Continuing his attack on prime minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that Mr Modi personally increased benchmark price of Rafale jets by 3 Billion Euros (₹22,743).
”Another RAFALE Skeleton! Mr Modi personally increased the benchmark price of RAFALE jets by 3 Billion Euros. The former Director of Finance, MOD, just said that he and the negotiating team were overruled by Mr 56,”Rahul said in a tweet.
Earlier on Thursday, the Congress came out with fresh revelations which said that PM Modi overruled objections by the price negotiation committee, the Defence acquisition council and the then Defence Minister and personally increased benchmark price of Rafale jets by 3 Billion Euros.
Rahul often refers to the Prime Minister as “Mr 56”, following the latter’s infamous “56-inch chest” comment at a BJP rally in UP’s Gorakhpur. Modi had said that it would take a “chhappan inch ki chhati (56-inch chest)” to convert UP into Gujarat while campaigning for 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Earlier in the day, Rahul had raked up Centre’s admission to the Supreme Court that there was no “sovereign guarantee by the French government backing the deal”.
“The latest skeleton to tumble out of the RAFALE cupboard: NO Guarantee by the French Govt. backing the deal. BUT, our PM says there’s a letter from the French promising to be faithful! That’s enough to call this a “Govt to Govt” deal?,” tweeted Gandhi along with hashtag #BikGayaChowkidar
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.
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.
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).
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.
Speaking to media persons at a press conference in Panaji today, activist Adv Diya Shetkar demanded the immediate suspension of the South Goa Collector IAS officer Dr Tariq Thomas and called for an enquiry by the State Chief Secretary against Thomas and Urban Development Minister Milind Naik.
Shetkar alleged that both Thomas and Naik have acted in connivance with each other due to personal vested interests and caused wrongful financial loss to a registered association which has been organizing cultural events in Vasco for the last ten years.
Social activists and NGOs Nari Adhikar and Goa Citizen’s Action Forum (GCAF) demanded the immediate suspension of the South Goa collector Dr Tariq Thomas (IAS) and other concerned officials including BJP leader and Urban Development Minister Milind Naik for alleged corruption, manipulation of procedures, distortion of facts and professional impropriety.
Speaking to media persons in Panaji today, Adv Diya Shetkar of NGO Nari Adhikar said: The collector of South Goa Tariq Thomas has acted in a very arbitrary, partial and illegal manner to support a bogus or dummy and fake and illegal application made by supporters of Urban Development Minister Milind Naik under his explicit guidance and knowledge under the banner of an unregistered organisation by the name of Damodar Cultural and Sports Club, whose office address is given as the office of the business enterprise M N Constructions of the Minister above named Shri Milind Naik.”
According to Shetkar, the facts of the case are as follows:
- Murgao United, a registered association has been organizing the Narkasur competition in Vasco for the last 10 years. Their application was submitted to the concerned authorities well in advance for required permissions and even the PI of the local police station Shailesh Narvekar had given NOC for granting permission. Dy SP had also given permission, based on report of the PI and the application was forwarded to Dy Collector for final approval. However, since the organizers had sought permission beyond the approved time limit, the application was forwarded to the Collector (South Goa) as only the Collector is the competent authority to grant permission for sound system beyond the normal time limit.
- At the last minute the Collector did a U Turn and in an order dated 5th November, 2018 denied permission to the organizers after delaying the application for several days. First the PI of the local police station Shailesh Narvekar on the insistence and coercion of the Urban Development Minister Milind Naik delayed the application for 6-7 days, by sitting on the file. Finally, the application was forwarded to Dy SP with the approval and NOC of the PI after wasting 6-7 days.
- At the last minute, when all other tactics failed, in order to find an excuse to deny permission for the competition to be organised by Murgao United, the Minister Milind Naik and his cronies submitted a fake application under a fake, unregistered entity directly to the Collector’s office via fax. Protocol requires that the application to organise such an event should be sent to the Dy Collector and not to the Collector directly well in advance. Also the application must be sent in person in hard copy format. “The concerned above named persons sent a fax application – which is not permitted, at the last minute as a ruse and strategy to give the Collector an excuse to deny permission to Murgao United who have been organizing this program for the last ten years. The new, last minute applicant who is a dummy and stooge of the Urban Development Minister Milind Naik has never conducted such a program ever. Their illegal and incorrect application should have been immediately dismissed by the Collector and permission should have been granted to Murgao United. However, under the influence, guidance and coercion of Minister Milind Naik, the Collector Tariq Thomas denied permission to both the parties concerned,” said Adv Diya Shetkar.
The Goa Citizen’s Action Forum and Nari Adhikar demands the immediate suspension of the Collector Tariq Thomas (IAS), pending an enquiry by the Chief Secretary of the State of Goa.
The GCAF and Nari Adhikar have filed complaints with the Vigilance Commission (Goa Dept) and the Chief Secretaries office demanding an impartial and detailed enquiry.
According to social activist Kenneth Silveira of Dabolim: Murgao United held the said competition for the last ten years and were the sole organizers of the event in Vasco for the last ten years. For the first time, the competition could not be held due to the vindictive and dirty politics played by certain politicians from the BJP party. It is a clear-cut case of victimization, as it can be clearly seen that the application for the event was applied well in advance on 24th October 2018. Order denying permission for the event was issued by the Collector at 5.30 pm, at the last hour as the Collector’s office closes at 6 pm. Ideally the Collector who had received the application with NOC from PI and Dy Collector should have passed the approval order before the 5th itself. However, the corrupt officials waited for the bogus and fake, incorrect application to be submitted by fax on 5th November and then passed the order denying both the parties of the chance to conduct the program on the grounds of law and order issues.”
“These bogus applications and complaints are the dirty tactics of the BJP to destroy and interfere in the working of their political opponents, misusing the state police and administration machinery, even at the cost of the sentiments of the people, said Kenneth Silveira, adding that the organizers had spent lakhs of rupees to organise the entire event, which they have been doing for the last ten years. The local people who have put in a lot of hard work and effort have become a victim of the manipulative and vindictive action of the BJP government and their corrupt, power-hungry Ministers.”
Panaji: Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar has said no organiser has approached the government to conduct the electronic, dance and music (EDM) festival in December this year in the coastal state.
Earlier, EDM festivals like ‘Sunburn’, ‘Supersonic’ and ‘TimeOut 72’ were quite popular among tourists around Christmas in the coastal belt of North Goa district.
‘TimeOut 72’ was held in the state in December last year, but ‘Sunburn’ shifted its venue to Pune in the neighboring Maharashtra state after 2015.
“We want the EDM festivals to happen in Goa. But since no one has applied, we can’t do anything about it. Goa is known for music and dance, and we want such festivals to happen during the tourist season,” Ajgaonkar told PTI Friday.
Asked if the absence of such festivals will have an impact on the tourist footfalls, he said, “Nothing can be said about it. People come to Goa for its beauty but festivals also add to the attraction.”
The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), an umbrella organisation of tour operators, feels the absence of EDM festivals will affect the tourist footfalls.
“The exact figures are not known, but a large number of tickets sold for such events held in previous years indicate that visitors enthusiastically participate in them,” TTAG president Savio Messiah said.
Since 2007, the Sunburn festival led to a huge increase in tourism-related activities in Goa, another TTAG member claimed.
“The attendance at the four-day Sunburn festival at Vagator in North Goa in 2015was around 70,000. Even if we assume that around 15 per cent of the participants were local Goans, the rest 60,000 came from across India and other countries,” he said, on condition of anonymity.
He said as per a conservative estimate, these visitors spend an average Rs 15,000 per day on hotel stay, food, beverages, local travel and shopping.
With this estimate, the average seven-day visit cost for those coming to attend a festival like Sunburn would be a whopping Rs 630 crore, he claimed.
The Supreme Court today asked a trial court in Goa, which is hearing a rape case against former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal, to put the trial on hold until the top court hears the matter on November 27.
The decision was taken by a bench headed by Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan who has put the trial on hold till November 27.
Earlier on October 4, the top court had asked the trial court in Goa’s Mapusa town, not to proceed with the hearing of the case till October 31.
“An interim order dated October 4, 2018, would continue till the next date of hearing,” the Bench said.
Tarun Tejpal is accused of rape by one of his junior colleagues inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013.
He allegedly sexually assaulted the complainant in the elevator of the Grand Hyatt in Panaji, where Tehelka was holding its annual Think Fest.
The former Editor-In-Chief of news magazine Tehelka, had denied all allegations levelled against him. He was arrested on November 30, 2013 by the Crime Branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court. He has been out on bail since May 2014.
The trial court had charged Tejpal with rape, sexual harassment and wrongful restraint to which he had pleaded not guilty.
He had challenged the trial court’s charges in the Supreme Court seeking a discharge from the case.
Panaji, Nov 8 (IANS) Former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Thursday demanded the resignation of state Bharatiya Janata Party President Vinay Tendulkar “in the interest of the party”, reports IANS.
Speaking to media persons Parsekar said, the BJP will not be able to win a single seat in Goa, if Tendulkar continues to remain the State President, because his actions are totally detrimental to the party.
Parsekar, who has been taking on the state BJP leadership after his arch rival Manohar Parrikar was included in the party last month, said that under Tendulkar’s leadership the saffron party was suffering in Goa.
“I am not saying this because of any personal grievance. But in the interests of the party, Vinay Tendulkar has to resign. He is acting like a puppet and has no decision-making power. The entire party set up under him has to change,” Parsekar told the media before attending a party meeting at the residence of former Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza late on Thursday.
D’Souza, the minority face of the Goa BJP for almost two decades, has also been slamming the state party leadership, including Parrikar, ever since he was dropped as cabinet minister in October, on account of his ill-health, according to Tendulkar.
While Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s prolonged illness has already landed the BJP in Goa in a protracted crisis, the decision by the saffron party to induct Congress MLAs into the party fold has triggered further controversy and fissures in the party.