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Newsletter. Issue 2005-02. Jan. 22, 2005
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Goa News Clips
by Joel D'Souza & Fred Noronha

‘Goa 4 Tsunami relief show’
The “Goa 4 Tsunami relief Show”, a variety entertainment programme was held in aid of tsunami victims on January 15 at the Big Foot dance floor at Loutulim. For the large number of visitors, who stream in to watch the miniature Goan village at Ancestral Goa, the extra bonus was in the form of a lovely exhibition of a number of paintings by Goa’s prominent painters. Displayed too were beautiful photographs besides the cartoons done by cartoonist Alexyz, who also did on-the-spot caricatures.
The morning session also featured an artisans’ camp with interaction, and display and sale of handicraft items. As the sun dipped, the place began pulsating to the throb of music by a couple of top bands, besides entertainment by popular spot singers, tiatrists, magicians, face painters, et al.

Dr Verenkar kidnapped and killed
Dr Shrikant Verenkar, a highly respected and prominent physician, was kidnapped by masked assailants in the bustling port town of Vasco da Gama on January 17, while he was on his routine morning walk at 6.10 am. His body was found later in the day lying under a mango tree at the Cuelim hill in Cansaulim. The motive for murder is suspected to be a case registered against Ryan Rudolph alias Rocky Fernandes (27) at the Vasco police station, in connection with the ongoing marital conflict with his wife Sarika Verenkar. On following day police traced the red Maruti van, used by the accused in the crime, while Ryan Rudolph alias Rocky Fernandes (27) was nabbed at an office at Marine Drive in Mumbai that same night. Ryan, a resident of Porvorim, is claimed to be a motocross rally participant, a recruiting agent and computer sales agent, given to a flamboyant lifestyle. On the basis of the arrest of one Francis D’Sa from Agassaim who approached a Pernem bank to encash a cheque of Rs.10,50,000 issued from the joint account of Ryan and Sarika Verenkar, it appears to be a case of hired killing. Sarika, Ryan’s wife, still fears for the safety of her family and her children. Reports say that Ryan has confessed the murder of his father-in-law, who breathed his last within 2-3 minutes when the culprits gagged and dragged him into a fleeing Maruti van. Sachin Parab (30) and Rajan Singh (25), both residents of Porvorim, have also been arrested for their implication in the crime. Dr Verenkar was a very affable man and a political leader, who contested on the MGP ticket during the last Assembly polls. The busy town was brought to a halt by its residents, who called for a Vasco bandh on January 19, to protest the killing and mourn the death of Dr Verenkar. Ryan, who has been remanded to 14-day police custody, headed “Anchor Marine Services”, a company which offered services to seamen for processing Continuous Discharge Certificates (CDCs) for a hefty price and operated from Porvorim.

Goa is a safe destination
In the wake the tsunami tragedy some sources spread rumours that tourists are fleeing Goa, while the calamity did not affect the state. World Tourism Organisation says, “The compensatory factor evident in the shift of tourist flows is twofold – geographical and seasonal.
In the very short term some of the tourists who had intended to spend their holidays in destinations affected by the tsunami may put off their plans until those destinations are again in a position to provide the same facilities as before. In such cases, the tourist does not usually forego holidays but switches to other destinations that provide the same facilities…Incidentally it is this ‘compensatory factor’ that is driving sales to Goa not just during the current season but also for 2005-06. Though there were initial fears that Goa would be hit by the fear psychosis generated by the disaster, they proved to be unfounded with a negligible amount of cancellations. That tourism is not promoted in Goa the right way is another point. Noted cinema artiste and thinker Sadashiv Amrapurkar expressing concern says the day is not far away when the State would turn into another Bangkok, which has lost its culture and is known now only as the tourist spot. “Reports of sex tourism and an increase in paedophile cases in Goa does not augur well for the State”, he said while speaking on the topic of effect of neo-Capitalism on Indian Democracy in Margao last month.

‘Best state of the states’
The pavilion displayed by the department of Science, Technology and Environment, Government of Goa at the 92nd session of the Indian Science Congress held at Nirma University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, from 3rd to 7th January 2005, has won the prestigious “Best State of the states” award. The State of Goa had participated in the “Pride of India” Science Expo along with other states under the theme ‘Health Technologies as the Fulcrum for Development of the Nation’. The Goa pavilion attracted a large number of enthusiasts comprising of scientists, doctors, students, teachers and the general public. This is the second consecutive year for Goa to win an award at the ISC.

Goa’s growing liabilities
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its report has expressed concern over the poor fiscal management by the State government. The CAG report for the year ended 2003, underlines that Balance from Current Revenue, which plays an important role in defining the plan size, was consistently negative. This was mainly due to the state’s dependence on borrowings for plan and developmental expenditure. This had its impact on the process of asset creation. The ratio of assets to liabilities of the state had declined from 0/99 per cent in 1999 to 0.74 in 20-3.

“River Princess” still in distress
A section of the press reported last week that tenders have been allotted to a British company to float “MV River Princess”, which has already become a new landmark at the Sinquerim beach. Judging by the fact that the Department of Tourism has issued a notice to some shacks in the vicinity to move away for the sake of safety as there could be danger while removing the grounded vessel, it appears that eventually some action is being initiated. However, English daily “ O Heraldo” reports that Director of Tourism Elvis Gomes has categorically denied that any tenders have been awarded so far for the removal of the “MV River Princess”.

Scheme for rural garbage disposal
Will the burgeoning problem of garbage blow over with the Directorate of Panchayat initiating a novel scheme called ‘Rural Garbage Disposal Scheme 05’ to address the mega issue of garbage disposal in rural areas? The scheme launched from January 21 ensures collection, transportation, segregation, professing and disposal of garbage in the panchayat areas, wherein government will bear 98 per cent of the cost during the initial three years of introduction of the scheme, while balance 2 per cent expenses will be the responsibility of the designated village panchayats. However, one has to wait and watch for the scheme’s eventual success.

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