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BJP leaders under pressure to follow up mining issue

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  1. Around 1,000 mining dependents meet Sawant
  2. Sawant assures amendment to MMDR Act
  3. Solution to be provided in upcoming Parliament Session

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GOA: More than 1,000 people dependent on mining industry met Speaker Pramod Sawant at Sankhalim to get the clarity on the issue of mining resumption.

 Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) has asked Sawant to follow up the matter with the central government.

Sawant told the delegation of GMPF that the Central government would amend Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 1957 in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament, scheduled to begin in December month.

The BJP MLA had met BJP National President Amit Shah along with Members of Parliament – Vinay Tendulkar and Narendra Sawaikar – both from Goa, last week.

Sawant said Shah had asked Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to follow up the file pertaining to the amendment to MMDR Act, which is currently stuck in the office of Attorney General of India.

The BJP MLA said that next week, he would be following up the matter again by visiting Delhi, to ensure that the amendment of the act is discussed in the Central Cabinet before it is placed before the Parliament.

The mining industry in Goa has come to a standstill following Supreme Court order which has quashed 88 mining leases in the State.

GMPF President Puti Gaonkar  said that the minor amendment to MMDR Act would help the mining leases to get extended life till the year 2037.

He said that the amendment can be moved in the Parliament during upcoming Session following which the industry can resume.

Gaonkar said that there are more than three lakh people in the State who are dependent on this industry, and are suffering due to closure of it.

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Kadamba Employees to get seventh pay scale now, CM clears the file

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GOA:  Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today fulfilled the long pending demand of Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited employees’ of pay scale as per recommendation of Seventh Pay Commission.

Parrikar signed the file which will entitle the employees of KTCL all the benefits under Seventh Pay Commission.

In the month of August this year, Parrikar had assured that the Seventh Pay commission recommendations would be implemented for the KTCL Employees.

KTC Drivers and Allied Employees Association which is a part of AITUC has welcomed the decision.

“It is a very good development for Goa. More than 2,000 families will be directly benefitted by this order,” said Union Leader Christopher Fonseca.

He said that after this decision the responsibility of workers increases. “We will have to work to see that Kadamba stands tall in the transport industry. We have to work with the interest of public in mind,” he said.

Fonseca said that Seventh Pay Commission is only a beginning. “We want better bus stands, buses and better facilities to the public who are travelling,” he said.

The union leader added that the workers should work hard to make Kadamba, a number one corporation in the country.

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Goa Lokayukta summons CS over Shirodkar’s land deal

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GOA: Goa Lokayukta Justice P K Misra has today directed the Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma to remain personally present on November 23 for the recording of his statement in connection with the alleged Rs 70 crore land scam involving former Shiroda MLA Subhash Shirodkar.

The Chief Secretary has been further directed to bring all the records pertaining to that Shiroda land acquisition.

The summons to the Chief Secretary is on account of his failure to file his report and to produce all the official records pertaining to the Shiroda land acquisition as directed by the Lokayukta on October 22.

Advocate Aires Rodrigues in his complaint has drawn the attention of the Lokayukta as to how Subhash Shirodkar who resigned as MLA on October 16 and joined the BJP has benefitted from a massive land scam in collusion with the Government’s gross act of maladministration.

Rodrigues in his complaint has named Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Chief Secretary of Goa as Respondents.

Pointing out that in a very blatant illegality the Goa Government has acquired 1, 83, 524 sq mts of orchard land in Shiroda from Subhash Shirodkar for a whopping Rs 70 crores, Rodrigues has stated that this whole unholy and unlawful deal apparently with the blessings and connivance of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was to deceptively reward Subhash Shirodkar for politically flirting with the BJP.

Stating that such devious politriks cannot be at the cost of the State exchequer, Rodrigues in his complaint has stated that Vedanta Real Estate Developers owned by Subhash Shirodkar and his three brothers Amit, Umesh and Sattesh had purchased that land on 19th October 2006 for a mere Rs 45 rupees a square meter which the government has now acquired for a very hefty price of Rs 3,500 per sq meter.

Alleging that the rate paid for Subhash Shirodkar’s land was exorbitant and unusually high, showing a corrupt act,  Rodrigues has in his complaint also stated that another land owner had by a letter dated April 05, 2018 addressed to the Chief Secretary had offered the government 1, 40,650 sq mts of his land in Shiroda itself for a mere Rs 350 a sq mt and that a copy of that letter had been also sent to the then Cabinet Advisory Committee comprising of Ministers Sudin Dhavalikar, Francis D’Souza and Vijai Sardesai.

Stating that any land acquisition by the Government is always for a particular purpose and that Subhash Shirodkar’s land was acquired by the Industries department without having any plan in place for what purpose the acquired land would be used, Adv. Rodrigues in his complaint has alleged that this land acquired without any public purpose clearly shows that this was intended to be paid as a bribe to keep Subhash Shirodkar then MLA of the Opposition party tied up at the command of the Chief Minister.

Stating that the Government was duty bound to make provision for the payment of any land acquired and that there was no provision for making payment in instalments, Rodrigues has stated that the payment by instalments in this case was a methodology for keeping Subhash Shirodkar tied down to receiving dole from the Government in exchange for his continued support.

Rodrigues has in his complaint also drawn the attention of the Lokayukta that he had filed a complaint with the Chief Secretary on May 29, this year on this land scam involving Subhash Shirodkar but no action was taken by the Government in the matter.

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Pratima Coutinho quizzed by Women’s Police over molestation victim’s identity case

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GOA:  Women’s Police Station on Wednesday questioned Goa Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee President Pratima Coutinho in connection with the case related to revealing identity of a minor girl, who is a victim of a molestation.

Goa Shiv Sena unit and other NGOs had filed complaint against Coutinho at Women Police Station in Panaji after the Women Congress leader allegedly posted a picture of her with mother of the victim, thereby revealing identity of the girl.

The case has been filed against Coutinho under section 74 of Juvenile Justice Act,  Section 4 of  Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Section 8 (2) of Goa Children’s Act.

Police Sub Inspector Sandhya Gupta, who is investigating the case, questioned Coutinho for over an hour at Women’s Police Station this afternoon.

Earlier, on July 14, 2018, Coutinho was questioned in connection with the same offence.

A minor girl from Netravali village in Sanguem Assembly Constituency in South Goa was allegedly molested by a Jharkhand based youth. The girl had filed formal complaint with local police station after which a delegation of Mahila Congress led by Coutinho had visited the house of the victim.

Emerging from the police station, Coutinho said that she was being harassed as “accused in the molestation case works with an influential minister in Goa government.”

“All attempts are being made to harass me so that my voice is suppressed. Mahila Congress has taken up several causes in the State creating uncomfortable situation for the state government due to which I am being attacked this way using police machinery,” she said.

Coutinho alleged that Sanguem police were trying to protect the accused molestor while she (coutinho) is being harassed though she had gone to give justice to the victim.

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