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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

Sugarcane farmers might get higher support and harvesting price



Team Spotlight

GOA: The government has decided to intervene in the matter related to the sugarcane farmers, working out better harvesting and support price to the growers.

A high level meeting of the officials from Sanjivani Sugar Factory, Sanguem Assembly Constituency MLA Prasad Gaonkar and leaders of farmers was held in Panaji this morning which was chaired by State Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai.

The meeting discussed the issues faced by the farmers, due to which, they have been turning away from cultivating Sugarcane in the South Goa’s Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona talukas.

Emerging from the meeting, Sardesai announced that his department will be having “limited intervention” in the matter to solve the woes of the farmers.

“The subject is under Department of Cooperative Societies, which is headed by the Chief Minister. I will also discuss the issues with the CM,” he said.

The leaders of the farmers stated that the factory, located at Dharbandora in South Goa, was supposed to start for the current season during early this month, but it is yet to start functioning, forcing the farmers into more problems.

“ Sanjivani Sugar Factory is in ICU (Intensive Care Unit), we want to get it out of it,” Sardesai said.

He said that the factory requires a share capital of Rs 10 crore for smoothening its functioning.

Speaking about the demands of farmers, Sardesai said that the farmers’  demand is that Rs 600 per tonne harvesting charges should be paid to them from the current rate of Rs 200 per tonne.

“Except for the support price given  by the agriculture department, we have no role to play in it. It is entirely with Minister of Cooperative Societies, which is the Chief Minister,” he said.

“Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar had approached me. I will be going to do limited intervention in the matter by slightly increasing the harvesting price, and also slightly increasing the minimum support price,” the minister said.

“But we have to consider what are the national precedence. I have told the department to submit report by this evening,” he added.

Sardesai said that government will work to ensure that the Sugar Factory should start by end of the month.

“They have pointed out that the land which is under sugarcane cultivation is not having proper irrigation facilities,” he said.

“A tender of Water Resources Department will be issued very shortly, I am following the matter with the Chief Minister. We will take some extra efforts that Sanjivani Sugar Factory is gets Sanjivani (lease of life),” he added.

Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar said that  in Sanguem taluka itself, total 35,000 tonnes of sugarcane is harvested and sent to the factory annually.

“We are the biggest source of sugarcane provider for the factory. But the farmers are in penury as the harvesting price provided by the government needs to be increased,” the MLA said.

“We want to bring in more area under sugarcane cultivation but that is not happening as the irrigation facilities are very poor,” he added.

“The farmers are not able even to change their crop patter as the soil does not support any other production,” he added.

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Spotlight Today

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



Team Spotlight

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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Spotlight Today

Goa Lokayukta summons CS over Shirodkar’s land deal



Team Spotlight

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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