Drugs may not be sold in nightclubs but are available everywhere; crackdown in drugs remains only a slogan
PADMAVATI PRABHU/ Team Spotlight
- The death of a 24 year old Hyderabad boy who was partying at Hilltop club, Vagator, due to suspected drug overdose (reportedly consumed outside the club) recently
- January 1 till October 7 this year, nearly 74 kgs of narcotics substance has been seized the cost of which in international market is approximately Rs 1.87 crore.
- In September 2017, Chief Minister asking MLAs to provide him any information available on drugs or related activities
GOA: The recent incident of death of a 24-year-old Hyderabad youth has once again exposed the dark underbelly of the drug trade in the State.
Despite police claiming that they are trying to crackdown on drug trade in the State, statistics reveal that drug movement in connivance with the locals is still prevalent in the State, especially in the coastal belt of Calangute, Anjuna and Siolim, among others.
In different raids conducted by the Anti Narcotics Cell, Goa Police and Crime Branch from January 1 till October 7 this year, nearly 74 kgs of narcotics substance has been seized the cost of which in international market is approximately Rs 1.87 crore. However, the highest seizure is that of ganja (58 kgs approximately), followed by charas (15 kgs). In all, 173 cases have been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and 182 persons arrested. Interestingly, among those arrested 55 are Goans and 31 foreign nationals, of which 21 are Nigerians.
Calangute MLA and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo had lashed out at Parrikar and said that tourism is the only industry surviving the State and that too is not safe.
“Drugs are being sold openly. If the unemployment issue is not addressed at the earliest, youth may get trapped into the drug business to earn money”, he had warned.
In September 2017, Chief Minister had written to the all the MLAs asking them not to make any statements in public on drugs that would create sensationalism while even asking them to provide him any information available on drugs or related activities to curb drug menace in the State.
Locals are supporting the drug movement in Goa
The boss of Goa’s anti narcotics cell SP Umesh Gaonkar officially blows the lid off any pretences that the drug trade is under control
“Drugs are being brought from outside the State. But when these peddlers come down, they try to find a local customer as there is no retail sale. No drug movement can happen without support from locals as they are the ones who provide them shelter and other facilities.”
As mostly drugs are used in music parties, he said, “We have cracked down on music parties in the open and we are carrying out continuous checks in closed places too. Drugs are basically consumed for dance parties that happen throughout the night. But drugs in small quantities are there. For example, if you consider LSD paper, they are like revenue stamps and can be hidden anywhere. And secondly, there is no taste and odour too. So it is difficult to identify also.”
Interestingly, there is consumption of huge quantity of water in these music parties due to dehydration, informed a police official.
When contacted, the MLA from the coastal constituency of Siolim and Fisheries Minister Vinod Palyekar informed that he has responded to the Chief Minister informing about drug-related information in his constituency.
“As far as the drug scene in my constituency is concerned, it has come under control to a very large extent. But there are still some areas which need to be cracked down. The drug mafia or the kingpins need to be put behind bars. May it be a Goan or an outsider, drug dealers have to be arrested”, said Palyekar. Si gnificantly, his constituency, is arguably the centre of Goa’s drug trade and the likely point for drugs which come into Goa and those which are sent out from the state
Police sources however informed with the beginning of the tourist season, drugs like ganja, which is mostly prevalent in the State is brought in from states like Orissa and West Bengal, while charas comes in mostly from Himachal Pradesh or Nepal.
“Local police book cases of drugs after carrying out random checks and also based on information. ANC, however, based on the information received conducts raids. Therefore ANC cases, though less in number compared to local police, are quality cases. Here, the drugs seized are of commercial quantity”, SP Umesh Gaonkar.
He also informed that if the drugs recovered are of a commercial quantity, then it is a non-bailable offence, but if the quantity is less than commercial, then there is a provision for bail. There quantities are specified in the NDPS Act.
The police however maintains that there has been a “crackdown”. When asked about the crackdown on drug sale, he said, “There is continuous crackdown by the police resulting into more seizures, more arrests since last year as the action is deterrent. Due to this, big kingpins and dealers cannot get a big consignment or contraband to the State.”
“What is prevalent in Goa is mostly ganja and the quantity that we have recovered is mostly less than the commercial quantity specified in the NDPS Act. Hence being less than commercial quantity, it is a bailable offence”, he said.
Everyone in the Goa BJP will go home except Rajya Sabha member Vinay Tendulkar- Parsekar
Not a single BJP karyakarta will support Sopte in Mandrem; the BJP is losing support of the bhandaris and Marathas too, says former CM Lakshmikant Parsekar
Mandrem: In a tone tinged with emotion and hurt former Goa Chief Minister, and a senior member of the BJP’s core committee said that if the party continues in this manner, then “everyone (all MLAs) will have to go home”. He sarcastically said that the only one who will be present in a legislative space would be BJP state president Vinay Tendulkar, who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha for 6 years.
Commenting on the larger issues plaguing the party, the former Chief Minister remarked that important sections of the population like the OBCs including the bhandaris and marathas are moving away from the BJP. The support base is shrinking. There is no doubt. If things go on in this manner, then everyone will go home, except Vinay Tendulkar” ( elected to the Rajya Sabha)
It is clear that it’s a no holds barred battle between a section of the veteran leadership in the BJP and party president Vinay Tendulkar. Speaking toThe Goa Spotlight, Mr Parsekar said “Earlier Vinay used to say that he would consult ‘bhai’ before taking any decision. Now ‘bhai’ is not accessible and hence Vinay thinks he can take any decision that he wants”
Meanwhile the by-elections to the Mandrem constituency is due, after Congress MLA Dayanand Sopte resigned to join the BJP and will be the BJP candidate in Mandrem and Parsekar is clear that the local BJP unit will not be supporting him “Sopte said 80% of the BJP’s karyakartas are with him. He is lying. Zero percent are with him. There is not a single BJP worker who is with Sopte”. Elaborating further, he said that the party may have taken a decision to reduce the strength of the Congress and hence get Sopte to resign but they should have consulted local workers and leaders ( like him) before deciding to field him from Mandrem. “Sopte may have been lured to join the BJP but the party should have understood the ground reality of fielding him from Mandrem”, Parsekar quipped
Parsekar’s remarks assume political significance for three reasons a) It confirms that Sopte will not be able to hit the political ground in Mandrem, running and will face opposition not just from the Congress but the local BJP organization. b) Lakshmikant Parsekar is holding his own political cards to his chest and the possibility of him contesting as an independent after resigning from the party, with the support of local BJP workers, cannot be ruled out and c) Parsekar’s vociferous reaction may spark off a chain reaction among senior BJP leaders who will take on the Parrikar and Tendulkar led party leadership, with Francis D Souza already stating that he may be raided for speaking against the party.
Clearly in an attempt to shore up the party’s numbers in the Assembly, both Vinay Tendulkar and Parrikar, either by design or bad politics, may have caused far reaching damage to the party, the results of which will be clear, in the next round of elections.
‘Toilet’ is not a ‘prem katha’ in Goa
Goa is one of India’s worst states in achieving the Open Defecation Free promise
GOA: As the deadline of December 19, 2018 is fast approaching, Goa has to achieve a milestone to rank on the national chart of being free from Open Defecation (ODF). The coastal State, having the lowest population of only 15 lakhs, tops the embarrassing chart of having the lowest ODF coverage in India. With total coverage of only 5.87 percent, the State is the only one in the country where the success rate is less than 10 percent.
What is humiliating is that States like Bihar, Odisha and Tripura are above Goa, where not a single village has been declared as total verified ODF. After being on top of the national chart on various fronts like tourism, Smart City Mission, literacy, etc, the State is far from achieving ODF.
As per 2011 census, the State has nearly 20 percent households without toilet facility. There are also many community toilet facilities that are lacking in the State, which is known as international tourism destination on world map.
As a rough estimate, the government is of the view that it requires at least 65,000 bio-digester toilets, for which Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) has already invited tender.
Kind of toilets to be provided
The toilets, costing Rs 40,000-Rs 45,000 per set, are fitted with bio-digester. Bio-digester toilet technology, perfected by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), is an eco-friendly and maintenance-free system to manage human waste, which is being put to use under the Swachh Bharat Mission movement.
Scheme drafted by State Government
Department of Urban Development has drafted a scheme for supply and installation of Bio-Digester Toilet in the State. “If Goa is to achieve the goal of ODF by the year 2018, then it is essential that the construction of toilets is taken up on a mission mode by providing necessary financial assistance to the poor who are without an Individual Household Latrine (IHHL),” Secretary Urban Development R Menaka said.
Under the scheme, any household not having an individual sanitary toilet will be eligible on submission of documents like Aadhar card and an undertaking that he or she will pay the beneficiary share for the supply and installation of the Bio-Digester toilet in his household.
“No occupant of the household shall resort to open defecation and shall use toilet only for the purpose it is designed for. The occupant will have to pay the entire cost of supply and installation of Bio-digester toilet to government in case of the toilet being not utilized or any occupants of the household resorting to open defecation,” Menaka said.
Urban development has made it mandatory for Certificate from Municipal Council/ /Corporation/Panchayat stating that the household does not have individual household latrine.
The department of urban development and panchayat will finalize the list of eligible applicants under the scheme and communicate the same to the Implementing Agency- GWMC.
Parrikar returns home, on a stretcher & in an ambulance
- Parrikar travelled in an ambulance to his home at Dona Paula.
- GMC has set up medical facility at his personal residence
- Party men and coalition partners were clueless over his early arrival.
GOA: The usual bonhomie that surrounds arrival of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar when arrives back in the State was missing on Sunday, when the BJP leader was moved from AIIMS to Goa on a stretcher and travelled through ambulances.
Parrikar was flown to Goa in a special flight on Sunday afternoon. Two Ambulances equipped with the doctors was part of his carcade that went to receive him at INS Hansa base. The former union defence minister travelled on a stretcher to his home.
India’s news agency Press Trust of India in its report from New Delhi had said that Parrikar’s health had deteriorated at AIIMS last night after which he was shifted to Intensive Care Unit.
He was discharged from the hospital and then flown to Goa.
State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said that Goa Medical College and Hospital has set up facility at Parrikar’s residence at Dona Paula, where his medical needs would be looked after.
The arrival of Parrikar was sudden and unexpected. Rane was seen supervising the arrangements by calling special meeting of the GMC officials last night.
But what is shocking for his party members and coalition partners is unexpected arrival from AIIMS where he had met BJP Core Committee and coalition partners on Friday.
“Parrikar has been always commanding, whatever he decides for himself, he has been deciding. He never listens to his family or his close ones,” BJP Legislator and State Power Minister Cabral told reporters at the airport where he had come to receive Parrikar.
Unlike last two times when he had arrived from the USA wherein he had walked out of the Airport, this time, the ambulance was taken near the special flight to pick him up.
“We hope that he recovers fast and miracle happens. I think it must be his personal decision that he wants to come back to Goa. When I met him last time, he spoke well. It must be his decision to come to Goa,” Cabral said.
Union AYUSH minister Shripad Naik who had met Parrikar along with Cabral at AIIMS on Friday said that he could not believe the news reports that Parrikar was coming back.
“I had met him day before yesterday. I got the news that he is coming back but I can’t believe that he is returning. His health is improving and he was expected stay at AIIMS for few more days,” Naik said talking to reporters in Panaji on Sunday morning at the sidelines of a function.
“It is okay if he takes treatment in Goa but he needs to take rest,” Naik said.
State Civil Supplies Minister and Independent MLA Govind Gawade said that Parrikar should have stayed back at AIIMS for some time and fully recovered before coming back to Goa.
“But we welcome him back. Goa was missing its leader,” he said.