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Newsletter. Issue 2008-18. August 30, 2008
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Goa News Clips

Church Cautious About Laws To Protect Old Goa, Ancient Mission Center
Fear the complex will be removed from the list of World Heritage sites
On 2008-8-8

OLD GOA, India (UCAN) -- Church people in Goa have taken a cautious stand on a government proposal to protect Old Goa, the onetime Portuguese colonial base and center of Catholic mission in Asia. Government officials of this western Indian state discussed a new master plan for Old Goa at a July 17 meeting. It reportedly aims to check encroachment in the vicinity of Old Goa's church complex. The proposal would ban new construction within two kilometers of the complex and restrict construction within a wider radius.

Father Francis Caldeira, who heads the Diocesan Center for Social Communication Media, spoke with UCA News on July 25. He said archdiocesan officials had discussed the plan with Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Daman, but the Church has no comment on the plan "for the moment."

Even so, Father Caldeira, who represented the Church at the July 17 meeting of 40 officials from 23 government departments, termed the government effort "honest." The priest said the Church wants to see how the government draws up the plan, which he described as still in the initial stage. The government has promised "that all stakeholders will be considered" in drawing up the plan, "so let's wait and see," he added. The Portuguese heritage of Goa and Daman archdiocese, which covers this tiny coastal state, includes several centuries-old church buildings in the Old Goa complex, an area with a radius of about 750 meters.

The Portuguese conquered Goa in 1510 and made Old Goa their colonial capital in India. Later, it became the center of Catholic mission. Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier was among the missioners who made Goa the base for their work in Asia. State tourism director Elvis Gomes, whose agency is overseeing the new plan, told UCA News a new master plan for Old Goa is needed urgently. Jesuit Father Savio Barreto, rector of the 16th-century Basilica of Bom Jesu within the Old Goa complex, said a plan to stop indiscriminate construction activity in the vicinity, including mega-projects, "was long overdue".

The priest said that just 200 meters from the basilica, which houses the bodily relic of Saint Francis Xavier, a housing complex is being constructed, violating the heritage norms. The authorities now fear the complex will be removed from the list of World Heritage sites, he said, adding that this "would be a great shame."

Father Barreto said some "powerful people" have acquired land that once belonged to the Jesuits within the complex. "How they came in possession of this land is a mystery," said the priest, who charged a Hindu minister-turned-land developer is "a prime violator" in the area. The priest also noted a shipyard has also been allowed to construct within the heritage zone, despite objections he made to various authorities.



NOT TOO MANY on a single scooter...Are we?


Story-telling Digitally
SIOLIM: A group of students of Holy Cross High School here learning the technique to tell their own stories through small films, at a week-long Digital Storytelling Workshop organised by GoCreat volunteers. [Joel]


Colourful pageantry at the traditional Bonderam festival celebrate in every August at the beautiful island of Divar.


Plant Festival begins in Siolim
SIOLIM, Aug 23: The traditional Festival of Plants and Flowers began at the SFX Higher Secondary School here today. Organised by the Green Heritage Eco Club, the interesting event has put on show hundreds of plants and several presentations including those on Indian spices, which form the theme of this year's festival. The creativity of numerous school children is also on display in the form of different, beautiful items prepared by them. There are stalls selling plants, seeds, farming implements and also related books. [GoaNewsClips]


Tourism dept now targeting NRIs
PANJIM: The Department of Tourism has embarked upon a unique initiative to evoke interest about Goa among the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) settled abroad, in view of the approaching tourist season. Director of Tourism, Elvis Gomes, back to the state after his recent tour to South Africa, spoke about his project of promoting Goa’s tourism among Indians settled abroad, including Goans. [GT]


What really ails Goa?
The other day, while on a visit to a friend’s home, the point hit home with vengeance. An elderly mother was alone there; her son was out. A neighbour too was likewise afraid to open the door and offer instructions on how to find the place. Goa seems to be growing into a lonely, isolated, fragmented society, where each one cares for himself or herself, and is fearful of everyone else. This just makes on think: So what are the main 0problems that Goa faces today? [Frederick Noronha, Herald]


Charters up, but will they all land?
PANAJI: Around 827 charters have booked landing slots at Dabolim airport for the coming tourist season, but rooms to accommodate as many passengers have not been booked. While the figure of 827 flights beats last season’s number of 758 charters, the tourism industry is being cautious and says this is a projected figure that need not necessarily translate into landings. Subhash Phegade of Aircon Aviation Services and station manager of Monarch Airlines said that the bookings were tentative. “They have asked for slots. However, bookings this year are not even 50% of last year’s. An airline could book four landing slots per week. If there is a fall in bookings, they transfer the passengers and cancel slots.” [Andrew Pereira, TOI]


CM urges mining firms to show social responsibility
PANAJI, Aug 22: The Chief Minister, Mr Digambar Kamat, on Thursday said that the draft mining policy would be available to public scrutiny and for submitting objections and suggestion till December 31, 2008, and called upon the members of the House to come forward with their views so that the issue could be settled once for all to the satisfaction of everybody concerned. The Chief Minister said that mining was not his creation and that it existed even before he became a minister and that time has come to fix parameters for its operation. He also said that mine owners have to come forward and show their corporate social responsibility by ploughing back some percentage of their earning in to the villages from where they carry out mining activities. [NT]


North Zone administrator seals Mapusa Comunidade office
MAPUSA, Aug 20: The Administrator of North Zone Communidades, Mr Narayan Gaad, Tuesday sealed the office of the Mapusa Communidade here. According to the Administrator, rampant irregularities have been taking place in the Mapusa Communidade that included misappropriation of funds, selling of 151 Communidade plots illegally, allotment of kiosks illegally on Communidade land and various other irregularities. [NT]


Licences to mega projects challenged
MARGAO: The Benaulim panchayat on Tuesday went in appeal against the orders of the deputy director of panchayats that had earlier granted permission for the issuance of licences to two mega projects opposed by the gram sabha. Byron Rodrigues, advocate for the panchayat, said the appeal is based on the resolution passed by the gram sabha in 2008, not to allow construction on more than 800 square metres of land. He said that the resolution was never challenged by builders or interested parties within 30 days before the director of panchayats and hence the resolution was binding. [TOI]


Agriculture a dying profession amongst youth
BICHOLIM, Aug 19:- Agriculture has been one of the main occupations of the state but lately the increasing inclinations of the younger generation towards white collared jobs in the new tech savvy world has rendered it to figure last on the priority list of Goans as a career option. Among the many reasons that cause farmers to shy away from extensive agriculture is the non-profitability in the field. The continuous decline in the profit margin on agricultural products like coconut, arecanut, banana and other crops of various fruits has left the producers helpless. [NT]


Issue of illegal constructions dominates Anjuna gram sabha
The issue of illegal constructions dominated the gram sabha of Anjuna village panchayat held on Sunday. While the residents held the sarpanch responsible for patronising these structures, sarpanch Mr Chimulkar denied his involvement saying that these structures had mushroomed even before he could be a panch member and sarpanch. The issue of Lamanis on the beaches also figured during the meeting and the sarpanch informed the gathering that all possible steps would be taken to stop these people from frequenting the beach. [NT]


Drizzle ends Anjuna gram sabha midway
CALANGUTE, Aug 18: The Anjuna gram sabha on Sunday came to an abrupt end due to a drizzle, pushing aside some of the major issues to be discussed at the meet. [H]


Crocodile turns up at Karapur residence
BICHOLIM: Namrata Naik was surprised when she saw an unusual guest outside her hours at Kothiwada-Karapur on August 25 midnight. When she opened the door for her father, who had returned from bhajan at midnight, she was shocked to see a six-ft long crocodile outside her house almost ready to pounce upon her. The frightened family immediately contacted animal lover Amritsingh whose timely arrival helped the entire family heave a sigh of relief. [GT]

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