Goa Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo opposes ban on fish import

Goa Assembly’s Deputy Speaker and BJP MLA Michael Lobo said Tuesday that there should not be a blanket ban on import of fish in the state.

The state government had last Saturday announced a ban on import of fish into the state for six months, against the backdrop of a scare that formalin, a potential cancer-causing chemical, was being used to preserve fish.

“There can be stringent checks at the border on fish stocks being brought into the state, but that doesn’t mean we have a blanket ban on fish import,” Lobo told reporters here.

He said fish supplies from the neighbouring Shiroda, Malvan and Sawantwadi areas of Maharashtra and Karwar in Karnataka should be allowed in local markets.

“Fish prices in the markets have sky-rocketed, severely affecting the businesses of restaurants and hotels,” said Lobo, who is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Calangute constituency in North Goa district.

He said the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) can set up mobile laboratories to conduct random checks on fish stocks and those found guilty should be punished.

“But, don’t stop trucks bringing fresh fish to Goa,” Lobo said, noting that a campaign on social media about formalin in fish had created the scare.

Goa’s Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar had on Monday said the government’s decision should not affect the state’s economy and that traders who comply with the FDA guidelines should be allowed to import fish.

Source: PTI

Goans are now eating burgers, have stopped eating fish due to fear of formalin: BJP MLA Michael Lobo

Panaji, Nov 13 (IANS) Goans have stopped eating their regular meals and have switched from fish to burgers, KFC or Shawarma due to an ongoing formalin scare, Deputy Speaker and ruling BJP MLA Michael Lobo said on Tuesday.

Lobo has demanded partial relaxation of the six-month ban on import of fish by traders who do not comply with new Food and Drugs and Administration norms.

He says the ongoing controversy over the use of formalin, a carcinogenic chemical used to preserve cadavers, to preserve fish imported into Goa from neighbouring states, was unnecessarily fueled by the social media.

“Because there is no fish, people have stopped taking regular meals. Everyone here is eating burgers, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), or shawarma (a meat wrap),” Lobo said at a press conference.

The controversy involving use of formalin in fish erupted in July this year, after a state health ministry official found traces of the chemical in fish being sold in Goa during a raid.

The BJP-led coalition government has been on the back foot ever since the revelation, after several of its ministers were accused of allegedly protecting fish traders who were allegedly importing formalin-laced fish into Goa from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Prices of a staple kingfish, which normally costs Rs 500 per kg had shot up to Rs 900 per kg on the first day of the fish import ban itself.

Lobo also said, that that the formalin scare was only a case of hype and frenzy due to excessive exposure on social media.

“There is no fish in the market today. Fresh fish should be allowed to be imported. Goans should not be affected. The Goans menu has fish curry and rice everyday,” he said, adding that “people’s minds have been corrupted by social media.

Source: IANS

To Tackle Formalin-in-Fish Scare, Goa Bans Import Of Fish For 6 Months

PANAJI: The Goa government Saturday announced a ban on import of fish into the state for six months.

The move comes against the backdrop of a scare in the coastal state that formalin, a potential cancer-causing chemical, was being used to preserved fish.

Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane announced the ban Saturday and added that its duration could be extended by another six months, if needed, till measures to check the quality of fish are in place in the state.

“Till such measures are in place (to test fish), the import of fish into Goa is banned for six months with immediate effect,” Mr Rane told reporters.

The state government is banning fish imports for the second time this year, the earlier one, for fifteen days, having been announced by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in July.

The ban at the time was lifted after the government introduced border checks for trucks bringing fish into Goa.

Mr Rane told reporters that the state government would set up testing laboratories with Central agencies like Quality Council of India, Export Inspection Council and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

He accused fish-importing traders of failing to comply with guidelines laid down by Goa Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

Source: PTI

BJP ‘goondas’ threatening Congress workers in Mandrem and Shiroda: Diya Shetkar

Congress workers in Shiroda, Pernem and Mandrem told IndiaScoops.com that BJP thugs and ‘goondas’ are threatening them and not allowing them to visit the residents in the area or participate in Congress programs.

According to Smita Naik, a Mahila Congress worker from Shiroda, rival leader Subhash Shirodkar who recently jumped ship and switched over to the BJP has employed goons from the area to threaten Congress workers.

Adv Diya Shetkar who runs an NGO Nari Adhikar which is active in the area said her team from Shiroda which includes 5-7 Mahila Congress co-ordinators have been threatened not to enter the area.

Baby Fernandes, Smita Naik, Reshma Nevrekar and Kapila Kavlekar who are members of my team in Shiroda have told me that Shirodkar’s thugs threatened them and warned them not to enter the area. Male Congress workers are also similarly threatened and warned not to attend or volunteer for any rival party work. They are creating terror in the minds of the people. A mass fear psychosis is being created by Shirodkar’s goondas in Shiroda. I have heard that similar threats are being issued in Mandrem, Shetkar said.

Mahila Congress State President Adv Pratima Coutinho said that, “dirty politics is being played in both the constituencies. They are trying to malign the image of Mahila Congress workers by making false accusations against them. Some Congress workers are being threatened, while the morality of some women leaders is being questioned, thus maligning them.”

Subhash Kerkar, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) member from Pernem, at a Mahila Congress get-together held on Sunday claimed that the local MLA is threatening Congress workers. Other Congress leaders in the Pernem area, echoed the same claims made by Kerkar.

Recently, a meeting was held in a Church parish in the Shiroda constituency area. The parishioners told me that Shirodkar’s men have been inquiring about the Congress activity and have been warning the Catholics in the area not to attend any Congress-organised corner meetings in the area. The parishioners have got scared, after Shirodkar’s men started targeting them, Adv Diya Shetkar told IndiaScoops.com.

Adv Murari Parab, Congress Block Vice-President (Pernem) and Umesh Talavnekar, Congress Block President (Pernem) declared that their workers and karyakartas were threatened and warned not to participate in the event held today.

Goa Cong urges Laxmikant Parsekar to work against Dayanand Sopte in by-polls

The Goa Congress on Thursday urged BJP leader and former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar to work against saffron party’s candidate Dayanand Sopte for Mandrem by-polls, in a bid to retain his self respect.

Addressing media persons, Congress spokesperson Adv Ramakant Khalap confirmed that party president Girish Chodankar met Parsekar in Mandrem and discussed about political development in the constituency.

“They both met, but I have no idea what they discussed. But we urge Parsekar that for his self-respect, he should work for the defeat of official candidate of BJP Dayanand Sopte,” Khalap said.

Sopte, a former Congress MLA, joined BJP last month. He had defeated Parsekar in the 2017 assembly election. Sopte’s entry into BJP had not gone down well with Parsekar, who has accused State leadership of failing to take him into confidence and publicly vowed to defeat Sopte.

Further, Khalap said that Sopte has lost his credibility and support of his workers. “In Mandrem, Congress is strong and all the grassroots workers are united,” he stated.

Source: Herald

Goan Activists To Launch Indefinite Fast Unto Death Seeking Ailing CM Manohar Parrikar’s Resignation

Several Goan activists – including a national RTI awardee Rajan S Ghate and women activists have come together and will launch an indefinite fast unto death at the Azad Maidan at Panaji.

Speaking at a press conference in Panaji today, to announce the same, at least 10 activists pledged their support for the movement. The agitation is spear headed by the Goa Citizen’s Action Forum and the NGO Nari Adhikar and headed by Ghate.

A local citizens group, Goa Citizen’s Action Forum (GCAF), national RTI awardee Rajan S Ghate and NGO Nari Adhikar along with others on Friday said that they would undertake an indefinite fast unto death to protest against the failure of the Goa government to find solutions and take action against issues like rising unemployment, rise in prevalence of gambling due to spread of Casino culture, failure of the Goa government including the Goa CM Manohar Parrikar to allocate important portfolios like Home, Finance, Industries, etc., to capable and responsible Ministers and others.

Speaking at the press conference held at Panaji, national RTI awardee Rajan Ghate who will inaugurate the fast unto death and social activist Anil N Laad said: “I am giving the BJP-led Goa government a notice of 7 days’ time to announce a solution to the issues like rising unemployment, loss of jobs, spread of gambling and Casino culture and the failure of the Goa CM Manohar Parrikar to allocate important portfolios like Home, Finance, Industries, etc., to capable and responsible Ministers, so that the work of these ministries is not hampered and is carried out under the responsible, day-to-day supervision of the Minister holding the portfolio.”

In a related development, the NGO Nari Adhikar along with the Goa Citizen’s Action Forum (GCAF) is carrying out a socio-medico-academic survey in certain poorer sections of Goa to understand the unemployment problem in detail and to study the impact of certain socio-geographical indicators over the overall health of the people of Goa.

Adv Diya Shetkar of the NGO Nari Adhikar said that the survey has already begun in the Ponda-Shiroda belt and we will cover the entire State in batches over a period of 3-4 months. Nari Adhikar and GCF strongly condemn the lackadaisical attitude and failure of the Goa government to address the unemployment problem in the state, which is causing frustration among youth and forcing them into gambling, drugs and other vices.

“According to information from the Govt of Goa Statistics Dept and the Personnel Dept, the new jobs creation (in the government sector) for the year 2018 stood at ZERO. This means the Goa govt has not been able to create new jobs for the youth of Goa. It has come to my knowledge that BJP leaders in Goa are selling government jobs to the highest bidder in their constituencies. Instead of giving out job contracts to Goans, former GTDC chairman and BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral has given out contracts for services like tea/coffee vending, maintenance and serving to contractors from Delhi who bring their own labour from outside Goa. These contracts are arbitrarily awarded for periods and durations of 10-15 years, without any bidding, which is completely illegal,” said Adv Diya Shetkar of Nari Adhikar.

According to activist Kenneth Silveira: the coalition partner of the BJP government, the Goa Forward Party had made Casinos a big poll issue and senior office bearers of the GFP had even filed court cases against the casinos. But after coming to power, the senior leaders of GFP have now withdrawn the court cases against the casinos and the reason is obvious.”

I have heard that one casino owner has funded the US treatment costs of the Goa CM to the tune of Rs 2 crore. The money was transferred from a US bank account of the Casino magnate directly to the cancer hospital where the CM was undergoing treatment.

The government has not been able to solve the fish traders/fish importers formalin issue. The Health Minister says  one thing and the traders say a different thing all-together. At the end of the day, it’s the common man who is inconvenienced and has to pay more as the fish mafia is creating an artificial scarcity of fish.

The local transport system has completely collapsed in Goa. Every day 8-10 buses of the Kadamba Transport break down on the road causing great inconvenience to the public. There is no proper maintenance of the buses. Due to traffic congestion, the buses arrive very late and the public are made to stand in queues at the Margao and Panaji main bus stands as back-up drivers are not available during peak hours.

Goa Beaches Open For Swimming on Nov 1, 24 ‘No-Selfie’ Zones Identified

PANAJI: Weeks after the seas off Goa’s beaches were rendered “unsafe”, the popular haunts will formally open for swimming from November 1, with 24 ‘no-selfie’ zones, a state agency said on Wednesday, as reported by IANS.

With Monsoon waning and post-monsoon showers receding, state appointed Drishti Lifesaving lifeguard agency, has started the process of setting up safe swim-zones along the state’s coastline, a statement issued said.

Cyclonic winds had triggered underwater and rip currents in the seas that had led to the deferring.

“Starting November 1, all beaches will be open for swimming and beach activity,” Drishti said.

The agency maps the weather and sea conditions each morning and accordingly sets up safe swim-zones along the beaches which are manned by its 600-strong lifeguard force.

Although most beaches in Goa are safe, Drishti advises all to adhere to some basic safety measures — ideally swim only in the swim-zones marked with red and yellow flags. Non swim-zones are marked with red flags.

There are signage at the entrance of each beach enlisting safety tips, the statement said, adding that 24 ‘no-selfie’ zones had been identified to prevent accidents.

Goa is one of the top beach tourism destinations in the country and attracts nearly eight million tourists, of which half a million are foreigners.

Source: IANS

Supreme Court refuses to hear fresh petition on Rafale deal

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a fresh petition filed in connection with the Rafale deal.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, “We are already hearing many petitions in the issue”, adding: “What is the need to hear a fresh petition?”

Earlier on Saturday, the central government submitted the details of the decision-making process pertaining to the deal to the top court’s Secretary-General in a sealed cover.

The apex court, while hearing a petition, had sought the said information from the Centre without divulging technical details and prices of the Rafale fighter jets.

The opposition Congress party has been alleging irregularities in the high-profile Defence fighter jets contract signed between India and France in 2016 under National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

In 2012, during the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) tenure, India planned to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets from France, with 108 others to be assembled in the country by the state-run aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

However, in 2015, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government scrapped the UPA’s plan and announced that it would buy 36 “ready-to-fly” Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation.

The Congress alleged that the NDA government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalized by the UPA government.

Source: The New Indian Express

Pakistan Supreme Court reimposes ban on TV broadcast of Indian content

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has reimposed a ban on Indian films and television shows being broadcast on the country’s local TV channels terrestrial, satellite, according a report in the Dawn on Saturday.

The apex court was hearing a case filed by the United Producers Association pertaining to the broadcast of foreign content on Pakistani television channels. With this, the apex court overturned the 2017 order by the Lahore High Court.

During the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar ordered a “shut down” and made it clear that authorities should “only air appropriate content”. “They are trying to (obstruct the construction) of our dam and we cannot even ban their channels? India is shrinking the flow of water into Pakistan. Why shouldn’t we close their channels?”” Nisar reportedly said.

In 2016, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority had imposed a ban on airing Indian content on local television and FM radio channels. However, the Lahore High Court lifted ban in 2017, declaring it null and void as the Pakistan government had no objections regarding the same noting that “the world has become a global village”, lifted the PEMRA-imposed ban, declaring it null and void as the federal government had no objections, the report added.

Khalid Arain, the chairman of Pakistan Cable Operators Association, confirmed the verdict, but said his group opposed the ruling. “Ban on the all the Indian content is not the solution — rather we should try to better the quality of Pakistani TV shows,” he told the AFP news agency.

Pakistan had imposed bans on Indian films and TV content since the 1965 India-Pakistan war. The ban has been periodically lifted, but all Indian radio and TV content was barred again after India cracked down on protests in the disputed region of Kashmir in 2016.

Goa Congress Protests at Bambolim CBI Office Against Modi Govt’s CBI Shakeup

The Goa state unit of the Congress party on Friday staged a demonstration outside the Central Bureau of Investigation office at Bambolim as part of the nationwide protest against the central government’s decision to divest CBI director Alok Verma of his power and send him on leave.

The demonstration was led by Opposition leader Chandrakant Kavlekar and Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar.

“The CBI officer has been sent on leave as he was about to start a probe into the Rafale deal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a whiff that he would be exposed by Alok Verma. Hence he (Verma) was sent on leave after a midnight decision taken by the central government,” Kavlekar said while interacting with media persons at Bambolim.

“This interference in the CBI by the Prime Minister is nothing but an attack on democracy and its institutions,” he observed.

Chodankar accused the Modi government of destroying independent institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Enforcement Directorate and the Election Commission.

“We demand reinstatement of Alok Verma… The BJP is targeting the upright and honest officers across the country,” he said.

Margao MLA Digambar Kamat said the central government is misusing CBI officers, which has led to the infightings among the officers.

“The sequence of events over the last two days has dented the credibility of the CBI… Now it will be very difficult for the agency to regain common man’s faith and trust,” he said.

Congress MLAs Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, Francisco Silveira, Wilfred D’Sa, Clafasio Dias, Nilkanth Haldankar were also present for the demonstration.

However, none of them were allowed to meet the CBI officials.

PTI ADDS FROM NEW DELHI: Taking to the streets, the Congress on Friday took out nationwide protest marches to CBI offices accusing the government of trying to ‘cage the CBI’, as the party president Rahul Gandhi, along with several others, courted arrest and alleged “every institution was being ruined” in the country.

While Gandhi led hundreds of Congress workers and leaders on their protest march here, he was also joined by leaders from some other Opposition parties as well, including from the CPI, Trinamool Congress and Loktantrik Janata Dal.

Similar marches were taken out by the Congress in Patna, Hyderabad, Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Mumbai, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh and Hyderabad, among other cities.

While police briefly detained the protesters at several places and released them later, there were no report of any violence.

In Chandigarh, the police said they had to use water cannons against the agitators and also suspend traffic for some time around the area of protest. Traffic was impacted for some time in the national capital also on a few stretches.

Amid tight security arrangements by the police and with a large number of camerapersons jostling to record the protests, protesters moved on shouting slogans and carrying placards alleging the government of trying to ‘cage the CBI’.

The Congress has alleged Rafale link in the government decision to divest CBI director Verma of his duties, but the government has rejected these allegations.

Gandhi, who led the nearly one-kilometre protest march of hundreds of Congress workers from Dala Singh College to the CBI headquarters in the national capital, also tweeted pictures of the protest march and him sitting at the Lodhi Road police station and said, “No matter how hard the government tries, it will not be able to cage the truth.”

A police officer said 130 protesters including Gandhi and other Congress leaders such as Ashok Gehlot and Bhupinder Hooda were detained and released after 30 minutes.

Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, CPI leader D Raja and TMC’s Nadimul Haque also joined the Congress protest.

Asserting that people are coming on the streets to show Prime Minister Narendra Modi “the mirror of reality”, Gandhi lashed out at the government alleging that Modi “stole” money from the country and can run but not hide from the truth.

Joining Gandhi in the protest, Gehlot said the decision to remove the CBI director was “illegal” and such a decision can only be taken together by the Chief Justice of India, the Opposition leader and the Prime Minister.

Replicating the Delhi protests, Congress workers, including scores of women, in Patna sat on a dharna outside the CBI office, carrying placards that read, ‘Save CBI, Save Democracy’.

The Congress was also joined by the Telugu Desam Party and CPI in their protest march in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)

In Mumbai, city Congress president Sanjay Nirupam led the protest and accused Modi of “removing” Verma “illegally and by going against the Constitution”.

Over 40 Congress workers and leaders from Gujarat, including eight MLAs and a former state unit chief, were detained during their protest outside the CBI office in Gandhinagar. They were released later, the police said.

In Bengaluru also, the Congress workers protested in front of the CBI office, but several party MLAs and corporators were absent. While the party’s national general secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal participated in the protest, party spokesperson Subhash Agarwal said the presence of MLAs and corporators did not matter much as it was a symbolic agitation.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah took to Twitter to target the prime minister over the CBI issue.

In Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, demonstrations were held in front of central government offices. In Bhunaneshwar, hundreds of Congress workers, wearing black T-shirts, tried to enter the CBI office, but were stopped by the security personnel at the gate.

Kerala Congress leaders marched to the local CBI office in Thiruvananthapuram. Similar demonstrations were held in Jammu, Ranchi, Dhanbad, Vijayawada, Guwahati, among other cities.