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Congress creates ‘Traffic jam’ to protest against traffic jams, MLAs shy away



Short summary

-South Goa administration had denied permission to Cong leaders to block roads and cerate further chaos

28 congress leaders/party workers were taken into preventive custody.

-All were detained under section 151 of CRPC by Verna police, and  later released

None of its party MLAs including those from neighbouring constituencies, turned up though


Team Spotlight

CORTALIM: It was indeed a bizarre situation at Cortalim as the congress leaders and workers who had gathered at Thana-Cortalim to protest against pothole ridden Cortalim-Agassaim road; became a root cause of yet another traffic jam on this important national highway road connecting North Goa to South Goa, leaving hundreds of commuters to face undue hardships.

On Thursday morning several Congress leaders and party workers led by Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Girish Chodankar and Goa Congress Mahila President Pratima Coutinho assembled at Thana-Cortalim. The idea was to hold a peaceful protest march from Cortalim to Agassaim against the pothole ridden Cortalim-Agassaim road and to demand smooth movement of traffic.

But the protest, albeit with peaceful intentions, disrupted the peace, sanity and the commute of thousands of passengers, creating the same nuisance the Congress leaders were protesting against. It turned into a nightmare for hundreds of commuters on Thursday as they were forced to remain stuck in traffic snarls for hours.  Worst hit in the morning were office goers. Many of them even took to social media slamming Congress activists for causing more unnecessary hardships for them. Interestingly congress protest didn’t had any single congress MLA participating in it.

However anticipating further traffic jams and the chaotic situation on the highway which was already reeling under traffic snarls since morning, the officials of south Goa administration denied them permission to hold such protests and requested protesters to disperse. Since the protesters remained adamant and few of them even started to run towards the road, police officials finally took 28 congress leaders/party workers including GPCC president Girish Chodankar, Congress Mahila president and 26 others into preventive custody. They all were later arrested under section 151 of CRPC and were released.

“We wanted to hold a peaceful protest by not creating any problem to vehicular traffic but only highlight frequent traffic jams on this road stretch of national highway 17 as government failed to plan traffic movement on this road. We were demanding solutions to the continuous traffic jam problem on this stretch of road. However using the government machinery they arrested me and my colleagues, even though we were peaceful and were protesting for public cause. If they had deployed the same number of police here for regulating traffic then such a situation would not have arisen,” GPCC President Girish Chodankar stated.

 Superintendent of Police (South) Arvind Gawas said “Congress workers, who had gathered at Cortalim to protest against traffic jam, were detained as their protest would have led to a chaotic situation on the highway. They were taken into custody to ensure their protest does not lead to more traffic snarl on the busy motorway,” Gawas informed.

Interestingly not a single Congress MLA turned upto show ‘solidarity’ with their organisation team mates. Right from Canacona to Aggassaim, on the long stretch of the NH 17 highway, where the jams take place every constituency except Fatorda has a Congress MLA. There are 7 Congress MLAs who are custodians of parts of this NH 17 stretch. The constituencies held by Congress MLAs which fall on this straight belt are Canacona, Cuncolim, Navelim, Margao, Nuvem, Aggassaim and St Cruz.

The GPCC leaders had sent messages to Congress MLAs though. Aggassaim MLA Francis Silveira, speaking to The Goa SPotlight said “Yes we received messages.But I did not go since I had to take my mother to the doctor”


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Spotlight Today

People to react for LS, if mining doesn’t start: Vijai Sardesai



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GOA: BJP ally  Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Monday said that the people will “react during Lok Sabha elections”, if BJP fails to resolve the impending crisis on the mining industry.

GFP President and State Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai also equated the current mining issue to the “regional aspirations”.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi says  ek bharat, shreshta bharat. His statement is with regional aspirations in mind. If any party is not able to meet regional aspirations then we will not be able to get support of the people,” the minister said talking to reporters in Margao town of South Goa on Monday.

“Even the PM says so (about regional aspirations). So what is regional aspirations? Mining is the backbone of economy. It should start,” he added.

 “If mining crisis is not solved before Lok Sabha election, then people will react towards the BJP candidates,” he said.

Sardesai said that no amount of fire fighting by parties like GFP to support BJP candidate during Lok Sabha polls will work.

“Whatever statements we might make, the people will react during Lok Sabha election. How will you get the votes, if you don’t work to solve the issues of the people?,” he questioned.

Around two lakh mining dependents under the banner of Goa Mining People’s Front are agitating demanding resumption of the industry which has been shut down since last year due to Supreme Court order.

Ahead of historic Opinion Poll Day celebrations, Sardesai said the identity politics has gained much importance.

Goa had witnessed historical opinion poll in which the people had voted against the merger of former Portuguese territory into neighbouring Maharashtra.

 Sardesai said that on the eve of opinion poll day celebrations,  we need that the heroes who have maintained our identity should be recognized.

“If they are not recognized, people will not be with you. We (GFP) speak about identity politics. Goa retained its Goemkarponn (Goanness) due to Opinion Poll. If we had not to win that (Opinion poll), then we would have been just one taluka of Maharashtra,” he said.

“If we don’t accept it and don’t recognize in the history, then people will not be happy with you,” he added.

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Spotlight Today

Solution for mining impasse soon: Shah



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New Delhi: The  solution for current impasse on the industry would be brought about soon by the Central government, BJP National President Amit Shah told the delegation of Mining dependents and MPs.

The delegation of Goa Mining People’s Front along with all the three Members of Parliament – Shripad Naik, Narendra Sawaikar and Vinay Tendulkar, met Shah in New Delhi on Sunday.

GMPF President Puti Gaonkar, in a statement issued has said that Shah mentioned that the data about the loss of jobs, idle trucks and barges and bank Non Performing Assets is worrying.

“Shah assured that a solution to the present mining impasse shall be brought about soon by the Central government,” Gaonkar added.

“During the meeting on Sunday, Shah stated that the issue of livelihood faced by lakhs of Goans due to stoppage of mining activities in the State is known by all and that Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar and MPs of Goa have been following up with the Central government for a solution,” he added.

The mining industry in Goa has come to a standstill since March last year after Supreme Court quashed 88 Iron Ore extraction leases in the coastal state.

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Three critical in Cement Block manufacturing factory blast at Tuem



Three workers were critically injured in a last at Cement block manufacturing unit at Tuem

Team Spotlight

GOA: Three workers were critically injured and six others had miraculous escape with minor injuries after a blast in a cement block manufacturing factory at Tuem Industrial Estate, this afternoon.

The incident happened around 12.15 noon when more than dozen of workers were present in the factory.

Pernem Police Inspector Sandesh Chodankar said that all three workers who were injured in the blast were taken to Goa Medical College and Hospital.

“Their situation is critical and being treated,” he said.

While Fire and Emergency Services rushed to the spot immediately, they cordoned off the place and extinguished the fire.

Chodankar said that the exact cause of blast would be known only after State Factories and Boilers Department submits its report.

He said that the offence of endangering human life would be filed against the owner and management of the factory.

Tuem Industrial Estate is located in Pernem taluka, which is bordering Maharashtra.

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