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Goa government to crack down on foreigner’s run food outlets in coastal belt

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Panajim: While accusing the foreigners having their food business in the coastal state of paddling drugs, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Tuesday warned strong action against them through Food and Drugs Administration Department.

Rane told reporters that team of FDA officials has been formed who is given adequate police protection to crack down on these food outlets run by the foreigners, which double up as drug dens.

He said that none of the foreigner without FDA licence, running his business in Goa, would be spared, and their premises would be sealed, forever.

The minister said that FDA which has been accused of having “not enough teeth” to act against the violators, will now step up its action. He said that the teams of FDA would span across North and South Districts of the State, especially in the coastal belt to crack down on the businesses run by foreigners.

“The police protection would be provided to the FDA teams as during the raids, the foreigners turn aggressive. We want to avoid such kind of situations and hence the team led by a Police Sub Inspector would be accompanying the FDA officials,” the minister said.

“Several foreigners are into food business in Goa. I have got to know that these outlets are doubling up as drug selling points. They have become drug paradises,” he commented during a press conference.

The minister said that besides a crack down on foreigners, FDA will continue its checking across all the segment of food industry, whether it is a five star hotel or a regular beach shack.

“FDA is going to ensure that hygiene and good safety standards are maintained. Nobody can take us for a ride,” he said.

The teams will also inspect the night clubs operating in the beach belts. “The checking will also be done in the night clubs to ensure that the food that is served there is of proper standard,” he said.

Referring to the recent issue of ban on import of fish in Goa, Rane said that the FDA might relax the ban on the small-time fishermen who are operating within 60 kms of Goa border.

“We have to go ahead of lifting the ban on these fishermen only after putting all the quality checks in place. The person who is catching fish with canoes within 60 kms of Goa might be given a relief,” he said.

“We are working on the mechanism for the relaxation. We don’t want traders to take advantage of the relaxation and illegally bring in fish,” the minister stated.

Rane also said that the state government is working to ensure that the quality testing modalities are in place at the earliest.

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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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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

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

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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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