Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goa Festivals : Ribandar and Candolim celebrate the Sangodd

Fishermen in Goa consider June 29th as the sacred day which has been traditionally dedicated to  their patron saint, St Peter. On this day instead of venturing out to catch fish, the fishermen of Ribandar tie three of their traditional wooden canoes  together to form the Sangodd. Palm leaves and other flora are then used to decorate the Sangodd which is made to resemble a chapel.

The Sangodd celebrations in Ribandar commence early morning at 6.30 when the parish priest of the Ribandar Church marches to the beat of the brass band along with a confraria member who clutches to a statue of St Peter and all of them board  the well decorated Sangodd which is waiting for their oncoming. The priest subsequently blesses the village and the river and prays for the fishermen and seeks blessings for their welfare while fishing.

The Sangodd later returns to the jetty and the holy mass is celebrated at the Church. This tradition has been brought down the ages and is over 100 years old wherein the faithful in the village are convinced of the power of the blessings on this day for God to protect them and also provide them with a good catch.

The Sangodd is also celebrated at Orda in far away Candolim which is also another spectacle to watch in the Candolim creek. Sangodd at Orda is known to be celebrated for the last 200 years as most people from Orda were known to be traditional fishermen. Traditionally people from this area were known to keep their daily work routine aside for the day and use their boats to celebrate the feast with a lot of pomp and gaiety.

goa sangoddA chapel of Santa Cruz which is over 130 years old stands by the creek at Orda and the members of the Santa Cruz chapel committee who organise the Sangodd continue with the tradition of erecting a chapel on top of the Sangodd  which was earlier done with bamboos and cloth.

However, nowadays in recent modern times, a neat plywood structure is being erected on the boat instead of a temporary structure. The Holy cross is placed at the topmost point of the chapel and a statue of St Peter is carried out from the holy cross chapel in a ceremony and placed in a small niche just below the cross.

As afternoon sets in, around 2.30 pm an opening hymn is sung by the locals of Orda and subsequently professional singers take over. This year on 29th June 2009, a large number of Konkani artists which included Anil, Olga, Socorro d e Santa cruz, Sonia, Albert, T Britton besides various child artistes and local artistes performed live on board the Sangodd.

Once the gathered crowd is entertained enough, the Sangodd moves to another location to regale another section of the crowds at another point down the creek. After the first point, five more stops are made as the artistes perform much to the excitement and thrill of the large gathered crowds. Slogans such as Viva Sao Pedro can be well heard.

In Salcete, the Sangodd is celebrated at Assolna at round 3 pm along the river sal at three different places. The first point is at the jetty behind the Church, the next one is at Collean Dando at Assolna and the third one is at Ambelim. All of them tie their fishing boats together and erect a stage on board the raft. Various artists sing on these Sangodds which are witnessed by curious crowds along the banks of the river.

Sangodd is therefore a  festival celebrated all over Goa mainly by the fishing community to invoke the blessings of St Peter and to celebrate the spirit of Goa.

Vasco celebrates feast of Sao Pedro in Goa

The feast of Saint Peter or Sao Pedro, the patron saint of the fisherfolk in Goa, termed by many as the "God of the sea" was celebrated by the fishing community at Khariwaddo in Vasco on Monday 29th June 2009 as per their annual tradition. Prayers seeking better prospects in the coming fishing season were offered on the occasion.

The feast of "Sao Pedro" is an annual affair  for the fishing community residing in Vasco's areas of Khariwaddo, Non-mon, Pixem-Dongri and other areas inhabited by the community who engage in fishing activities in the port city. This is a traditional feast celebrated by these communities and dates back to centuries when their ancestors began the tradition.

This time around, after offering prayers at the Old Cross chapel at Khariwaddo, by the parish priest of St Andrew's Church Vasco,  Fr Jose Antonio Da Costa, the members of the fishing community went towards the Khariwaddo jetty in a procession to the accompaniment of the brass band. Next they embarked into the sea in colorfully decorated fishing canoes which were adorned with flowers, leaves, balloons and coconut palms.

Here the parish priest offered prayers to Sao Pedro and also sought a blessing for the fishing community and prayed for God's protection on them when they venture out into the high seas to earn their bread.

The celebrations culminated with all the fishing community groups such as the Ramponkars, the Magkars, the Boatkars and other members of the community offering prayers and then venturing into the sea in their decorated boats.

Benaulim villagers want starred hotels to fill their gulf of recession

The villagers of Benaulim are reported to have been stirred to move a resolution in the gram sabha  on Sunday 29th June 2009, seeking to secure 90 percent jobs in the village's starred hotels and the hotel industry as a whole to be utilised for Goans particularly those returning back to Goa from the Gulf countries due to recession and lay-offs.

goa hotels The hotly debated topic was among a host of topics which have been plaguing the Benaulim village for a long time including the demonic problem faced by the emergence of mega projects in the village which have been opposed by the villagers tooth and nail.

The villagers of Benaulim are quite upset over the adamant attitude of the hoteliers to recruit local villagers and a after a detailed discussion on the subject, a five member committee was formed to keep a check on hotels that fail to employ the locals.

Erring builders and megaprojects were also discussed and demands were made to take the violators to task. The issue of the Dando football ground also came up while where there were complaints about the panchayat body failing to take possession of the ground.

Goa is now WiMAX positive

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) on Monday 29th June 2009, launched the much awaited Wireless broadband service called Wimax in Goa. The WiMAX or "Worldwide interoperability for Microwave Access" is a telecommunications technology that provides wireless transmission of data.The service is currently available in Mandrem, Colvale, Siolim., Anjuna, Thivim, Mapusa, Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Pilerne, Porvorim, Panaji, Dona Paula, Cortalim, Kundaim, Vasco, Verna , Cuncolim, Chinchinim, Navelim, Mandopa, Margao, Mobor, Varca, Majorda and Colva, Benaulim is being covered under the Colva tower.

 bsnl wimax BSNL has currently installed twenty five base transreceiver stations on mobile towers across the state of Goa predominantly in coastal and urban areas to serve the purpose and BSNL aims to take the benefits of broadband to customers across the state of Goa.

WiMAX can be accessed through a simple plug and play indoor device called the Customer Premise Equipment or CPE which allows upgrades to future upgrades as well.

How to get the WiMAX connection in Goa

Go to a  BSNL customer service centre and ask for a customer application form. A passport size photograph and proof of identity and proof of address is required.

A BSNL-SOMA network technician will visit your premises and check for feasibility of BSNL coverage and network strength in your respective area.

After the verification process is over, a payment of Rs 5000 is to be made towards the CPE ( Customer Premise Equipment) a simple plug-and-play indoor device which is about the size of a landline handset.

Next, a one month security deposit is to be deposited with BSNL which is as per the amount dependent on the pan chosen by you plus an amount of Rs 827 towards installation charges and service tax. Annual payments instead of monthly  are allowed a rebate equal to two months waiver.

The whole procedure is slated to take a maximum of 48 hours according to SOMA networks.

Plans currently available with BSNL

Wimax broadband in Goa Home users have a choice of plans between 256 kbps and 512 kbps. The tariff for 256 kbps is Rs 1000 and for 512 kbps is Rs 1800 per month.

Business users have four options. Rs 4,400 for 256 kbps, Rs 8,000 for 512 kbps, Rs 12,000 for 1024 kbps and Rs 20,000 for 2048 kbps.

Home users have to purchase the CPE while business users can avail of a free CPE subject to conditions which include a 3 year guaranteed subscription. The cost of the CPE for all types of users has been fixed at Rs 5000.

Goa University to give education facilities a boost

The Goa university seems to have decided that they wont let the silver jubilee year of its establishment go down like any other ordinary year. In fact in commemoration of its silver jubilee the university has made a series of announcements aimed at enhancing its educational facilities including adding new departments to its list which include departments of mass communication and media research, hotel management and tourism with central and state government aid and also incorporating a distance education programme through broadband facility besides non formal course programmes which may not require a degree qualification from applicants but instead aim to upgrade their selves in different fields.

Among other proposals thgoa-universitye Goa university will also venture to make lectures of its teachers available on the internet to enable students to catch up with the lectures in case they missed them or need to understand, revise or confirm  details of the lectures. The Goa university plans to move from education based system to a knowledge based system according to the Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof Dilip Deobagkar

The silver jubilee year of the Goa university will commence with its foundation day function to be conducted at Kala Academy on June 30.Delivering a lecture on the occasion will be the noted molecular bio-physicist Prof P Balaram who will lecture on " Research and higher education - Indian Challenges". Former vice-chancellors and Registrars of the University are also expected to be felicitated on the occasion.

The Governor Mr SS Sidhu is expected to be the Chief guest on the occasion while the Chief Minister Mr Digambar Kamat will be the guest of honour. The event will be followed by a classical music concert where young and talented artistes are expected to perform.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, the university expects to get five times more grants this year from the University grants commission due to its past performance.

CCP to plead with Church, Chief Minister, to use Bainguinim

Political heavyweights,  clergymen, a childrens school, a temple committee and other strong vociferous voices opposing the waste management plant slated to come up at Bainguinim has propelled the Corporation of the city of Panaji (CCP) to approach the Archbishop Phillip Neri Ferrao, and the Chief Minister besides approaching MLAs and others to intervene in the matter to find a solution to the vexed problem facing the corporation.

The CCP held a special meeting on Monday where it was resolved to request the Archbishop and the Chief Minister to solve the dispute with the Panchayat, residents of Old Goa and the parish Church.

In the meantime, in order to get rid of the garbage  right now, the CCP had decided to acquire land near the KTC bus stand on lease for segregating the city garbage before sending it to the treatment plant. the CCP also plans to build composting pits at the site and has assured that no garbage will be dumped there.

Goa police to patrol on "Robins"

In a bid to make the police presence more stronger in the state of Goa and to enhance the response time of distress calls received at Police control rooms in Goa, the Goa police will now be seen in a new patrolling mode on motorcycles which have been code named as "Robins" and which will be henceforth located at strategic locations all over the state of Goa.

Goa being highly urbanised and accessible by Roads, the "Robins" are efficient for intensive patrolling which may be required in certain areas of Goa and which can be achieved through mobile patrolling motorcycles, informed the Director General of Police Mr Bhimsen Bassi.

30 new motorcycles are initially being introduced for integrated beat patrolling in the state and these motorcycles will be under the operational control of PCR while the local police will have administrative control. The Robins will be assisted by mobile patrol vans and would be more effective while patrolling in congested places, busy market places , narrow lanes and during traffic congestion.

Due to the sharp rise in Goa's population and the influx of migrants into the state, it has forced the police to stretch their duty hours and the Robins are expected to help towards better community policing.

Goa being a tourist spot, it is imperative that the police presence in the streets as well as attendance to people in distress is available. Robins will be manned by two uniformed policemen which include a head constable and a police constable and will be provided with a wireless set for communications.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Malaria reduces in Candolim and Calangute at Goa

A hotbed of malarial infections due to migrant labour at construction sites and hotels around the area, the Candolim-Calangute coastal belt has begun to show a steady reduction in malaria cases in recent years due to the pro-active measures taken by the health authorities in the area. The health authorities are known to have acted with a double strategy to deal with the menace and the results are known to be quite good.

In a two-pronged approach they tackled the parasite which is the actual malaria germ and also the vector which is the mosquito which breeds in fresh water. In both these areas, the health authorities of Goa demonstrated a tight surveillance of the construction sites and the migrant labourers along the coastal belt.

The result of the approach has been positive with the figures for the last three years at the Candolim Health centre showing a marked improvement in the situation.

In the year 2007, the health centre which looks after eight villages around the Candolim and Calangute area , had recorded malaria in Goa5,198 cases of malaria out of which 1,348 were of the plasmodium falciparum type. Falciparum is a dangerous malarial infection which can cause cerebral malaria and even death. The above figures had served to recognise the whole belt as a high risk area and therefore an aggressive counter strategy was evolved where the health authorities began demanding 100% health cards from the migrant labourers.

Builders were also sought to be brought in line with the Candolim PHC demanding on them to carry out anti-larval measures under the supervision of the health staff and those refusing to do so were penalised ad around Rs 70,000 was recovered from them. The PHC is known to have made over 4000 health cards and renewed nearly 700 health cards in the year 2007

Such a sustained campaign gradually saw the malarial cases in Candolim PHC declining to 2,921 in 2008 out of which only 778 were of the falciparum type. The fines had surged to Rs 1,14,000. The PHC also made over 5550 new health cards and renewed over 1300 cards.

This year in 2009, upto the month of May, the figures have continued to be encouraging and the malaria figures for the candolim calangute belt have been only around 380 with merely  100 falciparum cases. Fines totaling over Rs 15,000 have also been collected.

For parasite control, the PHC has organised many migrant screening camps to zero in on the daily wage labourers. Private practitioners in the area were also given copies of the national drug policy 2008 on malaria treatment to enhance rationality in treatment.

To tackle vector control, the PHC conducted house-to-house campaigns in malaria sensitive areas such as Khobra vaddo in Calangute, Ximvaddo in Arpora, Araddi in Candolim, Sonarbhatt in Verem and the 20 point programme areas of Nerul and Sangolda.

The PHC also had a propaganda to popularise the  insecticide-treated bed nets at construction sites for migrant workers and also alerted and activated the village health and sanitation committees and introduced ultra low volume fogging machines in all sensitive areas.

More staff on construction sites, improved mobility in the field for checks and improved laboratory services by putting one additional laboratory technician were the other measures adopted by the PHC.All these measures have proven to give good results and the incidence of malarial infection has reduced considerably.

Tourists all over the world are wary about malaria when they travel toanti-malaria malarone Goa and are known to be taking preventive measures such as intake of "malarone" tablets to ward off the infection should they be bitten by infected mosquitoes. Malarone is used to prevent or treat the type of malaria infection known as Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Plasmodium falciparum belongs to one particular family of malaria parasites. It affects the blood and liver. Malarone works by killing this parasite.

Malarone is a combination drug (Atovaquone and Proguanil), which was licensed in the UK back in 1997 for use as a treatment for Malaria. Malarone is considered to be non addictive. However it is better to consult your doctor before taking Malarone.To buy Malarone online, Click here.

CRRI to study Goa traffic patterns to reduce accidents

With a view to reduce the accidents in road mishaps in Goa as also to streamline the traffic in the state, the Goa government has roped in the services of the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) New Delhi. the chief Minister of Goa Mr Digambar Kamat said that it was time Goa had a long term association with an organisation to draw up a traffic plan for Goa. The CRRI has therefore been hired to study the traffic situation in the state and draw up plans both short and long term to help drastically reduce road accidents in the state.Goa traffic

A three member team headed by director of CRRI Dr S Gangopadhyay was therefore in Goa to make preliminary observations and later addressed a press conference along with his colleagues. The government of Goa has expressed a serious concern and wants to draw up a comprehensive road traffic policy plan for Goa to reduce accidents.

CRRI indicated that to reduce accidents in Goa, they would need to undertake a comprehensive traffic study which would cover several aspects such as parking, encroachments, footpath facilities, pedestrian behavior, road markings and signages. CRRI has reportedly completed traffic studies for several cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Jaipur and their recommendations are presently being followed in these cities.

Murli Deora talks piped gas for Goa by 2012

Panjim and Margao could be the first cities in Goa to receive piped Gas by 2012, according to the information given by the Union Petroleum and natural gas minister Mr Murli Deora who has reportedly cleared a proposal for tapping the Dabhol-Bangalore gas project in Gokak, Karnataka which would supply the gas to the two cites in north and south Goa once the project is completed in 2012. Other parts of the state are expected to be covered subsequently.

gas pipeline for Goa The over 400km long pipeline from Gokak to Goa is expected to cost around Rs 1,600 crore  and would be laid by the Gas authority of India Limited ( GAIL).

The gas is expected to be used for various purposes including cooking in households. The state of Goa would enter into a joint venture to supply the gas to households according to the chief Minister of Goa, Mr Digambar Kamat.

Carrying of cylinders is hopefully going to be a thing of the past once the above project gets commissioned in the state of Goa

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ferry boat ride wont be free in Goa anymore

For those who loved the thrill of hopping on to a Goan ferry boat and enthuse themselves to back and forth  rides across rivers all over Goa may now have to pay a little fee to allow themselves these little flowing pleasures in Goa. Soon enough, the government of Goa has decided that vehicles such as two wheelers and four wheelers will be charged a higher fee besides normal passengers also being charged a nominal fee ranging from 50 paise to one rupee per person.

Till now passengers on ferry boats in Goa were allowed free travel but the latest announcement made by river navigation minister Mr Sudhin ferry boat ride in Goa Dhavlikar to impose the fees will be effective from July 2009. From July, fees for all vehicles such as two wheelers, cars, pick-ups and trucks will be raised as the new measures are expected to help increase the revenue by about Rs 1.5 crore per annum.

However the residents of islands such as Chorao and Divar would be given a waiver of ferry charges after producing an identification card, such as a panchayat certificate stating the ward and village panchayat or an electoral photo identity card which would be accepted to allow passengers a free ride.

The measure to charge fees for people playing on ferries is also expected to ease the load on the Panjim - Chorao ferry which is currently used freely by people from Mayem, Bicholim and Sanquelim thereby burdening the people from Chorao who had to stand in long queues to avail of the ferry service and often ended up late to their destinations.

Goa's Mayem Lake crying for development

Mayem lake which is a natural beauty spot in Goa's hinterland side, has been a place visited by Goans who love to go here due to the natural scenic beauty of the place. However all such places need maintenance and help from the government if they should be promoted as the ideal tourist destinations for the world tourist. This  factor seems to be neglected as far as the Mayem lake is concerned and the local people of Mayem are therefore unhappy with the attitude of the government towards this beautiful spot which they feel is not being given due attention.

Blaming the tourism department, the residents of Mayem village feel that the tourism department has not undertaken any maintenance and development of the lake surroundings which is an incentive for tourists visiting the place.

Mayem lake is indeed a beautiful tourist spot with peaceful and serene surroundings but unfortunately lacks proper development as a result of which the comayem lake in Goandition of the lake is deteriorating. This has happened despite the residents of the area demanding from the authorities that they carry out some beautification activities of the lake and develop its surroundings . However there has been no response from the government.

The local population is therefore bitter with the government that such a beautiful spot has been neglected  by the government thereby denying the local population a means of generating some business revenue through the avenues with visiting tourists as also help the farmers around the area to get sufficient water supply for their fields and agricultural farms.

The lake which has a perimeter of about a kilometer has about three water streams locally named as " vhodlem tollem ( big lake)", "Shetwad Zara" and " Dhaktem Tollem"( small lake). the water of Vhoddlem tollem is used for fields  and agricultural farms while water from dhaktem tollem is utilised by farmers . Both these streams meet at 'fovachi kond" and this water is used for rabi crop cultivation by farmers from Kumbharwada, Sashtiwada and Sawnwada.

The main water source of the lake is the "shetwad zara"  which has weakened thereby leading to a drop in the lake's water level. During the past years the farmers used to de-silt the lake near its main stream but now with many villagers giving up farming , this practice has been discontinued.

The villagers are now expecting the panchayat and the  government authorities to see that the water resources are not affected and are maintained properly,

It is a general feeling among the villagers of Mayem lake that due to the basic amenities not being available at the lake tourists are reluctant to pay a visit to the place. According to them the negligence of the authorities towards beautification of the lake and the lack of proper facilities like boating, standard eateries and restaurants, cottages with proper amenities at reasonable rates, good gardens etc, the tourists have slowly declined and now rarely visit the spot. Also ironically, the private tourist buses which take tourists on sight seeing tours around the state of Goa do not include Mayem lake in their tour itinerary due to which the locals lose out on any such business.

The general perception  therefore is that while Mayem lake is a beautiful spot the government needs to step in and improve and enhance the facilities which have ample scope for development which could help restore and beautify this area with gardens, recreation facilities, restaurants, etc to ensure that this beautiful spot on is added more strongly on the tourist map of Goa.

Rain shortfall dips water in Goa's dams

The shortfall in the rainfall owing to a dry spell currently observed in Goa has led to a significantly lower water level being recorded at the state's major dams of Anjunem and Selaulim. The shortfall at this time in the rainfall against last year is over 10 cms. while the water level in the Anjunem dam was recorded at 74 cms by the end of June in 2008, this year the water level recorded during the same period has been found to be only 67.66 cm which is close to the minimum water level of the dam which is 62 cms.

Last year the Anjunem dam had a water presence of 770 ha/m during the above period. However the current amount of water has been measured to be only 264.7 ha/m as of June 25 2009.selaulim dam

The water level in the Selaulim dam for the year 2008 was 34.74 cm as of June 25 2008 with 10,682 ha/m of water present in the dam. however this year as of June 25 2009, the water level in the dam is 34.74 with the water present in the dam being nearly half the quantity at 5788.40 ha/m. Thankfully, the figure is much above the minimum height of water recorded in the dam which is 20.42 cm.

The water resources department has however dispelled any fears and informed that the current water stored in the dam would suffice the state for the next two months without causing any worries of shortages and the department expected the  water levels to rise by July as the rains begin to pick up.

The water levels in the major water reservoirs of the state are also lower than last year. the water levels at Amthani and Chapoli reservoirs were found to be lesser than last year during the same period. the water level at Opa has also come down this year as compared to 2008.

Rainfall in Goa steadily picking up

Amidst fears of a bad monsoon season and a bleak outlook on farmers in Goa, there are indicators that the rainfall in Goa was steadily picking up. rainfall which deserted Goa for most part of June has slowly opened up mostly in north Goa while Ponda taluka in South Goa has recorded the highest rainfall of 152.5 mm till around 5.30 pm on Saturday 27th June 2009.However the meteorological department sources have said that rainfall is still lacking by over 40 points in Goa.

Seasonal rainfall so far has been recorded at 710.2 mm while the normal rainfall has to be around 764.4 mm. The highest rainfall on Friday 26th June 2009 was 107mm for this season which is lesser than the average recorded in June last year. However it is said to be improving steadily.

Meanwhile the agricultural directorate has expressed hope that things will improve for the farmers of the state as the situation has slowly begun to favour the rain rather than the shine in Goa. farmers in Goa heaved a sigh of relief as the rains had begun to show its better side after pouring in many parts of Salcete earlier this week and light showers to heavy rainfall was witnessed in places such as Majorda, Colva, Nuvem , Navelim, Betalbatim, etc.

goa farmers

The transplantation process in Goa is expected to begin by the end of June and by July 15 the directorate hopes that the transplantation process would be completed and that would be a big relief to the farmers in Goa. while the monsoon had started off pretty well, there was a delay of 10-12 days when the rains lacked any force to pour and there was a dry spell in the state during this period which worried both the farmers as well as the government of Goa.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Goa in the rains entices tourists with bargain deals

Goa in the rains is supposed to be as exotic as Goa in the winter. However this charm of Goa in the rains has to be seen to be believed. Green verdant fields dotted with palm trees and a rain soaked environment where the rain spikes hard into the red soil evoking life out of the Goan earth is a sight to behold because like they say, when it rains in Goa it actually pours.Goa in the rains

The boat cruises are another delight to savour in Goa at this time of the year when the rains beckon Goa like a beautiful veil and cruising on the Goan boats can be an wanton attraction for all ages,  from the die hard romantic to the fagged out businessman or the relaxed octogenarian finding the pleasure too hard to resist in Goa.

For some people in northern India, this is also a good time to check out on a vacation to Goa since the schools in Delhi are normally on vacation mode and prices are always at its bottom at this time of the year, providing a great Goan holiday. goa in rains

What's making the holidays more enticing to tourists this year are the tariffs of hotels in Goa which have dropped to almost half or lesser in the starred hotels while the smaller or medium sized hotels have also reduced rates by over 50 %.

So it is a win-win situation for the avid tourist to Goa as well as the hotel sector. While Indian tourists come to Goa to avail of the twin benefits of reduced tariffs and Goa in the monsoons delight, the foreign tourists are normally here to enjoy Goa in the rains.

So among he various packages on offer , the three day packages are normally picked up faster by the tourists  where a three day stay ranges between 12,000 and 21,000 which include transfers from and to the airport/railway station, with three meals a day and in certain cases, use of the hotel spa and the swimming pool.Goan feasts in the rains

Some starred hotels have gone full blown in the offer package with a reputed five star hotel in the south of Goa offering a tantalising package for three nights which includes transfers from airport/railway station, welcome drinks, all buffet meals, sight seeing, swimming pool usage, boat cruising, free use of steam and sauna and daily beverages for one hour, all at a bargain price of Rs 17999 which also throws in a complimentary stay for a child under 12 years of age. Click here for more details.

However competition is stiff in this times and the same offer as above is beaten by another starred hotel in south Goa which offers similar facilities for as little as 11,999 if booked 2 weeks in advance of the check-in date.North Goa is also not far behind in the rates-on-offer packages. A prominent north Goa hotel has a tempting monsoon package starting at Rs 12,800 which goes upto Rs 21,150. Other packages also range from 15,200 up to Rs 35,999, for a couple for a two night stay. Click here for more details

The serviced apartments in Goa are also showing a steady rise in bookings because many tourists find the apartments very convenient and have a better freedom to move around in Goa as well as keeping their room tariffs even lower while enjoying similar benefits.

The tourism department in Goa in the meanwhile is upbeat about the number of tourists in June this year which has shown a steady rise in the arrivals of tourists to the state. No doubt this is the best time to visit a must-see fun-filled, sun-kissed and now rain-drenching destination such as Goa.

Sibals Education reform plans sets Goa thinking

When the HRD Minister Mr Kapil Sibal proposed some ground breaking reforms in education including a proposal to do away with the class X exams on June 25th 2009, the entire country digested the news with a lot of skepticism. Goa was no different and the voices in the state are completely mixed as to what would be the outcome of such an enforcement should it come by our way.

students joy back In Sibal's words, by this proposal he intends to de-stress the existing education system where the students are currently suffering from a trauma towards exams. By this move the HRD minister aims to bring some joy back into the childhood and high school for students who feel stressed in the current scenario.

The proposal also mooted a overhaul of the education system replacing marks with grades, establishing an over-arching higher education authority under a one-nation, one-board principle and introducing a tough law to prevent, prohibit and  punish educational malpractices. A semester system is also a part of the plans.

Sibal anticipated  resistance from state governments in the case of making the standard X exams optional but was hopeful of getting around the hurdles by holding negotiations with everyone. He also stressed that the proposal was not his personal decisstudents and examsion but was presented after a panel of educationists deliberated and  discussed  over it for a period of time.

The proposal could be implemented in the CBSE schools in the earlier stage as these schools are under the centre and the government can implement the proposal here without interference. Making the class X exams optional would mean that students who want to continue in the same school and do not need a CBSE certificate can opt not to appear for the board exams. They are expected to be judged on quarterly assessments. However students who want to move to another school after class X will need to answer the board exam.

Some educationists in Goa preferred to understand the pstudents answering exams in Goaolicy first before commenting on it while some others lamented that every government announces different policies and constant changes in educational reforms will not help anyone. However there are some others who are very receptive to the reforms in Goa.

While some Goans felt that the SSC exams were an unwanted pressure for those who want to develop their skills, it may be required for those who want to pursue their studies. Grading was also expected to help in warding off the rank system which many Goans felt  leads to an inferiority complex among students. A uniform syllabus is also considered necessary as students move out of Goa to join professional colleges. However students in Goa also feel that the marks and percentages help to motivate students to perform better and that the current proposal could be a dampener for some students

Five new industrial units smile on Goa

With the Goan industrial environment looking bleak and the spectre of world recession dangling over the state, added to the alarm of the unemployment figures rising steadily, it was welcome news to hear that five new plants are coming up in the state giving some hope to the unemployed Goans as well as to the revenue streams of Goa. The five units are expected to employ around 330 people in the state.

The five industries are expected to be set up in different locations of Goa by entrepreneurs at an investment of Rs 138 crore employing over 330 people. A high powered co-ordination committee chaired by Goa industries the Chief Minister Mr Digambar Kamat gave the approval for setting up these companies. The committee also gave the green signal to 14 other large industries for expansion, graduation and regularisation at a proposed capital investment of over 725 crore and an employment potential of over 1680 people in Goa.

Among the five approved industries there are two new projects ( M/S OMSO Orient Printing Machine Pvt Ltd and M/s Creative Moulds (INDIA) Pvt Ltd which are expected to be coming up at Harvalem in Bicholim. The two new companies are expected to manufacture printing machines, injection moulds and spares for the same. These companies have a capacity of employing around 23 people

The third industry is to be set up by M/s Teracom Ltd, which would manufacture insulated wire, cable/CDMA/GSM/VRLA batteries at Kundaim Industrial estate and would employ around 55 people.

The fourth industry at Codli village in Sanguem taluka is a beneficiation plant that has an employment potential of around 26 employees and is to be set up by Sesa Goa Ltd.

However the major industry among the five is that of GKB High tech lenses Pvt Ltd in Tivim Industrial estate which has a capacity to employ 223 persons thereby helping Goa's employment needs.

Despite the recession faced in the industry all over the world, this influx of industries into Goa is a welcome sign and would help the state to tide over the unemployment problems currently faced in Goa.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Abide by Indian laws when in Goa - Shantaram to foreigners

In reaction to the news reports about some British citizens who have purchased land and have now approached the British Prime Minister Mr Gordon Brown, complaining that the sale deeds of their properties are not being registered by sub-registrars in Goa, Rajya Sabha MP Mr Shantaram Naik  advised the affected British Nationals to comply with Indian laws and also appreciate the problems of the state of Goa and its people, caused by the large-scale execution of purchase deeds by foreign nationals.

Pointing out that Goa has only an area of 3702 square kilometres he said that Goans have a natural tendency to be protective about their shantaram Naik scarce land resources.

Mr. Shantaram Naik while stressing that Goa is not against any specific foreign nationality, also revealed that there are many foreign nationals who do not fulfill the requirement of 182 days stay in India and without holding a business visa attempt to misrepresent and misguide the authorities to enter into land dealings which is illegal and said that such attempts have to be firmly dealt with and put to an end.

5 Goa offshore Casino Licences expire. Daggers roll out

The Goa state legislative assembly's ad hoc committee on home affairs chaired by the leader of the opposition Mr Manohar Parrikar has asked the government to immediately halt the operations of five out of six offshore casinos in the state as their licences to anchor within port premises had expired recently, as per the information provided to the committee by the captain of Ports, Capt A P Mascarenhas.

Pride of Goa casino

Since the licences had already expired, Mr Parrikar stated that it is a direct irregularity to allow such off-shore casinos to operate in Mandovi waters and said that he had made this known to the captain of ports.

The five casinos are Caravela, Casino Royale, Pride Of Goa, Rio and maharaja. The only casino to still have a licence to operate in the Mandovi waters is MV Arabian King.

CCP urges plastics out of ice-creams in Panjim

The CCP commissioner of Panjim Mr Sanjith Rodrigues who was re-appointed for another stint in the capital city has taken over the reins of the city once again and is at his best known task faster than the offenders could blink their eyelids. While the city restaurants and hotels are facing the ire of the corporation for strewing garbage outside thereby inviting hefty penalties, the others who fail to segregate garbage in separate bags have been learning the hard way to either fall in line or manage their own garbage affairs themselves.

The latest area which the CCP ( corporation of the city of Panjim) has addressed is the problem of plastic cups in which ice creams are served in the city which adds to the garbage in the form ogarbage binf plastic. The CCP has now asked all ice cream parlours in the city to stop using plastic containers, which is surely a way forward to tackle the garbage menace.

With this measure, the CCP rightly hopes that the daily garbage in Goa's capital city will be reduced considerably. Pananji is known to generate tonnes of plastic garbage including plastic bags every month and the proprietors of ice cream companies such as Baskin Robbins, Naturals Ice cream and Kwality Walls with parlours in the city have been asked to co-operate and the response is encouraging.

The CCP has also asked cafes and eateries in the city to serve customers in steel cups instead of plastic ones. The next people who hopefully should be reined in are the soft drink and water bottle companies  who generate maximum garbage besides the plastic bag manufacturers who probably top the list.

The state of Goa should emulate the example set by the CCP and address the core areas from where such garbage is generated and make the stakeholders accountable for the proliferation of garbage. This would be a wholesome approach to deal with the menace rather than burden Goans with the stench and foul litter which has become a gargantuan issue all over Goa.


Recession arrives in Goa

Recession, the dreaded word which has left the business community all over the world in the cold for close to two years now, has begun to show its might in the industrial sector of tourism-happy Goa, with over 5000 people losing their jobs to the global meltdown which has adversely affected the state. The industries hard hit in Goa include mining, export, fishing, cashew trade and tourism.

While over 5000 workers have lost their jobs from various industries, many other workers are believed to have lost their jobs in the non-farming and other such sectors which mostly included people on a temporary contractual basis and seasonally employed individuals.

Goan industrialists have therefore put off many of their ambitious projects due to the recession which have hit employees who may have ben laid off due to lack of work.However some industries have taken the recessionary effect in their stride and have not yet laid off any workers despite feeling the pinch of the recession. Zuari Industries Limited is one such giant industry in Goa which has been outstanding towards its employees in such turbulent times.

However with the recessionary mood prevailing in industries, the relations between the industries management and the workers have been under strain and many tensions exist in the work environment.

Goa's excise revenue has also witnessed a dip with many pharmaceutical companies shifting their manufacturing units to other parts of the country where they can enjoy tax holidays and industrial benefits thereby recording a sharp fall in the collection of the excise department as compared to the previous years.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Goan Sao Joao Kopels

At the Sao Joao festival in Goa, the sight to watch is of the Sao Joao "kopel". The Kopel is a type of a crown traditionally made for the sons in laws and is now become a trendy headgear for all revellers at the Sao Joao festival. Innovation seems to have no limit at the Sao Joao Kopel contest with each reveller bettering the other with a Kopel constitution full of every kind of Goan plant leaves ,flowers, buds, shrubs etc. Below are some tempting 'kopels" which made it for the day on 24th June 2009.

Sao Joao Kopel Sao Joao kopels
Sao joao celebrations Goan Sao Joao Kopel
The Goan Sao Joao Kopel competition Kopel at Goan Sao Joao

Viva Sao Joao

The Goan Sao Joao Song

Here's the famous Goan Sao Joao song which lends the extra fervour to the Sao Joao Spirit in Goa. From the north to the south of Goa, the Sao Joao song is sung with a lot of love and emotion by Goans. The lyrics of the  song are a wonderful combination narrating the nostalgia an old rustic Goan village camaraderie which is melodious to the ears and the tune tends to reverberate the senses long after the song is sung and over with.

Sao Joao fest  

                   SAO JOAO CANTAR

Sogle ami zanvoim vortotaum, chodda tempan bhetleaum
Sao joao-chem festh mhunnon ami manvoddea aileaum
Mateak him kopelam ghalun uddok navonk bhair sorleaum
Aichea dissak voddle ami nokom khuim pauleaum.

Sao Joao, Sao Joao gunvta mure vatt amkam dissona
Aicho dis urbecho konn konnak hansona
Choll-re pie-re tum illo ghe-re faleam kaim mevona
Oslim festam vorsak kiteak don pauti enam.

Zanvoim ami festak aileaum mun ganvan bobau poddla
Mhojea sasupain tin kouxe soro addla
Tin kudvanchim sandnam keleant ani dhukor marla
Sezarchea konsu manan ponos daddla.

Sao Joao, Sao Joao gunvta mure vatt amkam dissona
Aicho dis urbecho konn konnak hansona
Choll-re pie-re tum illo ghe-re faleam kaim mevona
Oslim festam vorsak kiteak don pauti enam.

Vhooddilanchea kaiddea pormonem uddok nataum bhaimchem
Khoddegant fest hem amchem manvoddechem
Pondra diss alchenoi hangache bhorench ami ghevchem
Choll atam sao joao vhoria maguir tem pouchem.

Sao Joao, Sao Joao gunvta mure vatt amkam dissona
Aicho dis urbecho konn konnak hansona
Choll-re pie-re tum illo ghe-re faleam kaim mevona
Oslim festam vorsak kiteak don pauti enam.

Viva Sao Joao

Goa celebrates Sao Joao with pomp and gusto

Goans were their usual festive and colourful  selves on 24th June 2009 celebrating the feast of St John the Baptist all over Goa commonly known as the day of Sao Joao. The common sights were of people in all parts of Goa lustily cheering in water bodies such as wells, pools, lakes, ponds and swimming pools. Despite the rains playing truant thanks to the strange weather prevailing in the state at present, the chant of "viva Sao Joao' unmistakably rent the air all over Goa while drenched revellers made hay with friends neighbours and family.

Sao joao boat festivalIn Siolim, the boat parade on the Chapora tributary halted opposite the St Anthony's church where all the participants adorned the huge cross with "kopels". As the evening wore on, the whole area was packed with Sao Joao revellers who were also being entertained with a variety of programmes conducted from a well set up stage. So cultural dances, konkani songs and alive band accompanied the revelry of the people who had come from far and wide to witness this unique tradition at Siolim during the Sao Joao festival. The boats were colourfully dressed as their occupants were in a vibrant mood with similar coloured clothing and innovative "kopels" adorning their heads.

Sao Joao revellers

Similar celebrations were held in areas of Rodrigues vaddo, Tereiro vaddo and Gaunsavaddo in Siolim with traditional instruments such as Ghumot wonderfully beating to the wanton song. So as the revellers chanted and passed through he village, they halted at various chapels to offer prayers  and the crosses were adorned with the "kopels". 

In Salcete celebrations were held all over with various people from all walks of life joining in the fun and the revelry. In Benaulim revellers wereSao Joao festival in Goa seen moving around for the next bountiful water body and wells were a favorite here as there are many of them in the village. In Colva, the revellers were seen marching with the traditional palm stick "piddo" as they were chanting the Sao Joao song in which that line "oslim festam vorsak kiteak dhonn pauti enam" seemed to beautifully lament about the impending need for the feast to come more than once every year. 

In Anjuna in North Goa,there was a traditional procession in which the wards of Batim, Zor, Grande Chinvar and Pequeno Chinvar all came together and made their way to the spring in Zorivaddo while also offering prayers at all the chapels on the way. "Sanna" and "Godshem" were offered by people from those homes which have an impending marriage or a birth of someone in their house.Sao Joao in Salcete

At Baga, one could not miss the traditional Sangodd as people lined up on the Arpora bank of the Baga creek to watch the performances aboard a floating Sangodd. A Sangodd is made up of boats tied together with a platform in between them and various humorous and satire filled songs and dialogues are performed on this platform to the cheer of the crowd and the accompaniment of the brass band wherever required. Men masquerading as women are also a common sight at this event.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Goan Parents file PIL against DoE

The Department of Education has been taken to court by the All Goa Unaided Schools Parents Association (AGUSPA) for failing to implement and enforce the All Goa School Education Act, 1984 and All Goa School Education Rules, 1986. The "AGUSPA" had earlier in a meeting organised on 13 June at Margao had decided to file the PIL against the DoE for its continuous inaction to provide relief against the high handedness of unaided schools.

The rules specified in the act are enough to protect parents from arbitrary fee hikes by unaided schools. However the Education department is least bothered to implement the rules even as parents have been making demands of them to enforce the rules for the last three years. While unaided schools are required tGoa parents go to courto obtain a clearance from the Director of education before the hike in fees this procedure is blatantly ignored.

It was therefore the inaction of the constituted body that forced the AGUSPA to file the PIL before the division bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday 23rd June 2009. The Court was requested by Jos Peter D'Souza, the counsel for the petitioner that till the date of the next hearing the DoE should not grant approval to any school to increase its fees. The Court has granted this request of the petitioner.

The petition said that every academic year, all the unaided schools are required to file audit reports before the directorate of education which ahs to be audited by them and also by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India(CAG). But the petitioner stated that this was hardly followed. Also while every school has to constitute a 15 member committee with representation from parents, teachers and management along with official of the directorate of education, this rule is also not followed. The committee is  necessary as it has to analyse the accounts and expenses of the school before the school can obtain approval for the revised fee structure. The AGUSPA has pointed out that none of the 116 unaided schools in the state have such a committee.

The matter was adjourned after two weeks as the Advocate general Subodh Kantak sought time to study the matter and the court has granted the same

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sao Joao celebrations beckon Goa

The feast of Saint John the Baptist is a favourite among Goans and the entire state gets set at this time of the year to get its watery act together to celebrate what is commonly known as "Sao Joao" festival in Goa. In Salcete, the feast is celebrated with a lot of gusto especially in the village of Benaulim which has the Church of St John the Baptist and the feast is on the 24th Of June. Sao Joao Day!

The Church of St John the Baptist in Benaulim is located on the  picturesque hillock situated at the entrance of Colva and towards  Benaulim. This Church also has a unique architecture and is well admired by tourists whsao joao revelry in Goao flock to the place when they visit Colva and Benaulim. Novenas are held for 9 days prior to the feast day and the feast is celebrated with a lot of pomp and gaiety known to be part of such feasts in Goa. This time as usual there are a lot of programmes lined up including singing and dancing acts besides the prospect of watching a tantalising soccer match. Besides the  Benaulim parish, the feast is also celebrated in other villages of Goa such as Cortalim, Harmal and Terekhol in the north.

An unique tradition which runs is that the son-in-law gets invited to the brides house on the feast day. Also the newly married son-in-law wears a crown of fruits or leaves and jumps into the well. It is believed that it is for this very reason that many youngsters  jump in wells all over Goa in celebration and revelry accompanied by the sounds of the ghumot and traditional music and songs such as some delightfully sung mando's. Rivers, ponds, lakes and pools are not spared for a bountiful dip on this day asao Joao - jumping in wells in goand the young and the old join in the melee which reaches a crescendo towards the afternoon. Goan food, traditional drinks and various Goan delicacies make their way into this festive mood and the whole atmosphere is of fun and joy.

The chant of "Viva Sao Joao" is however not limited to south Goa alone and the north of Goa in fact has various locations where the celebrations are far more wider and louder. It is believed that St John the Baptist leapt with Joy in his mother Elizabeth's womb when she was visited by mother Mary. This is actually the basic background under which the "jumping" in the wells has become a traditional feature in Goa. Villages of Anjuna, Calangute Vagator,  and Siolim celebrate the feast of Sao Joao in a pompous manner.

In the village of Siolim, the celebration is very prominent and every village area plays its part with places such as Igrejavaddo, Gaunsavaddo, Marna and Fernandesvaddo chanting the "Viva Sao Joao ' in style. Distribution of Jackfruit, mangoes , Goan foods and pouring of water on newly married daughters-in-laws is a tradition in Gaunsawaddo.

In Siolim and in Goa as a whole the spectacle to look out for during  the Sao Joao celebrations is however the grand boat parade which has increased its followers over the years. A large number of people flock to witness this parade and this 175 year old history sao joao celebrationsof celebrating Sao Joao in this village continues till date. However the event which may have started long ago on a small note has magnified in size and shape to turn out into a major attraction of Goa. The youth are traditionally known to merge from the neighboring places around Siolim coming in decorated boats wearing crowns or tender coconut leaves, singing Mandos and playing the Ghumot. After reaching near the cross in front of the church,they light candles at the cross, put a garland, light firecrackers , perform the "Saude" and dance around with the chant of Viva Sao Joao.

The boat procession is a replication of the entry of the Portuguese merchants along with the miraculous statue of St Anthony. The event was given a more organised shape in the year 1992 by some traditionally live Goans from Siolim and thus the "Sao Joao traditional boat parade" was formally christened. Later a committee was formed and since 1997 the Siolim Sao Joao traditional boat festival committee ensured that the festival was organised in a proper manner till date.

Goa Properties : UK nationals seek "Brown" look

The Prime Minister of England Gordon Brown has been approached by many British citizens who have invested in property in Goa to seek his intervention to request the Indian government to resolve the problem of their properties purchased by them being left unregistered.

The petition led by Andrew Davies has been signed by over 125  people on the 10 downing street website addressed to the Prime Minister due to the problems faced by British citizens during purchasing and registering their properties in Goa. The petition reads that " We petition the prime Minster to approach government of India and request it to take cognisance of and correct the unlawful actions of the govgordon brownernment of Goa whereby the sub-registrars have been instructed not to order the registration of deeds relating to the sale of immovable property where one of the parties to the transaction is a foreign national. This is in direct contravention of the 1908 Registration Act"

Further the petition seeks the intervention of the Indian government to to ensure that the department of revenue, directorate of enforcement acts judiciously when investigating alleged infringements of FEMA and is not being used to harass foreign nationals who have bought property in Goa.

The petitioners pointed out that the sub-registrars stopped accepting foreigners deeds after August 2006 and informed that over 400 British citizens who had bought property prior to August 2006 are currently being investigated by the directorate with threats of confiscation of the property.

Adding another twist, the petitioners referred to over 50,000 people of Goan origin or birth living in the UK and expressed hope that they are happy and well-treated in fairness and justice and sought merely the same courtesies to be extended to them by the government of Goa

Goa Medical College PG course to be conditional

The dilemma facing the Goa Medical College (GMC) which is currently facing a crunch in specialist doctors could soon be a thing of the past if a proposal by the health Ministry in Goa sees the light of day and is actually implemented meticulously. As per the proposal, doctors who wish to specialize with a post graduate degree at the Goa Medical College will have to sign a bond which includes a clause stating that they would either have to work for a period of two years in a rural government hospital in Goa or in lieu, pay the state a fee of Rs 10 lakh.

The above was necessitated by the dire situation faced by GMC which finds itself drained ofGoa Medical College doctors after the post graduation course is over and therefore burdens the states medical resources undesirably. Students who finish their post graduation course leave the institution having no obligation to stay behind for any period of time thereby straining the whole chain of healthcare resulting in  a shortage of teaching staff at the entry level of the teaching faculty, assistant lecturer and upwards. The main departments affected by this attitude in the GMC include the surgery, medicine and orthopaedic departments.

The health Minister MR Vishwajit Rane has therefore reiterated that he will ensure strict implementation of this policy so that the state does not face this unnecessary crunch even after students passing out from the institution year after year. There are currently about 26 Post Graduate diploma seats and 39 post graduate degree seats at the Goa Medical College.

Such policies are however existing on paper in many other states of the country. However when it comes to implementation there seems to be absolutely no will and few states are actually enforcing the rules strictly.

Goa too had a rule for medical students studying the Post graduate course wherein they were required to sign a bond with a clause to work in the public health centres for atleast a year or in lieu, pay a fine of Rs 3 lakh. However there was hardly any will to implement this clause and the current problem has slowly manifested itself to pose an alarming vacuum in the state's health sector.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Goan Beaches - Majorda Beach

The Majorda Beach is located in South Goa and is at a distance of around 6 kms from Margao city. A picturesque beach, it is one of those beaches which has been a favourite location for the local Goan population who simply love this beach and spend their evenings on the sands of the beach in a mood of fun and frolic. A relatively quieter beach in this part of Goa, Majorda has a unique village charm attached to it that despite the visitors frequenting the beach, there is a sense of serenity sprawling on the beach which seems to be at peace with itself.

The distinct part of this beach in South Goa is the presence of swinging palm trees which are in thick population along the beach side. Its soft sands and aquamarine waters are known to have attracted tourists to Tourists at majorda beach Goathis place for ages and the same trend continues. The beach therefore is a host to visitors from all over the world who continue to swell in numbers owing to the charm that the beach tends to exert upon its visitors.

For the freaks who love myths there is the belief of the hindu mythology of Ram believed to have been kidnapped as a child and brought to Majorda. This myth has added to the mystique associated with the beautiful Majorda Beach which sees nature and mythology merge in natural beauty

Majorda Beach is ideally located  and can be reached from Colva via Betalbatim and is at a distance of around 5 km from the Colva Beach. It is also located at a close distance of 15 km from the Dabolim airport in Goa and as such is easily accessible. The Dabolim airport is located at a distance of 16 kms from the Majorda beach Majorda beach sport

While the Majorda beach resort is the major resort in the area, it is also one of the foremost resorts in Goa and dates back to the eighties when Goa had only a couple of other resorts to cater to the demands of tourism which was on a low key  in those days. There are various guest houses though and one can find a place to stay at Majorda for a great holiday. For accommodation planning in advance at cheap rates it is best to get in touch with " Goa Living styles" who provide accommodation in serviced apartments at a cheap rate. However the accommodation is classy and can be compared to hotel accommodation. To book your accomodation at a cheaper rate in Majorda click here 

Majorda is well known for its different bakeries producing quality bread ( the Goan pao ) in the area. The Jesuits are credited to have discovered the taste for Goan toddy here and used it to ferment the bread. the neighbourly holiday spots in majorda beach swimmingclose proximity to Majorda are Arrossim beach, Utorda Beach, Velsao Beach and Cansaulim beaches.

Early risers love to go to the Majorda beach to watch the sun rise and get themselves bathed in the morning sun. Kids love to construct sand castles and make caricatures on the beach surface while playing  with the silken sand of this beach while the beach at Majorda is considered to be a swimming haven and quite safe for tourists to venture. However it is best to follow the advice of the life guards appointed to look after tourist safety and their opinion should be taken in the right spirit thereby avoiding any casualties.

172 primary schools in Goa face closure

A government primary school with less than 15 students admitted to its fold, faces temporary closure according to the state's directorate of Education(DoE). The DoE has in the meanwhile planned to absorb these students of such schools in the neighbouring primary schools. The enforcement of this decision is expected to be made within a month.

According to the DoE the low enrolment in some of the government schools entails a low quality of education as the state is unable to provide additional teachers and other such facilities. However schools schools in Goa face closure located in areas which do not have other schools nearby are expected to continue.

The measure adopted to close the schools is however of a temporary nature and if the number of students from the area increase in number, the schools are scheduled to re-open from the next academic year. The closure and re-opening of schools being a cumbersome procedure, the schools will remain as operational institutions on paper.

The DoE had earlier informed the PTAs (Parent  Teacher Associations) of the 172 schools about the dwindling numbers and had urged them to encourage more registrations in a bid to keep them open. However the PTAs were unable to show the desired results and the eventual decision had to be made.

The decision has however not gone well with all the PTAs as they believe that now with this enforcement, the students will be compelled to travel longer distances if they are shifted to other schools. The department of Education (DoE) has therefore made some arrangements for transport in certain cases of long travel.

The Doe has compiled data of the number of schools in each taluka with enrolment between 1 and 10 students and is as follows
Pernem - 8 schools
Sattari  - 7 schools
Bicholim  - 5 schools
Bardez  - 3 schools
Salcete  - 4 schools
Quepem  - 12 schools
Mormugao  - 2 schools
Canacona - 7 schools
Tiswadi - 3 schools

The data for the number of Schools taluka wise with enrolment between 11 to 15 students are as below

Pernem - 13 schools
Sattari  - 14schools
Bicholim  - 13 schools
Bardez  - 10 schools
Salcete  - 9 schools
Quepem  - 6 schools
Mormugao  - 4 schools
Canacona - 12 schools
Tiswadi - 5 schools
Ponda - 15 schools
Sanguem - 20 schools

In the meanwhile the DoE is planning to provide raincoats to the students of class I and III while providing exercise books to the students of class II, III and IV studying in the government primary as well as grant-in aid schools. The disbursement of the raincoats and exercise books is expected to be done through coupons and the headmasters/principals of the respective schools will collect the coupons from the regional offices of the education department and the coupons will be exchanged for raincoats and exercise books, at the notified shops.

A total of around 9650 primary students in Goa are expected to benefit out of the raincoat scheme while over 11,680 Goan students would receive exercise books under the plan.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wedding day turns tragic for two in Goa

A wedding day is one which you tend to look forward to for a long time in your life and when it comes, a gush of great excitement naturally creeps in. All friends and relatives are around you and want to live the great moment with you on the great day at the appointed time. However on Saturday 20 June 2009, it was a day almost forgettable in many respects for a couple who was expected to tie the knot at a Church in Assolna, when their wedding car carrying the bride, her mother , the bridesmaid and a few others collided head on with an oncoming Mumbai bound bus, killing the driver instantly while the bridesmaid was declared dead upon arrival at hospicio hospital Margao.

In the tragic accident, the bride Ermelinda Fernandes escaped with minor injuries whereas the other occupants of the ill fated car which included her mother Elvira (56) neighbour Maria Carvalho (49) and a seven year old flower girl Rachel Coelho sustained grievous head injuries and are currently admitted to Hospicio Hospital Margao.

The tragic incident occurred when the wedding car carrying the above occupants was proceeding from Benaulim to Cuncolim for the wedding nuptial service of Ermelinda and Gilman at Our Lady of Health Church, Cuncolim scheduled at 4 pm when the tragic accident occurred at banda Assolna around 3.30 leaving a mangled car with the driver trapped inside and ejected with the help of locals. While the driver Greg Dias of Assolna died almost instantly he was taken to the hospicio hospital Margao in a 108 ambulance where he was declared dead and the bridesmaid Ms Brenda Rodrigues (24) succumbed to her injuries while on the way to Hospicio Margao and also met with the same fate.

While a pall of gloom was visible around the villages of Benaulim and Cuncolim from where the bride and the groom hail, the tragedy was worst witnessed at the Hospicio hospital Margao where the relatives of the dead and injured were seen wailing in despair at the loss of their dear ones.

Later, the nuptials of the bridal couple took place at the Our Lady of Health Church, Cuncolim in the evening after the bride was discharged.

Diabetics to get free insulin in Goa from August 15

For many diabetics in Goa, this years Independence day could mean much more than just a celebration of freedom from foreign rule. Come August 15 2009, the government of Goa proposes to provide free insulin to patients who cannot control the disease with tablets and are having complications and undergoing treatment at the various government hospitals and health centres in Goa.

The health Minister of Goa Mr Vishwajeet Rane disclosed that the initiative was a part of the diabetes care programmeinsulin injection in Goa which was launched last year in association with Nova Nordisk India Private Limited Bangalore. Nova Nordisk is reported to have screened over 15,000 people across the state and found that over 17 percent were suffering from diabetes.

In the initial stage the talukas of Pernem, Bicholim, Sattari, Canacona and Sanguem and the Cansaulim village in Mormugao are expected to be covered under the free insulin project which is expected to be monitored by a core committee of GMC doctors. A fund of around Rs 3 crore is reportedly been formed to monitor usage of insulin to patients.

Cansaulim in South Goa has been in the meanwhile, found to be having the highest concentration of diabetics patients in Goa with the Nova Nordisk screening programme detecting a high 38 percent of patients who visited the primary health centre during medical camps found to be affected by the disease.

The government of Goa is also planning to set up a comprehensive diabetics registry to document the prevalence of the disease besides screening and treatment of patients and suitable amendments to the Goa public health act would make it liable upon privGoa Medical Collegeate practitioners to submit details of diabetic patients in their care , to the registry.

Full fledged diabetic clinics are also mooted to be set up at the Goa Medical College and at both the district hospitals in the state. Stating that diabetes patients in Goa are increasing the Minister said that since costs of hospital treatment are very high much help would be given if insulin was available freely to patients and it would thereby assist in making Goa a model state in diabetics care.

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