are justified at least for the sake of their jobs.

With the elections hovering like a shadow of  a demon, everyone in Goa seems to see a valid opportunity to seek their pound of flesh with the result that the government is gleefully busy swallowing everything that any vested interests such as employees of illegal establishments are throwing at them.

For employee issues, there is a labour department in place to redress their grievances. Their terms of employment with their employer are not based on illegal machinations with the state of Goa. Employees of such organisations should therefore be advised to approach the labour department or alternatively be asked to take legal recourse in the event of them losing their jobs due to the clampdown on illegal activities of their employers or due to their employers not following guidelines laid down by the government of Goa.

However falling for the bait of protecting jobs of employees and thereby regularising illegalities simply reflects the ever-willing foolhardiness and breakdown of a governing system which lacks both teeth and stamina.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Consumers in Goa being curbed of freedom to choose?

The recent comments, protests and gheraos by various lobbies of shopkeepers, traders and overnight associations of various dubious bodies which have sprung up in the city of Margao in Goa are making an attempt to stop exhibitions and sales under the pretext of losing their business to these open fairs. Last week such an outfit from Margao gheraoed the Chairperson of the Margao Municipal council seeking his intervention in stopping these exhibitions.   Goa trade fair

While the demand from these associations is downrightly absurd, these traders suffer from a crisis of not living up to the modern times in  a changing world. Economics and purchasing wisdom are both  dictated by price and better quality of the product in question. The traders need to self-introspect whether they are able to satisfy the consumer on these two important factors and identify the other reasons responsible for the consumer to shift loyalties from them to the fairs, instead of using illegal and violent methods of redressal.

Consumers have the democratic right to choose and purchase whatever he/she wants and this cannot be curbed by such senseless protests from a handful of people who want to shower their might on the people of Goa.

Do the consumers of Goa need to protest in retaliation of such vain moves of these traders and come out in the streets or gherao municipal officials so that these exhibitions  stay? Instead, the civic bodies and the panchayats should ensure that sanity and rule of law prevails when dealing with the unjust demands of vested interests.Goa exhibition

Consumers are the final judges. What the traders in Margao or Goa  need to do is compete with the exhibitions. Instead, with their current actions they are exposing their sense of "high price shopping" which they want the Goan consumer to forcefully continue despite them being non-competitive. In other words they probably feel that Goans should live expensively just because they have their whims and fancies to heap on us.

The Municipal bodies in Goa should therefore never bow to the wishes of a handful of these people who oppose exhibitions and sales and the consumer forums of Goa should also intervene to ensure that democratic systems are never hijacked by the demands of a select few.

Goa to finally witness the "Best out of waste"

The garbage issue which has gripped Goa for the last couple of years is looking its head up. This time for goodness sake. It is therefore certainly a lesson to be learnt fast by our elected representatives to remove their band of blindness and absolute lack of application to efficiently solve the garbage problem which if addressed properly  can come up with profitable answers against the adoption of simple concepts and timely measures which have hitherto been ignored.

Also it seems that Margao is the one going to lead it all the way with the dynamic chairperson of the Margao Municipal Council Mr Savio Coutinho meticulously implementing some good measures to solve the problem.

The result is that on April 2nd 2009, the Margao Municipal council will dispose off the compost and crude plastic bails via an auction at 10 am for a handsome amount.

The segregation and composting of the waste began at sonsodo after the Margao Municipal Council engaged the services of the Goa Foundation, an NGO to tackle 50 tonnes of waste heaped at the site on a daily basis..

The result has been rich compost valued at over Rs 1 lakh presently awaiting disposal at the site. Also crude plastic bails are awaiting suitable buyers.

The upset value fixed for the 10,000 kg of vegetable compost is Rs 3 per kg  and Rs 5 per kg for the 15 tonnes of fish and meat compost awaiting disposal. The plastic bails counting to about 200, each weighing about 25 kgs totaling to about 5000 kgs has been fixed at an upset price of Rs 2 per kg.

Thus a handsome revenue from waste is finally waiting to see the light of day, thanks to the dedication of the Chairperson of the Margao civic body who seems to have efficient plans to tackle the problems plaguing the city while also making a profit.

If our politicians and bureaucrats in the rest of Goa follow the example, and honestly go about doing their job, Goa could see plenty of good emerging out of its vast resources.

GRE issues deadline to Goa govt over CRZ threat

The Goa CRZ issue isGoa CRZ definitely one of the topmost issues likely to dominate the pre-poll scenario in Goa. This was evident when the Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott (GRE) along with other like minded  coastal organisations served the government with a warning to regularise their houses and establishments existing between 200 metres of the high tide line by the 10th of April for such structures built before their specified date of December 31 2007.

The Chief Minister of Goa Mr Digambar kamat was met by a delegation led by the GRE president Mr Agnelo Rodrigues and general secretary Mr Mathany Saldanha at his residence in the city and urged him to fulfill their demand.

An estimated 8,500 structures await the axe as per the High court directives and needed to be protected according to the petitioners. The Chief Minister expressed his concern on the matter while explaining the options available before the government of Goa and informed that the government has appointed a committee to study the matter.

While the CM pointed out to the role of the panchayats in solving the issue,the panchayats on their part have maintained that in the face of the high court orders they are completely helpless in the current imbroglio.

The delegation urged the government to appeal to the centre to amend the CRZ act to ensure that their homes and establishments are saved. They also demanded that special status be granted to Goa under Article 371 of the constitution of India to prevent the sale of coastal land to foreigners and others who buy land rampantly in Goa.

South Goa seat : Sardinha has the last laugh

Mr Francisco Sardinha, the sitting Member of Parliament was yesterday announced as the candidate of the Congress party and will Francisco Sardinha contest elections from South Goa constituency for the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for the 23rd of April.

Mr Sardinhas renomination ends days of suspense and claims amidst hard lobbying by many aspirants for the coveted ticket from Goa's mainly catholic dominated Mormugao constituency.

Other aspirants shortlisted by the state congress leadership were Power Minister Aleixo sequeira and PWD Minister Mr Churchill Alemao's daughter Valanka who both seem to have lost out in the final lap after a see saw fluctuation of fortunes and the sitting MP finally having the last laugh.

Although his nomination was made a bit late in the day by the Congress party, Mr Sardinha remained optimistic of his chances and urged his party workers and the people of South Goa to rally behind him and remained confident that the people will vote him by a huge margin as was witnessed in the last bye-elections.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

EMRI services in Goa - Information

The EMRI services started in Goa on September 8th 2008 and have continued their credible service throughout the state till date. It may be pertinent to see what exactly the service means for Goans and how Goans can take the benefit of this service.

Also tourists coming to Goa can keep themselves updated on the EMRI service and should there be any serious emergency, you should not  think twice to call 108, EMRI's emergency number.

What is 1-0-8

  • 108 is a three digit toll free number to call to get help in a medical, police or fire emergency
  • 108 is a 24 x 7 free service for any serious emergencies
  • 108 is accessible from a landline, mobile or fixed line without a prefix or a suffix

What does 1-0-8 do

  • A 108 call will connect you to a trained professional who will answer your call, ask you to describe your emergency situation and route the necessary emergency personnel to your location to assist you
               Sense            Reach                Care
EMRI emergency service
EMRI ambulance EMRI emergency care

* Communications officer (CO) collects facts

* Dispatch officer (DO) scopes emergency and assigns strategically located vehicle.


Vehicle reaches the site Emergency medical Technician (EMT) provides pre-hospital care while transporting patient/victim to an appropriate hospital for stabilisation

When Should you call 1-0-8

  1. You should call 108 when there is a serious emergency
  2. When there is a real need for one of the following
  • Someone is seriously injured, ill or unconscious, you need an  EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE and an AMBULANCE
  • There is a crime happening and you need the POLICE
  • There is a fire and you need FIREFIGHTERS
  • Any other times when an emergency response is required for medical, law enforcement and fire.

What happens when you call 1-0-8?

A. Basic information gathering

  • When you call 108, you are connected to a trained call-taker, who gathers the necessary information by asking you a few basic questions like:
  1. Where are you calling from ( the location and the landmark)
  2. The type of emergency
  3. Number of people injured and the condition of the injured
  4. Caller's name and contact number for location guidance if required

B. Dispatch of the emergency help

  • The necessary help either in the form of emergency service - ambulance, police or firefighters would be dispatched
  • The dispatcher may ask you additional questions such as specific questions relating to the medical problem a patient is having. These questions are asked in order to provide the ambulance crew a clear concise picture as to what is occurring at the scene. This DOES NOT delay the ambulance as the alert is already sent and the ambulance would be on the way while you are on the phone.

C. Help would reach you in an average time of 20 minutes

What happens when the ambulance arrives at the victim's site?

On reaching the site, necessary pre-hospital care is rendered to stabilize the victim while being transported to the nearest hospital of the victims' choice.

When not to call 1-0-8

Do not call 1-0-8

  • If there is no "serious" emergency
  • It is not a number for enquiry or information gathering
  • Do not play around by dialing 108 as a joke, otherwise a call in real emergency could be in queue and a life could be lost
  • If you happen to call 108 by accident, then do not hang up until the officer asks you to do so

Types of emergencies attended to by 1-0-8

a) Medical Emergencies:

  • Injuries
  • Cardiac
  • stroke
  • Respiratory problems
  • Diabetics
  • Maternal/Neonatal
  • Epilepsy
  • Unconsciousness
  • Animal bite
  • Burns
  • Fever
  • Infections

b) Police emergencies

  • Crime
  • theft
  • Fights
  • RObbery in progress
  • Bodily offences

c) Fire emergencies

  • Burns
  • Fire breakouts
  • Industrial fire hazards

Portuguese passport process for Goans - How to get Portuguese documents

For Goans Portuguese passport process for goanswho are in the process of procuring the various documents, it is important to know that the Portuguese passport documentation  requires that all documents if obtained in English, should be translated in the Portuguese language.

For almost all documents belonging to an era before 1961 in Goa, the documents are easily available in the PortuguesRegisto de casamentoe language and one has to apply for it with the respective authorities.   So fortunately documents such as the birth teor ( Registo de nascimento) , marriage teor ( Registo de casamento) are already in Portuguese and therefore need not be translated.

However documentsregisto de nascimento such as the residence certificate, the additional proof of residence ( obtained from employer, school, Church etc) , or any other additional document such as the divergence certificate etc  are normally obtained in the English language but are however required to be translated in the Portuguese language.

Also for applicants born after 1968, the birth teor and the marriage teor are also in the English language and therefore need to be translated to Portuguese.

Portugal does not accept documents in the English language, with the exception of the Indian passport which is the only document accepted in English and also the police clearance certificate, which is a document for the reference of the local consulate in Goa to verify the antecedents of the applicant with respect to any crimes committed. The Police clearance certificate is actually not a part of the documentation process and is apparently not sent to Portugal for processing with the rest of the documents.The original document is to be submitted as it is.

So if your document is in the English language, you need to translate it in Portuguese language  which therefore implies that your one document becomes two documents ( the original English and the translated Portuguese version) which means your cost of attestation is double all the way. So effectively you pay the following

English document Notary 60 (approx)
  Collector 100 (fixed)
  Undersecretary 100 (fixed)
  Portuguese consulate attestation 719 (fixed)
  Total 979


Portuguese document Notary 100 (approx)
  Collector 100 (fixed)
  Undersecretary 100 (fixed)
  Portuguese consulate attestation 719 (fixed)

  Translation cost 100 ( approx)

So for every document which is in English you end up paying 979 + 1119 = 2098 for the document. However if the document was directly obtained in the Portuguese language itself you would end up paying half the amount at Rs 1019 per document  with no translation cost as well.

It is therefore important that Goans should save this amount wasted by making a second document, by being a little more diligent and persuasive while obtaining the documents and try their best to obtain the documents directly in Portuguese which also has more credibility.

How does one do this?

For many who reside in the villages of Goa, the appropriate authority to issue the residence certificate is the panchayat. The Panchayat or the Sarpanch should be persuaded to give such a document directly in Portuguese. If he has no knowledge of Portuguese, get the matter translated yourself and get it printed for him and confirm the matter with him explaining the reason for doing so. Your persuasion skills are Notary stamp on Portuguese documents of goans very important in this areas. Similar skills are required to persuade the authorities concerned to obtain the document from the Mamlatdars office in case your residence certificate is to be obtained from the city limits. Persuasion is also required to repeat the process for documents required from the church the employer. You could save around 4-5 thousand over all such documents.

Translators are available in Goa all over and you need to get a good one though. Try asking the lawyers or notaries as to who is reliable and get the translation done properly.  Fees range from 50-100 per document depending on the whims of the translator concerned .

Goa BSNL taken to task over negligence

The BSNL at Goa seem to have learnt it the hard way when the Goa PWDs sewerage department handed to it a bill amounting to Rs 2.5 lakh towards the damage that it caused to a sewage chamber due to its cable laying works at Fatorda.

The bill was raised after the directions to this effect were issued  by the District Magistrate, South Mihir Vardhan who asked the telecom company to compensate for the losses it caused due to its work of digging in the area.

The damaged sewage chamber had caused an alarm in the area as the fears of contamination to drinking water were apprehended in the area including a neighbouring well which emanated a foul smell triggering the alarm and the subsequent detection of the damage done by the underground cabling work. The PWD was now in the process of conducting a survey of manholes and chambers in the vicinity to identify any more damage.

BSNL which lays cables through a trenchless technology system had earlier accepted its mistake of damaging the sewage chamber

Friday, March 27, 2009

Goan Beaches - Palolem Beach, a sweeping beauty of Goa

Palolem is a semi-circle shaped beach located at the southern tip of Goa in Canacona, and is a long picturesque strip with silvery silken sand and  many shady palm trees dotting its coastline. As you near the farthest end of the beach, there is an island which can be reached by foot during the low tides.

About Palolem Beach
Tourists love the Palolem beach as they are also able to reside closest to the beach during every season because  bamboo-hut resorts and restaurants are erected along the beach allowing tourists to stay right on the sand, only a few meters away from a swim in the alluring Sea.Thus it does seem that when you are in  Palolem, life seems to be just like living on the edge of the sea.

palolem beach

The evening is a delight to be on the beach as it is wonderfully lit up with the shacks providing the beautifully lit lampshades made out of rice straw, jute, bamboo, papier mache or plain cloth which light up the coastline.

In Palolem, there is a beach hut for everyone from very basic to to the relatively luxurious and exquisite with good amenities of modern times, with tariffs varying throughout the season and the festive season of Christmas and New year commanding the highest rates.

Backpackers find this place a paradise because accommodation is available in plenty  but if you are traveling with a family and want confirmation in advance of your booking it may be better to try and book in advance especially during the months of December and January.

The beach may often be crowded on the weekends. However, weekdays are much better and one can also hire a boat and implore the fishermen to take you to the small islands located on the northern part of the beach.PALOLEM beach view

In spite of the commercialization, Palolem retains its charm of a Goan village. Palolem is also ideal for young families as the atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and safe.

Where is Palolem Beach
Situated at a distance  of around 70 kms from the capital city of Panjim and over 40 kms from the commercial city of Margao,the Palolem beach is a paradise between two magnificent headlands and is a must visit for the Goan tourist. If you travel from Karnataka, Palolem is the first beach that you encounter.

A crescent shaped bay, white sand peacefully merging into the sea, swaying coconut palms - Palolem is picture perfect

How to get to Palolem Beach
Palolem Beach is  in the centre of coastal Canacona in South Goa. You can hire a cab from Dabolim Airport which is around  65 km away , railway stations close to Palolem are Margao and Canacona. The Margao Railway Station is 37 kms away and a taxi service as well as bus services are available. Panjim city is around 70km away from this southern beach of Goa. Commuting by bus is cheaper with buses plying from Margao to Palolem every hour.

Palolem Beach Accommodation  
You can either stay in the guest houses or the beach huts . There are also very few hotels to choose from. For options contact, Goa Living styles.

Swimming and safety in Palolem
Palolem offers you the serenity and the silence sought of a picturesque beach . While swimming is safe, it is always sensible to pay heed to the advice of the life guards

Sight seeing in Palolem

Pandava's drum
At the southern end of the beach you find a stream and near this stream is a large cup-shaped rock called the Pandava's Drum. Tourists who learn about the Pandava legends come here and often throw stones on top of the rock to hear the resonating sound that echoes from it.

Figueredo House
Up ahead a bit further is the famous Figueiredo House which was actually a heritage building built in the early part of the twentieth century by Figueiredo family. However it was later vandalised and now houses a hotel called Neptune point.

At the northern end of the Palolem beach is the island. You can spend your time watching mussels, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. You can also take a trip to spot dolphins.

Dolphin trips in Palolem
Fishermen from the area organise lovely Dolphin trips in Palolem on canoe rides and  Dolphin spotting trips are available at reasonable prices. While on this trip, stop by Butterfly beach between Palolem and Agonda beaches where you will feel as if you have the entire beach to yourself. However the water is quite deep here and tourists need to take extra precaution

Eating out
While the eating places in Palolem are plenty, try the Goan thali which is a plate of a Goan meal with Goan fish curry.There is also ample fresh fish available with various fish delicacies ruling the kitchens here.

Nightlife in Palolem
The nightlife at Palolem is quite electric among the many beach venues in the south of Goa. Dance music, live pop music, reggae, and rock -- it is all there and does pump until the early hours of the morning. The Butterfly Beach is also a popular place for parties.

Adventure sport in Palolem
There are a few things to explore at Palolem. At the northern end of the beach there is a stream and across the stream lies a small island. One can swim across in low tide or take a ferry or a canoe to go across. The rocky terrain over there is fun to explore.

Once at the island, apart from the frolic one can also consider  snorkelling. If you are lucky it is possible to spot some sea urchins, sea missiles, sea cucumbers and some groupers.

And if you love the sunset and its scenic beauty hold back and then wait till sunset, the view from the island is too stunning to put in words. palolem beach sunset

Shopping in Palolem

For those who like to shop, Palolem also has a small market that sells jewelry, clothes, and souvenirs. You can also go to the Cotigao Wildlife sanctuary  which is a a pleasant day trip from Palolem.

Goa House passes ordinance bill

Despite the Supreme court of India directed that until further orders, the disputed construction of the Cidade de Goa should not be regularised, the state assembly passed the ordinance bill thereby actually amending the act to save the structure.

What unfolds out of this is open for debate as many noted lawyers have opined that the state governments action is not in conflict with the judiciary as it was an amendment to the act which they believe is within the competency of the legislature.

Goan parents lambast schools for arbitrary fee hikes

Rampant fee hikes by unaided private schools in Goa came for a critical review amidst shocking revelations at a meeting organised by aggrieved parents of children who study in such schools. The meeting was held at the BPS club at Margao on Thursday 26th March 2009 and was impressively attended by over 400 parents of children studying in different private schools in Goa.

Triggered by the protest of a few parents who opposed the hike in fees by a Margao based school recently, the meeting was well attended by parents who sought a solution to the unethical commercialisation of education in Goa and arbitrary levying of fees by private schools.

The parents body while tentatively deciding to meet the Director of Education on 2nd of April, categorically demanded that the directorate of education should set up the authority who should exercise its powers to inspect and audit the account statements of recognized unaided schools in Goa.

Specifying various sections of the law which are constituted to protect citizens from being cheated, the founder member of the body Mr Orlando Pacheco lamented at the blind attitude of the government of Goa  in enforcing the law to protect Goans from paying exorbitant fees for childrens' education by private schools who are now trying to increase the fees even further on the pretext of the sixth pay commission recommendations.

The forum also explored the setting up of a committee of experts to handle financial matters and prepare a report on whether the schools can pay the teachers the salaries as per the sixth pay commission from the existing fees currently being charged.

Pointing out to the governments apathy in solving the problem, Mr Orlando Pacheco drew an analogy between the private buses and the public buses who are both regulated by the government of Goa.Mr Pacheco said that schools are more important than buses and sought the immediate intervention of the government to regulate fee structure of the schools and examine their accounts while demanding the adherence to various sections of the Goa school education Act 1984.

Mr Franky Monteiro, another founder member of the forum, also pointed out gross irregularities which had come to their notice in a Margao School, wherein excess funds amounting to lakhs of rupees have been illegally transferred from the tuition fee account to the accounts of the construction funds which is in violation of section 10, sub section 6(b) of the Goa School education act 1984, and is also in a clear violation of the Supreme court guidelines issued in the 27th April Judgement in the Modern School case of Delhi

The open forum saw various speakers slamming the government for introducing the konkani medium for primary education in government schools thereby monopolising the English education by private unaided schools leading to the current impasse. Speakers lambasted the elected representatives  who have enforced the vernacular medium of instruction on Goan citizens while themselves admitting their children to  English schools. They argued that the schools should be given the choice of choosing their medium of instruction.

The meeting also demanded that the government schools examine the accounts of unaided private schools and urged an audit authorized by the comptroller and auditor general of India.

Armed with the booklet of various sections of the Goa school education act 1984, supreme court guidelines and supreme court rulings on similar cases, the forum demanded hat the DoE should not give approval to any fee hike by the management of unaided recognised schools in Goa till  their accounts are examined and a report prepared by the committee appointed by the government.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CAG report blames Goa IDC on SEZ mess

The controversy over the SEZs in Goa seems to throw up one skeleton after the other. The latest story to feature on the issue is the sharp criticism heaped on the Goa IDC by the Comptroller and auditor general , with its report on the land allotment to the special economic zones(SEZs) throwing up irregularities committed by the corporation.

Shockingly, the report states that the corporation allotted the said land to the SEZs  even before the state government of Goa formulated a policy in this regard and criticised the process of the allotment itself stating that the corporation had not publicised its intention of allotting the land and that the land allotment itself was not based on any selection process such as inviting any 'expressions of interest" thereby lacking in transparency.The report states that the said irregularities have resulted in a loss of over Rs 38 crore to the government of Goa.

The CAG also pointed out to the deviation of the corporation from established norms of developing and allotting land directly to entrepreneurs . It also expressed surprise at IDC's decision to keep the Annual Lease Rent (ALR) fixed at the time of allotment for a lease period of 30 years calling it an " undue concession" made to the SEZs and said that this decision deprived the corporation from revising the ALR during its area-wise revisions.

Besides the CAG also castigated the Goa IDC for allotting the 24 lakh sq mt of land at Verna which was originally acquired for promotion of small and medium scale industries under the central governments assistance of RS 10 crore and which was eventually allotted to the 5 companies to set up the  SEZs.

The SEZs which have been highlighted in this regard are Planet view Mercantile(SEZ for gem and Jewellery park), Paradigm Logistics( SEZ for IT/ITES park), K Raheja Corporation ( SEZ of services), Inox Meracantile ( bio-tech park SEZ) Maxgrow Finlease( IT SEZ) - All Verna allotments for SEZ, Peninsular Pharma Research centre( biotech park) at Sancoale and Meditab Specialites ( Pharma SEZ) at Keri.

It may be recalled that the setting up of the SEZs had led to an agitation in the state with the birth of the people's movement against SEZ's called the SEZ Virodhi Manch ( SVM) which highlighted the issue of land grabbing besides pointing out to the blindness in allowing the SEZs inspite of a lack of infrastructure to house its employees etc.

The Government of Goa eventually bowed to public pressure and in January 2008, scrapped the policy of SEZs and has initiated the process at the centre to denotify the three SEZs which had already been notified.

Goa's legal "Dhirio" awaiting battles ahead?

Whoever has said that " one mans food can be another mans poison" must have been absolutely right. While a section of Goans have begun rejoicing at the passing of the bill to regularise the widely popular "dhirios" in the state of Goa, the same bill has hit animal activists adversely.

So while bull owners in Goa are busy fattening their buffaloes and bulls to get ready for the sporty duels ahead,  which seems to enthrall a section of Goans after watching hapless animals fight a bloody mess, animals activists seem to be bracing to challenge the legality of the bill which was passed in the assembly yesterday.

Animal activists point out that bullfights are in violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to animals ( PCAA) and aver that the Supreme Court has upheld this contention. The activists are left wondering how a central statute banning the bullfights can be legal only in the state of Goa.

Asserting that the bill which was moved by a private member and adopted by the state assembly, the activists claimed that the bill validity is null and void since it was not an official bill adopted by the state assembly of Goa.The opposition and the ruling parties were both blamed squarely for the passing of the bill since it was reported to have been passed unanimously.

However there is another strong lobby of citizens who have been praising the passing of the bill saying that 'dhirios' are a traditional sport of Goa and a mere trial of strength of the animals.

There are also some die hard enthusiasts who have requested the government to recognize 'dhirio' as a sport having a potential to attract tourists to Goa. Claiming that Goa is unique in the staging of this sport, these fans of 'dhirios', have urged the government to take steps to encourage the game, and promote them to attract tourists which they say would give the government the much needed revenue and generate employment for many Goans.

The Goa bull owners association has in the meanwhile seized on the legal standing of the sport and has urged the government to provide proper infrastructure for he staging of dhirios in Goa.

It may be recalled that various politicians in Goa had promised to legalise dhirios in their manifestoes of the last election, in keeping with the popular demand of many section of Goans who were lamenting the ban on the bull-fight.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Portuguese passport for Goans - why Portugal insists on "original document"

The suddengoportugal introduction of the "original document" requirement by the Portuguese authorities in Goa some years back to process the  application for the Portuguese passport has put many processes of Goans on the back burner.

It has also led to Goans lamenting at the insensitivity of Portuguese authorities in this regard. However it is to be pondered as to why such a requirement may have been introduced by Portugal before jumping to conclusions.

Documents required for application of nationality
Firstly we need to reflect on the documentation that is required of us to apply for the Portuguese passport which is quite detailed here. If one introspects these requirements , there are broadly two important documents which state authorities in Goa are expected to issue after following a prescribed procedure.

Two major documents
The two documents in question are the residence certificate and the indian passport Indian passport. Besides these two documents the rest of the documents are public documents and anybody can apply for  these documents without producing one's identity which means that a person can apply and obtain somebody else's birth and marriage documents simply by applying for it and the applicant need not be the person in question with the birth or marriage.

Impersonation of identity
This raises a very pertinent situation. Anybody who is able to apply and obtain my birth and marriage records is also able to impersonate mirrorimage my identity and apply for the Portuguese passport in my name. However he/she also needs to make an Indian passport in my name and a residence certificate issued in my name. Sadly, these two documents are known to be mired in corrupt practices in the country and are known to be generated through  mischief and fraud by people in India through various machinations.

Fraud and misrepresentation
A couple of years back we had a burning issue in Goa regarding  the residence certificate which was issued to noted actor Sanjay Dutt and Manyata in order to help them get married in Goa despite the two never residing in Goa. Later, after an uproar and the media highlighting the issue, it forced the establishment in Goa to take notice and temporarily suspend the bureaucrat who was however back in the saddle soon. Besides this, there are several cases of misrepresentation which have gone unreported and undetected. Thus it is evident that the issuance of the residence certificate does not actually follow prescribed procedures and cannot be relied upon at all.

Regarding the Indian passport, there have been numerous cases of fake passports in circulation and such rackets are known to have been unearthed regularly by authorities an India. Some of these are with connivance of the concerned departments and some others are blatantly behind the scenes. The threat of a fake passport doing the rounds in India is therefore very much real.

Why the original document
In the backdrop of such disturbing information  available with the Portuguese aPortuguese original documentuthorities, it was also discovered that many applicants had already forged their identities and had fraudulently applied and obtained Portuguese passports by impersonating genuine and eligible Goans thereby circumventing the whole policy of Portuguese  nationality for Goans.

There was therefore a grave need to identify the genuine Goans who were eligible as per the requirements which were falling short of exercising maximum introspection of an applicant. The policy for introducing the "original document" requirement from Goans has probably been a fallout of such a dilemma.

What original document does, which other documents don't
The original document seeks to clarify the identity of the applicant to a very high and reasonable degree of verification thereby protecting the interests of Goans who cannot be impersonated due to the stumbling block caused by the requirement of the original document. By seeking such a document, the Portuguese authorities are taking maximum precaution to ensure that the genuine applicants are granted the nationality and the impersonators are discouraged from even presenting the application. Very often such original documents  have a photograph which helps to identify the applicant without much doubt.

However it seems that the whole requirement of the original document has made it impossible for many Goans to even think of making the Portuguese passport due to the futility of locating such a document.

Time for a more friendly, but foolproof system?
The Portuguese authorities should therefore appoint a reliable and distinguished panel of Goans who are known for theirs honest credentials as their arbitrators in Goa to scrutinize, identify, interview, check, verify  and dispose off genuine applications without the need of an original document. A panel of arbitrators would also rule out any favouritism or bias towards any applicant by any remote possibility since the panel will have a number of members on its desk and not just one member.This will help many genuine applicants from Goa to pursue their dream of claiming the Portuguese nationality which has been eluding Goans for various reasons.

However Goans have to understand that the current requirement of seeking  the "original document" by the Portuguese authorities is a genuine concern and not merely a ploy to deny Goans the Portuguese nationality.

Goa govt making "dhirio" legal

The Goa legislative assembly on Tuesday passed a bill aimed at allowing the staging of dhirios ( bull fights ) in Goa.

The private member bill was introduced by the Congress legislator from Curtorim, Mr Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and was passed unanimously. The bill sought to project dhirio as a traditional sport of Goa and aimed to support the sport with adequate safety measures to ensure that the bulls are prevented from injuries.

The congress MLA reasoned that bullfights needed adequate protection and called Dhirio a traditional sport and a part of Goa's heritage.The bill states that " dhirios are a traditional sport in the state of Goa for many centuries and widely prevalent and popular in the state".

Currently bull fights are illegal in Goa but are staged secretly by  many passionate lobbies of the sport which is often riddled with rampant gambling. Police in the state have had to face the ire of mobs who have often retaliated against the cops for stopping the bull fights and taking the promoters of the sport to task.

It may be recalled that twelve years ago, the high court of Bombay at Goa had banned Bull fights in the state on the basis of cruelty to animals thus making "dhirios" illegal in the state of Goa.

Supreme Court orders Goa govt to halt fresh construction at Cidade.

Even while the state assembly in Goa was busy passing the bill  to regularise the ordinance aimed at saving a portion of  Cidade de Goa’s construction, the Supreme Court in an order yesterday, ruled that until it issues further orders, the structure should not be regularised nor should any fresh construction be permitted in hotel Cidade de Goa.

While slamming the Digambar Kamat government in Goa, for trying to nullify its judgement through the promulgation of an ordinance, with the motive of saving a portion of the Cidade de Goa from being demolished, the three judge bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal, G S  Singhvi and H L Dattu made its displeasure clear over the ordinance which negated the judgement of the apex court.

In an interim direction, the supreme court said until further orders, the construction should not be regularised. The order therefore means a fresh demolition threat now hangs over the controversy ridden portion of the hotel.

It may be recalled that the court had found enough reason to direct the demolition of the controversial portion of the Cidade de Goa and in January this year in response to a petition filed by the Goa foundation, had directed the demolition of the said portion within 3 months. However around a month after the judgement, the Goa government moved in swiftly to issue an ordinance to protect the hotel owner from the loss.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising appearing for the Goa foundation scathingly criticised the government of Goa for "throwing all norms to the wind in order to protect an offending building even at the cost of a judgement from the Supreme Court."

Social activists in Goa have been creating a mass awareness about the lack of morality on the part of the government in issuing the ordinance despite the direction of the apex court and have branded the move as unconstitutional

Legal experts have opined that this latest direction of the Supreme court could imply that the government would have to now petition the apex court if it desired to regularise the illegal construction. 

This therefore raises the question whether this whole episode would bring the state legislature and the apex court face to face in a battle of supremacy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goa Feni gets the GI tag at last

The Goan brew which has been synonymous with Goa for many, all  over the world has finally acquired the most coveted tag - the Geographical Indication status which had been applied for some time back and which was officially accorded.

The department of Science , technology and environment had finally received the GI certificate on Monday from the Controller General of Patents, designs trademarks and Geographical Indications.

While many Goan products are in queue for the GI status aGoan fenind many others are crying for application, Goa Feni became  the first such product originating from Goa to acquire this status while also becoming the first alcoholic spirit in the country to achieve the status.

Goa Feni will now be able to get its due recognition which was long overdue and this day is a proud one for every Goan who feared that our legacy gipassociated with the natural cashew brew might be lost due to impersonation by vested interests.

Goa Bachao Abhiyan decries ordinance

The Goa Bachao Abhiyan held a meeting in the city to protest the promulgation of the ordinance where a former governor  spoke saying that his conscience wouldn't permit him to remain silent. Mr Mohamad Fazal former governor of Goa termed the  ordinance immoral and something which was done in undue haste to benefit a particular entity.

The Goa Bachao Abhiyan observed March 23rd as a Black Day even as the "land Acquisition bill 2009" was being introduced in the assembly on Monday evening. The former governor Mr Fazal also lambasted the government saying that even dictators in the past had not resorted to such ordinances and pointed out the absence of public interest in the whole exercise.

The ordinance also came for some legal scrutiny where speakers pointed out a possible loophole from the legal angle while specifying the need for a prior approval of the President before promulgating the ordinance

Speakers who spoke at the meeting were ex convenor of the Goa Bachao Abhiyan Dr Oscar Rebello, Fr Maverick Fernandes,  Claude Alvares, Dr Francisco Colaco, Venita Coelho, Seby Rodrigues, Satish Sonak and GBA convenor Sabina Martins

Goans fight against panchayati raj act amendment

The Ganv Ghor Rakhon Manch ( GGRM) an NGO, held a silent protest outside the office of the directorate of Panchayats in Panjim demanding the quashing of the proposal for amending the Goa panchayati raj act 1994.

Groups of villagers from villages such as Curtorim, Carmona, Navelim, Davondem, Benaulim, Varca, Orlim, Nuvem, San jose de Areal, Arpora, Candolim, Calangute, Taleigao and Nerul came together with the members of the GGRM outside the Junta hall in Panjim to protest against the governments decision.

Speakers pointed out the governments attempts to undermine the rule of law and the spirit of the constitution.

Effigies of the Chief Minister and the leader of the opposition Mr Manohar Parrikar and the Panchayati raj Minister Mr Babu Azgaonkar were roughed up with shoes and sticks.The effigies had no eyes , no mouth and no ears, which some protester said was depicting the politicians of Goa who cannot see , speak nor hear the problems of the common man of Goa.

Warning that the patience of the people is running out, the protesters lamented that their memorandum made to the Chief Minister around 10 days back with an ultimatum on the subject had not been heeded and threatened to intensify the agitation if the government continues to undermine the protest.

Cheap accommodation in Goa

For the avid tourist coming to Goa, the question uppermost in the mind is how to kGoa beach at nighteep the cost of touring low and level of entertainment high.  The world tourist or the Indian tourist planning a trip to Goa or on a tour of Goa have therefore subconsciously got the word " cheap" spilling out of their mouth, which often traps them into settling for substandard accommodation at a price which could have offered them much better in Goa.

The idea that the tourists actually come with, is to keep the cost of accommodation as cheap as possible while also ensuring that it is  upto the mark. For tourists arriving in Goa, looking out for the right accommodation can often be a nightmare. Like all places in India, Goa is also infested with touts and agents who want to make that quick buck without actually caring about the kind of accommodation that they can guide you to.

It is common for  tourists arriving in Goa to be poached at the Railway stations , bus stops Goa sunset beautyor even at the airports and huddled off into cabs to be dropped at an unsuspecting hotel or lodge in Goa which most often than not, turns out to be substandard to the requirements, leaving the tired visitor unhappy with the place. Motorcycle pilots and rickshaw drivers are all part of this skillful job of convincing tourists about an exciting place, wherein  the actual place as discovered by tourists later is quite much the contrary.

Th e reason that motorcycle pilots and rickshaw owners or cabbies guide tourists to substandard accommodation is because they are paid a handsome commission by the owners of such places. The beneficiary here is only the owner and the agent and the customer is left at his wits end.

WhilGoa apartments on rente people are flocking to Goa to get a taste of its beautiful scenery, sun tanned Goan beaches, delicious cuisine, and a west influenced culture, tourists are also seeking to stay in a place which they find comfortable by all means. No one is interested in checking into hotel rooms with creaking beds, scent of mildew or with bathrooms which are unhygienic and carelessly maintained.

So while cheap accommodation may be the desire, no one is willing to compromise the word " cheap" with the quality of accommodation which may be offered. What the tourist actually means by cheap accommodation in Goa, is good. clean and pleasant accommodation at a cheap cost. However most of the agents and touts use this word " cheap" to put the tourists on the back foot and lure them into accepting sub standard accommodation which can actually ruin a holiday. 

I have observed that tourists who come without any planning for their holiday in Goa are often victims of such misguided and unsuitable accommodation which often leaves a bad taste. There cheap accomodation in goaare  some tourists who despite an unplanned holiday, are willing to move from location to location along with the agent in quest of the most suitable accommodation of their wish and are unwilling to settle for anything less. However after a long outstation journey, this search can add to the tiredness and often tourists finally compromise for a raw deal.

Planned holiday to Goa is therefore essential to ensure that the holiday is a pleasant one which can leave happy memories. There are however some good places inside Goa which can offer various options of cheap but high quality accommodation at affordable prices.

Tourists coming to Goa will always find many hotels expensive due to their higher tariffs. Also hotels are often crammed to fit in everything in one room and a small family often finds the space too little especially with the kids around.

The answer to this problem is to book self contained apartments in Goa, which are equipped with all the requirements of a hotel minus the paucity of space. Also the added benefit in these apartments is the availabilibeach side accomodation in goaty of resources such as television with cable connectivity, gas connection, utensils for cooking, kitchen area, split air conditioning, refrigerator, geyser, crisp bedding etc.

Also the rooms are often spacious with a main hall , a sofa with a dining table and a double bedroom with a cupboard area. The cost involved is much lower than the hotels in Goa, offering lesser resources but higher tariffs. Also since hotels are large properties their maintenance is often found wanting. However apartments in Goa are maintained by individual owners who give special attention to their place to ensure good customer satisfaction and  return business in the long run unlike the well known hotels who often take customers for granted.

" Good Living Styles" is a resourceful place in Goa wherapartment accomodation in goae the above requirements are well met and I have often found that clients are returning back for a holiday every year to the same place having experienced a nice holiday before. To book accommodation which is cheap in Goa with the best of amenities at beach side locations, click here.

Wish all tourists arriving in Goa, a happy holiday.

Monday, March 23, 2009

For the love of the Goan sunsets

Goa is the undisputed destination for sun sea and sand in the Indian Sunset in goa union. The place has been famous for its beaches, Churches, temples, Feni, Carnival and the delicious Goan cuisine. Of recently, Goan casinos have been another reason for some arrivals in the state

Among these interests, the Goa beach is a hot favourite both in the world and within India and people are known to get lost watching the waves thrashing against each other as the sun above them changes colour. Goa sunset copy

Sunset on the Goan beach is a  delight that few would miss while on a trip to Goa. So the evenings in Goa are normally full of people dotting all the beaches in Goa where you will find closely entwined young couples professing their love in the sand, or the elderly couple musing away their time in togetherness or the little kids frolicking on the beach as the Goan sun bids goodbye for the day.Goa sunset scene

There is a certain romance associated with the sunset in Goa. The sun changes into a variety of colours as it meanders its way downwards and drowns itself on the other side of the earth. You will witness the sun which was shining bright before six slowly dimming away with a sheen of orange enveloping it and in between visiting different shades of the colour to make for a mystifying view.

The last moment where the sun kisses the sea, is a moment of absolute bliss and has been wonderfully captured by many a avid photographer to adorn his various albums or online pursuits or simply to circulate the Goan feeling among family and friends goa beach sunset

It is for this reason that people pull out their cameras ever so willingly to capture the imagination of the Goan sunset which captivates the senses in a brilliant fashion.

Many love stories have blossomed amidst the Goan sunset and many arguments have been solved in its surroundings. It somehow lends a serene feeling to many who flock to the beach after a hard days work to unwind themselves in the  blissful Goan sunset.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Goa schools' medium of instruction, a big joke

The outrage of parents triggered by a ridiculous hike in fees in a Margao school has its genesis in the senseless and absurd decisions of our politicians in Goa who are the people responsible to inflame this kind of a situation in the state, due to the policies they espouse and  endorse due to their vested interests.

Call it their toothless foresight or their dimwitted sense of thinking, or their scant regard for the common man of Goa, our politicians in Goa are making Goans pay a heavy price for their thoughtless and spineless policies which have only made our lives expensive.

Their proxy zeal of enforcing a medium of instruction which was inspired by the hypocrisy of the official language passion, our politicians in Goa, in their quest of blinding the electorate with their brand of popular wisdom, have forced a medium of instruction down our throats in government schools which Goans are finding difficult to swallow.

The medium of instruction in the primary sections of Goa is currently either Konkani or Marathi and all the subjects are being taught in the two vernacular languages. Only these schools are being aided with grants by the government who denies such grants for the schools who opt for the medium of English. This has given rise to plenty of unaided private English medium schools who have seized on the opportunity of hapless parents hunting for English based education thereby stripping Goans with high exorbitant fees . It is quite possible that these schools are hand in glove with the government to continue this ridiculous policy of a vernacular medium in government aided schools so that they could continue to squeeze helpless parents who have no other option but to fall prey to their whims and fancies.

Our politicians are not blind in reality. They ensure that their own children are taught in rich English medium schools thereby circumventing the policy that they themselves introduced in the system. Their hypocrisy of thrusting the vernacular medium on the rest of Goan children is therefore a blatant exposure of their ulterior and warped motives.

For the children who study in government schools upto the 4th standard, the transition to the fifth standard with an overnight change of medium of instruction to English is also agonising as they find it difficult to adjust to the switch. The English diction which is already affected due to the four years of the vernacular medium takes a long time to align and often fails to do so leaving a lasting twitch in the diction for life . During this time the students who join these schools from the private English schools fare better which tends to give the original government school students an inferiority complex. A simple recipe of disaster in the Goan education system.

If you ask any call centre in Goa they have one major complaint with the Goan English of young Goans seeking employment. They find that Goans have a Konkani or marathi tinge to their English. This is not faced by the call centres with employees from metros such as Mumbai and Delhi. This has happened to us due to our medium of instruction which has  corrupted our diction and our government of Goa has therefore wilfully strived to make Goans deficient due to meet its own happy political ends.

The world stage is English. Excellence in the world can be channelised only through English. English is something which has given India the edge over China. And our politicians in Goa are going backwards. Have their brains deserted them or is there a more sleazy story behind this insane mentality of our politicians?

How are Goans expected to compete at the international or even the national level, given this sense of corrupted policies of our government who is seemingly encouraging a drain of our abilities?

If Goan politicians are so much in love with the vernacular language, they should make it a compulsory subject at all levels thereby ensuring that Goans are never out of touch with their mother tongue. However making it a medium of instruction is like a donkey masquerading like a horse.

It is time for Goa and Goans to stand up against this political stupidity of our elected representatives who are merrily watching Goans spend lakhs of rupees to teach our children in expensive private unaided schools just because they are too lazy to change a redundant and wasteful system of education.

The government in the meanwhile is currently spending crores every month in salaries to aided schools which are being reluctantly patronised by some Goans who due to the unaffordable fees of private schools,  helplessly admit their children in these schools despite the agony of watching them study in the konkani medium of instruction.

We need to change this. In an age where issues affecting the common man in Goa are brought to the fore, this one has mysteriously been left unattended and continues to bleed in a silent suffering for Goan parents who would like to instead carry on with their daily lives and leave the agitations alone. It is time that we stand up and force the government of Goa in an united voice to stop this madness of the vernacular  medium of instruction and revert to the international medium of English.

Xittuk Goencar

Goa shows the red card to the Sri Ram Sena

The loathsome plans of the Sri Ram sena to brandish its wares in Goa have hit a major block thanks to the timely ban imposed on it by the state government which moved swiftly in banning the controversially communal outfit in the state.Sri ram sena banned in Goa

Further the government has warned that whoever attempts to launch the SRS in the State would face arrest.

After the scathing criticism of the ambitious attempt of the SRS to enter Goa, the Home Minister Ravi Naik on Saturday cleared the file imposing the ban on any operations of the SRS in the State.

Stating that Goa is a peace-loving State , the Home Minister informed that notorious outfits with a history for disturbing peace in other states will be banned in Goa and asserted that the government of Goa will not allow such institutions to spoil the state's harmony.

Informing that there was a unanimous feeling among Goans to ban the SRS from the state, the Home Minister said that Goans themselves will teach such outfits a befitting lesson if they ever think of entering the state of Goa and preach their hate policies.

It may be recalled that the opposition leader Mr Manohar Parrikar had also criticised the SRS plans to enter Goa and termed them a bunch of crooks and criminals . The Home Minister appreciated the views of Mr Parrikar on the issue

Goa schools fee hike, creates furore

The parents of students studying in private management schools have finally decided that enough is enough. After witnessing a steady rise in school fees for the last many years, parents were now no longer in a mood to accept the latest hikes imposed on them.

The whole outrage of the parents was triggered by a circular proposing a hike upto around 78% in the fees of a Margao based private school.The ICSE board School issued the circular to the aggrieved parents at a meeting called by the school authorities which stated the steep hike in the fees.

An adamant school management has given birth to a committee of the parents which has decided to chalk out a plan of action to take recognized private schools to task over the same issue. The parents of students studying in such schools called for a mass meeting on March 26th 2009 at the BPS sports Club hall in Margao at 5 pm to discuss and debate the arbitrary fee structure being adopted by management of unaided schools every year. Various inputs and suggestions from parents will be accepted at the said meet which would then be handed over to the managements of the schools.

The parents are also mulling a central committee to represent themselves in dialogues between the government authorities and the school managements.

The school management is in the meanwhile justifying the steep rise against the backdrop of the expenses of the teachers salaries as per the sixth pay commission recommendations.

However a Department of Education circular dated February 24th had warned schools against imposing exorbitant fees without the departments prior approval before the academic year commenced.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Goa Bachao Abhiyan" calls for meeting over ordinance.

The Goa Bachao Abhiyan, a public movement which started with the trigger of the public opposition to the Regional plan 2011, has now decided to organise a public meeting in Panjim to demand for the revocation of the ordinance seeking to save a portion of the Cidade De Goa from being demolished.

It may be recalled that some prominent citizens including members of the GBA had met in Panjim recently on March 13, to chalk out the action plan to protest against the ordinance.The GBA has now fixed the date of the meeting to be on Monday, the 23rd of March 2009 at 4 pm at the Gomantak Maratha hall in Panjim

Interestingly, the state legislative assembly is also scheduled to meet on the same day, beginning a four day session at the secretariat, and the GBA sought to remind the elected representatives of their duty towards their citizens. The government could  introduce the bill in the coming session of the assembly to ratify the ordinance into a law.

The GBA convenor Ms Sabina Martins questioned the wisdom of the government to promulgate the ordinance in order to help the city hotel thereby circumventing the verdict of the supreme Court dated 20th January 2009.

The Goa Bachao Abhiyan criticised the government for its "despotic" governance by effecting the ordinance retrospectively from 1964 and overturning the specific violation of hotel Cidade de Goa and quashing hopes of legal recourse by anyone by keeping objections out of the purview of the courts.

Lamenting that Goa had become a lawless state due to the encouragement of the high office of the government itself, she said that the ordinance turning into law, would assert that view beyond doubt.

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