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Waris Pathan takes back his controversial remarks
Source:  Times of India
Sunday, 23 February 2020 15:20


ZP elections a litmus test for BJP
Source:  The Navhind Times
Sunday, 23 February 2020 14:41

Panaji: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which will be fielding candidates on its Lotus symbol at the forthcoming Zilla Panchayat (ZP) election, would also be supporting like-minded “winnable� independent candidates in order to prove its superiority at this poll, post Manohar Parrikar regime.

This is the first election the BJP is contesting after the passing away of Parrikar. In addition, the 12 Congress MLAs including Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar, who had joined the BJP, will also have to prove their dominance over their respective constituencies, by getting the BJP’s ZP

candidates elected.  

Displaying caution, newly elected state BJP president Sadanand Tanawde has said that his party would not contest the forthcoming ZP elections in all 50 constituencies. “We will contest in some ZP constituencies on party symbol, while make adjustments in others with like-minded people,� he

had said.

The BJP has already started the process of selection of its ZP candidates from Saturday.

Incidentally, the previous ZP elections held in March 2015 had the BJP forging an alliance with Mickky Pacheco’s Goa Vikas Party (GVP) and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) of the Dhavalikar brothers. The results showed 25 independents winning the 2015 ZP polls, while the BJP-MGP-GVP combine collectively winning equal number of seats. Altogether, 18 candidates won on the BJP symbol, 5 on the MGP symbol, and 2 on the GVP symbol.

As the BJP-led alliance lost 50 per cent of the seats at 2015 ZP election, which had registered 66.43 per cent voter turnout, it made the then deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Francis D’Souza retort that “the party should examine the reasons for its alliance’s not-so-good performance in the particular polls.�

The forthcoming ZP election will witness the BJP and the MGP standing against each other as rivals. Looking at the performance of the independent candidates at the previous ZP election, one can easily predict that both the BJP and the MGP would be keen to support independent candidates in certain constituencies, apart from fielding candidates on their own party symbols.

At the 2015 ZP election, the BJP-MGP-GVP combine managed to win the South Goa ZP segment with a wafer-thin majority, while fell short of two seats for a majority in North Goa. This time, with mining, Mhadei and anti-Citizenship Amendment Act issues in the minds of the ZP voters, on one side, and the absence of any alliance partner, on the other, the BJP could find itself doing a trapeze act at the ZP election.  

During the previous ZP election, the GVP had managed to win two seats of Raia and Colva in Salcete taluka, while six Independents had emerged victorious in this taluka from Nuvem, Velim, Benaulim, Guirdolim, Curtorim and Navelim. The lone victorious BJP candidate in the Salcete taluka was from Davorlim constituency.

Although the state assembly election is nearly 24 months away, the forthcoming ZP election will clearly indicate the pulse of the voters in Goa and their political preferences.

The post ZP elections a litmus test for BJP appeared first on The Navhind Times.


Differences in state Cong over ZP polls
Source:  The Navhind Times
Sunday, 23 February 2020 14:40

Panaji: The North Goa district committee and the frontal organisations of the Congress party have expressed disappointment over the ‘decision’ of its legislature wing to drop the plan of contesting the Zilla Panchayat (ZP) election on party lines.

The ZP election is scheduled to be held on March 22.

Vice president of Congress party’s Goa unit Sankalp Amonkar hit out at Congress Legislature Party leader Digambar Kamat stating that the party organisation is ‘supreme’ and the CLP cannot take any decision unilaterally and go public without having internal discussions with the party.

“We are not saying whether the CLP’s decision is wrong or right, but the manner in which it was announced without consulting and taking the party into confidence was totally wrong. How they can directly go to media,� said Amonkar while interacting with media persons after holding a meeting with the North Goa Congress block presidents and leaders of the frontal organisations in Panaji.

He said that the decision to contest the ZP polls on party lines was proposed and decided by the executive committee, which was chaired by Digambar Kamat and Goa Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar.

“If the CLP wanted to drop the plan to contest the election on party lines then it was their duty to coordinate and convene the executive committee meeting to explain what transpired that changed their mind,� Amonkar said.

Interacting with media persons on February 20, Kamat had said that the MLAs are of the opinion that there is ‘no level playing field’ and the government while carrying out the process of reservations of the seats for OBC or ST may have reserved constituencies where Congress has strong candidates.

“Once the election process starts, there will be no chance; even the court can’t do anything other than admitting our petition. Hence, there is unanimity among the MLAs that without contesting the election on party lines, we should give freedom to ‘karyakartas’ to contest the election and party would back them. This is the decision of the CLP and it would be conveyed to the party president,� Kamat had said.

Amonkar said that the executive committee is the only body that is empowered to take any decision or change any decision on behalf of the party. He said that the party organisation is “not much concerned about winning or losing the elections�. “Our focus should be on creating new and grooming young leaders, as there is a leadership vacuum in the party,� he said.

When asked what will be the future course of action if the executive committee upholds the decision of the CLP, Amonkar said, “Let them make a decision, then we will take our stand. All we know is that if we don’t contest the election on the party symbol then it will have a negative effect on the party.�

Mahila Congress president Pratima Coutinho said that Chodankar and Kamat are answerable to the party workers.

“We were asked to do the homework and identify the probable candidates and suddenly they are saying not to contest on party symbol; it is as if we are running away from the battle. It is better to get defeated rather than give an opportunity to others like Aam Aadmi Party,� said an agitated Coutinho.

It is learnt that the crucial meeting of the Congress’ executive committee has been convened on Monday where the final call on contesting the ZP polls would be taken by the party.

The post Differences in state Cong over ZP polls appeared first on The Navhind Times.


BJP has manipulated reservations, alleges Girish
Source:  The Navhind Times
Sunday, 23 February 2020 14:40

Panaji: Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Girish Chodankar has hit out at the BJP for ‘misusing’ the power to ‘manipulate’ the reservations of various Zilla Panchayat constituencies in Goa to their advantage.

Reacting to Cuncolim MLA Clafasio Dias’ video statement, which has gone viral, wherein he says that ‘Chief Minister can do anything if he wants’, Chodankar said that this video brings to the fore the hidden agenda of BJP in Goa to bulldoze the democratic functioning. 

“Truth prevails, as MLA Dias reveals Sawant can roll back the Zilla Panchayat reservations. The Congress stands vindicated on the match fixing charge and blatant misuse of power by BJP. Let’s hope another roll back happens soon,� Chodankar said in a statement issued here.

He claimed that a written reply by the central government in the Lok Sabha has revealed that Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho has failed to give more powers to panchayats and gram sabhas. “The reply reveals that Goa is the only state which has not launched any scheme for empowerment of panchayats. The answer given is zero,â€� the Goa Congress president claimed. 

Chodankar said that the BJP is fully aware that they have lost support base in Goa. “Now they are desperately trying to use other methods to try their luck. I have reports of huge offers being made to probable candidates,� he said.

The post BJP has manipulated reservations, alleges Girish appeared first on The Navhind Times.


Traffic violations on the rise in Goa
Source:  The Navhind Times
Sunday, 23 February 2020 14:40

Panaji: Since January this year, on an average, around 21 motorists have been booked per day in the state for riding/driving under the influence of alcohol.

As per the statistics, in the last 51 days, the Goa traffic police have booked around 1,080 motorists for drunk riding/driving. During the corresponding period last year, around 863 motorists were booked for the offence.

Police said that this year there is around 61 per cent increase in the cases of red light jumping. From January till February 20, 196 cases related to the offence have been booked whereas last year, during the corresponding period, 121 motorists were booked for red light jumping.

According to police, there is also an over 50 per cent increase in cases pertaining to the use of mobile phone while riding/driving. In the last 51 days, 554 cases have been booked, while last year, during the corresponding period, 355 cases relating to the offence were booked.

The traffic police have booked 1,433 motorists for overspeeding since January this year. Last year, during the same period, there were 1,379 such cases.

Police said that those booked for riding/driving under the influence of alcohol, overspeeding, red light jumping and using mobile phone while riding/driving also face suspension of licence for a period of three months apart from paying fine. The licences of the offenders are referred to the concerned road transport authority for initiating the necessary action, said police officials.

A police official said that special drives are being conducted against drunk driving, riding without helmet, driving without licence, rash and negligent driving, overspeeding, underage rider/driver apart from regular enforcement of traffic laws.

Rash and negligent driving/riding is the main cause of accidents, police said adding that in order to minimise road accidents and fatalities, strict enforcement of traffic laws is

being carried out.

The post Traffic violations on the rise in Goa appeared first on The Navhind Times.


GWMC floats tender for construction of biodigester plant for Chicalim VP
Source:  The Navhind Times
Sunday, 23 February 2020 14:40

Panaji: The Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) has floated tender requesting proposals from individuals and consortium firms for construction, installation, and commissioning of 10 tonne per day capacity biodigester plant to treat cooked, raw food waste, vegetable waste and market waste for Chicalim panchayat.

As per the requirement, the contractor must operate and provide maintenance for 5 years and attend the complaints within 48 hours in case of non-functioning of the equipment.

The bid submission deadline is March 13. The date for opening the technical bids is March 16. However the pre-bid meeting has been fixed on March 3 for the bidders to raise queries relating to the tender document.

A 10 TPD capacity bio-digester has to be set up in Chicalim panchayat at 3000 sqm of land which is demarcated for waste management purposes.

The bio-digester system must have a robust design with 2 RCC tanks of 5 tonne per day capacity each with a capable of handling the corrosive nature of the gas and should have sufficient mechanical strength to withstand operations often handled by unskilled or semi-skilled operators.

The necessary infrastructure required for pumping of electricity generated to the grid shall be in the scope of the bidder and revenue generated from the same shall be availed by the bidder.

However GWMC/Panchayat shall make available the necessary electricity connections to the site but cost incurred towards usage of electricity and water shall be borne by the bidder.

At the construction stage of the facility, the successful bidder shall use materials of only reputed brand and if a particular brand apart from the brands mentioned are used, they have to be approved by GWMC.

The contractor must also ensure that facility have minimum six operators including supervisor and full time engineer having minimum qualification of diploma in mechanical engineering to run the plant.

The eligibility criteria for bidders is that they have to have an annual turnover of Rs 6 crore in last two consecutive financial years and having an experience in the field of solid waste management in the government departments / public sector (central or state)/ urban local bodies for atleast three years.

Moreover the bidder should also be ready with atleast one working model of 20TPD or higher capacity designed and commissioned by the bidder in the last three financial years at the time of bidding for the purpose of GWMC inspection.

A successful bidder will have to deposit 5% of the quoted amount as performance security in the form of bank guarantee before signing the rate contract agreement.

The post GWMC floats tender for construction of biodigester plant for Chicalim VP appeared first on The Navhind Times.


Carnival floats parade on Fatorda route, says collector
Source:  The Navhind Times
Sunday, 23 February 2020 14:39

Margao : The south  Goa  district collector Ajit Roy on  Saturday  said  a unanimous  decision has  been taken  at the  special meeting held by him on Saturday with the  SP,  DySP, and chief officer of MMC to  hold the  Carnival  float parade  at  Fatorda route on Sunday considering the  administration convenience and  public safety.

Speaking to media, after a couple of meetings  with the  SDMs,  municipal officials and the police, for almost a hour, Roy said the High Court  had asked the district administration to apply its mind and  take the appropriate decision on the  carnival float parade route.

“The High Court had said that the carnival committee cannot apply for permission for the float parade, and it is the MMC to seek permission as per the resolution.  Irrespective of the disputes, the High Court had asked the district administration to apply their mind and take a decision on the route.  I therefore held a serious of meetings, separately, with SP, south Goa, DySP, DySP traffic and the chief officer of the MMC. It was unanimously decided to hold the carnival float parade at Fatorda route for administrative convenience and considering public safety,’’ he added.

The district collector further said that even though they took the MMC resolution into consideration, the final collective decision is to hold the carnival float parade at Fatorda. “We have limited time, within the next 24 hours the carnival float parade will be flagged off.   We understand that this is an important festival having a strong cultural legacy, and considering all these factors, we have prioritised the administration efficiency and public safety,’’ he repeated.  He said the floats will be diverted after parading towards eastern bypass from Arlem circle.

The district administration decision was taken considering public safety has indeed gone against the wishes of two deputy chief ministers— Manohar Azgaonkar and Chandrakant Kavlekar, who wanted the Margao route.  Kavlekar even addressed the media after a meeting with the district collector a week ago. However things changed when a Fatorda resident approached the High Court.

Interestingly, the Margao carnival committee approached the High Court on Saturday praying that the MMC resolution deciding on the route is fabricated. It is understood that the High Court will hear the case on Sunday morning the day the carnival float parade is scheduled.

The MMC chief officer Ajit Panchwadkar told media that he will be monitoring the carnival celebrations on Sunday in view of the imposition of the model code of conduct in the state for ZP elections, even though the carnival committee will continue the celebrations in a normal way which they have started before the code of conduct came into effect. However there would be no speeches, inaugurations of the float parade from politicians.   Importantly, after the district collector meeting, the senior police officials released a press note on the traffic diversions and parking facilities.   Meanwhile, the Fatorda legislator and political foe of the deputy chief minister and tourism minister, Azgaonkar, Vijai Sardesai demanded the resignation of Azgaonkar.

“The Goa Tourism Minister Azgaonkar’s decision to change the Carnival float parade route is against public safety.  A tourism minister who does not care for public safety should be sacked by the chief minister. Politics should not pollute an important celebration in Goaâ€� Sardesai added.

The post Carnival floats parade on Fatorda route, says collector appeared first on The Navhind Times.


Kalay VP pitches for rock climbing institute to tackle unemployment
Source:  The Navhind Times
Sunday, 23 February 2020 14:39

Curchorem: Kalay panchayat in Sanvordem constituency wants a rock climbing and adventure institute to be set up in the village as it will not only benefit nature lovers and rock climbers, but also generate employment for the youths.

A resolution to this effect was passed during a fortnightly meeting of the panchayat.

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister, sarpanch Kishor Dessai has stated that after inspecting a site in the panchayat area it was noted that the site is suitable for setting up such an institute that will help bring younger generation closer to the nature through hiking, trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering etc.

He has further stated that if the said institute opens in the village then various activities can be conducted which will be beneficial for trained rock climbers as well as those seeking to be trained in rock climbing; also training activities can be conducted for the NCC, NSS, Bharat Scouts and Guides, police, home guards, armed force etc, besides camping for families as well as the students.

Due to the mining ban, he said, there are many unemployed youths in the village and the institute can create employment for the unemployed youths.

The proposed site is a part of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Molem National Park.

When contacted, sarpanch Dessai informed that the suggestion to set up the institute was made by a local Krishna Naik, who is the founder member of All Goa Tracking Association.

He said that on inspecting and visiting the site, it was found that the spot is suitable for rock climbing and added that the institute cannot be set up without the assistance and cooperation of the government.

Hence, he said, a detailed report was prepared and submitted to the government so that the proposal can be taken forward.

“We are hopeful that the project will become a reality in the near feature. With the closure of mining activity, this project will be a solution to the problem of unemployment among the local youths,� he said.

The post Kalay VP pitches for rock climbing institute to tackle unemployment appeared first on The Navhind Times.


Calangute VP procures 4 more vehicles for garbage collection
Source:  The Navhind Times
Sunday, 23 February 2020 14:39

Calangute: The Calangute village panchayat has taken another step forward to keep its village spick and span by procuring 4 small garbage collection vehicles to carry out door-to-door garbage collection.

The vehicles have been bought under the panchayat fund at a cost of Rs 26 lakh. At the launch of the vehicles, Calangute sarpanch Franciso Rodrigues said that the four small vehicles would be in a position to enter narrow lanes and help improve garbage collection.

Naikawaddo panch member Sudesh Mayenkar, while addressing the gathering, said that with the spike in number of tourists, more garbage is generated as such everyone should co-operate on the issue.

The panchayat has also procured 3 other big vehicles to collect garbage and they are being modified for garbage collection. The panchayat is also planning to buy small vehicles running on batteries and can have access to every nook and corner of the village to collect garbage.

ZP member Dattaprasad Dabolkar, who was the chief guest for the function, said that garbage collection is a continuous process.

He made suggestions to conduct tree plantation drive as many trees in Calangute have been cut down for development works.

Deputy sarpanch Pooja Matkar proposed the vote of thanks. 

The post Calangute VP procures 4 more vehicles for garbage collection appeared first on The Navhind Times.


Wenger’s VAR observations is something to ponder
Source:  The Navhind Times
Sunday, 23 February 2020 14:35

New Delhi: Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ruffled feathers earlier this week when he suggested changes to the offside law. Wenger’s comments, which came on the sidelines of the Laureus Awards in Berlin, carry huge significance given that he is the chief of global football development at the sport’s world body Fifa.

Offering his take on controversies over marginal offside calls following the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), particularly in the Premier League this season, Wenger said: “The most difficulty that people have (with VAR) is the offside rule.�

Wenger added that the current rule, according to which no part of the attacking player’s body can be ahead of the penultimate defending player, should be altered to reduce the number of close calls. “Maybe there is room to change the offside rule a little bit so we don’t say a part of his nose was offside.�

According to Wenger’s suggestion, “you will not be offside if any part of the body that can score a goal is in line with the last defender, even if other parts of the attacker’s body are in front�.

As things stand, Wenger’s remark is nothing more than just an observation. Lukas Brud, who heads the sport’s law-making body International Football Association Board (IFAB), said the idea would not be up for vote in the meeting on February 29 as the deadline for submitting a proposal was November 1, 2019.

However, given Wenger’s stature at Fifa and a growing debate on VAR’s impact on close offside calls, it won’t surprise if his suggestion comes up for discussion next year.

So, why has VAR’s introduction brought the offside law under such close scrutiny?

Too close to call

A number of incidents in the Premier League this season have raised questions on how far VAR should be allowed to adjudicate on close offside calls. For instance, when Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino was flagged offside just after he scored in the 2-1 win against Aston Villa, VAR showed that only a very small part of the striker’s arm was over the offside line. While Firmino gained no advantage from his arm’s positioning, the goal was not allowed to stand according to the current law.

In a separate incident in December last year, Liverpool benefited from a close call, when Wolverhampton’s Pedro Neto had his goal ruled out due to teammate Jonny being marginally offside in the build-up. The game ended 1-0 in Liverpool’s favour.

Such decisions, where goals have been ruled offside despite players not benefiting from, say, an arm being offside, have spurred a debate among fans on whether VAR should be abandoned or the offside rule changed to help simplify the game.

It is unlikely that VAR, having just gone mainstream across European leagues over the past two years, is going to lose this battle.

‘Intelligent rule’

It is also important to note that Wenger’s proposal will not significantly alter the law in favour of the attacking player.

In fact, his recent statement is consistent with his rejection of a suggestion in 2017 by former Fifa technical director and Dutch legend Marco van Basten to scrap the offside rule.

“Offside is what makes the team good together. It is an intelligent rule as well, it is important to keep that in the game,� Wenger had said at the time.

He had instead called for improvements to the rule. Given the new clash between VAR and close offside calls, Wenger sees his proposal as just that.

But will the Frenchman’s suggestion help simplify things?

While it is difficult to predict to what degree an alteration in the law affects the game, the conundrum for football here is that instead of a black and white law that clearly demarcates between what is offside and what isn’t, any change to it can only increase grey areas and make an interpretation more subjective for the match officials.

There is also hardly any certainty that this kind of change would reduce unnecessary VAR

interventions.

For instance, it would be up to the referee to decide whether a player has gained an advantage from having an arm or a shoulder offside.

It would also complicate things for a referee’s assistants who would have new lines to track.

In a set-piece melee, it could create further confusion.

Roberto Rosetti, UEFA’s chief of referees, had said earlier this year that a VAR intervention should only come in the case of clear and obvious offsides.

“We want VAR to intervene only when the images show a clear error, not to re-referee games,� he told Italian sports newspaper ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’.

Perhaps that is what the Premier League should do. Instead of deciding whether an attacker is offside by a few millimetres or not, VAR could be left to adjudicate only on the more glaring errors. It could also help save some time.

The post Wenger’s VAR observations is something to ponder appeared first on The Navhind Times.


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