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Newsletter. Issue 2010-07. March 27, 2010

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News Clips from Goa

Sunset Point at Badem (Assagao), Goa, India

Click to view large

The picture of the famed Sunset Point at Badem (Assagao), Goa, India, has been dedicated to my friend John D'Souza (Canada), who hails from Badem. (Courtesy: Joel D'Souza )


Coastal security to get boost in N Goa
Security of the coastal regions of the country has become a matter of great concern particularly after 26/11 attack in Mumbai. In the light of the fact that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November 2008 entered the city through sea route, a constant vigil is now being maintained on all movements in the sea. Goa has been considered a soft target and it is for this reason that the Indian Navy has been asked to maintain a tight vigil in the deep seas to check any possible sea route infiltration. In such a situation the role of the coastal security police has now become more demanding than ever before with constant surveillance of the coast being carried out by the coastal security police wing of the Goa police. [NT]


Dig a pond first, then start illegal mining
Chanting an innovative 'Mantra', illegal miners have now embarked on a combative path. The sum and substance of their modus operandi, as exposed by the opposition BJP, is as follows: 'Dig a pond first and then surreptitiously embark on the path of illegal mining'. In accordance with opposition leader Manohar Parrikar's estimates, illegal mining activity spawning riches to the tune of Rs 1,500 crores illegally into the state economy is let off the hook. Aided and abetted by a collusive section of the police machinery in mining areas, the state exchequer is defrauded in the process, a claim Parrikar substantiated with facts and figures. [GT]


High death rate among govt employees causes concern
The average rate of death among government employees in the category of Class C and D is high ? nearly 120 per annum and this became a matter of concern in the Goa Assembly on Tuesday. The government needs to determine the cause of high death rate among the sections of the employees, suggested Leader of the Opposition Manohar Parrikar during Question Hour on Tuesday. He said the death rate of 135 government employees in the bottom two classes of the hierarchy of government employees is a cause of concern and that the government has to find out whether it is work-related stress or some other problem is responsible for premature of death of employees classified under Class C and D. [H]


Boost for tourism
The Central Government has assured Goa to provide a helicopter for patrolling beaches and financial assistance of Rs 49 crore while making beach safety a top priority, Governor Dr S S Siddu said in his customary address to the Goa Assembly on Monday. The Governor also mentioned about various safety measures adopted by the Government for safety of tourists. While the Government has put in place an Advanced Beach Safety Management system by virtue of which the death rate due to drowning has been substantially reduced, the Central Government has also offered to help in this task of beach safety. [H]


Russians helped Goa tourism buck recession: Swapnil
Despite the recent appalling media hoopla against Russians, it is the surge of Russian visitors who kept Goa tourism bucking the recession trend in 2009, said a senior Goa tourism official. "On the back of last year's recession faced by most industries, let us not forget that it is the Russian tourists who kept our hospitality sector vibrant," the tourism director, Mr Swapnil Naik told The Navhind Times. [NT]


Devotees throng Goa Velha to witness all saints procession
Hundreds of devotees from all walks of life thronged the St Andrew's Church at Goa Velha on Monday evening to witness the procession of all saints. The 'all saints' procession is a way of paying tribute to the saints during the lent season, which is a reminder of 40-day penance that Jesus Christ had gone through before he was crucified. Chancellor of the Archdiocese Fr Manuel Dias was the main celebrant at the mass along with St Andrew's Church Parish Priest Fr Raul Colaco and Pilar Fathers and Goa Velha Deanery priest. [H]

When the saints go marching out: Goa Velha,Goa
By Edgar Silveira | March 24,

One of the only place to hold a procession of saints other than Rome (according to the church announcement) is in the village of Goa Velha in Goa. This is a well-attended event and people from all corners of Goa attend. As a child, one remembers trying to avoid eye contact with the saints- they looked a little scary! Though the mood is somber, there is a fair that gathers outside the church of St. Andrew. Here are pictures of the procession of saints or ? Santa Purcao? in the local language, Konkani.

See more pics at: http://www.nowpublic.com/node/2595301/footage/list


Balancing Goan society?s growth
Mar 21, 2010, 12.52am IST

Every state has its own problems to face. There are different reasons for different challenges in different states. Some of the factors on which these challenges depend are: size of the state, population of the state, unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, etc. Bigger the states more serious are the challenges. Goa is a tiny state but its problems are neither less nor simple.

Since its Liberation in 1961-a period of almost 50 years-tiny Goa has faced huge and complex challenges. With the passage of time new challenges have surfaced. Goa is struggling to tackle these evils that pose a threat to the very existence of Goa and Goan culture.

In the past such threats to Goa?s existence were gallantly faced by Goans. The evil designs of merging Goa into Maharashtra were defeated way back in 1967 when true Goans won the historic opinion poll. The victory prevented merger of Goa into Maharashtra and paved the way for its statehood within the Union of India. In 1986 Goa witnessed the bloodiest agitation ever-the Language Agitation-in which seven Konkani lovers lost their lives in order to make Konkani the official language of Goa. Subsequently, Goa was declared the 25th fullfledged state in the country. Both these issues were very dear to Goans and hence the people of Goa, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, fought tooth and nail to preserve Goa and its identity. Democratically governed Goa tasted new challenges as time passed. In 1990, for the first time, the political cancer called ?defection? took birth in the state of Goa.

A democratically elected government was destabilized and a new government of selfish and greedy politicians came in its place. ?Democracy? was defeated in the so called literate state of Goa. This cancer of defection, since then, has taken firm roots in the political field of Goa and every government that administered Goa, including the present government, was/is threatened by this virus of defection. Corruption has become a way of life. Leaders as well as citizens today do not consider taking and giving bribe an offence. This is a dangerous trend which can lead Goan society to doom.

There are strict laws to prevent corruption. If these laws are implemented sincerely and impartially corruption can be eliminated. But it is practically impossible because the guardians of the law themselves indulge in corrupt activities.

Unemployment is another challenge that creates dissatisfaction among the youth of the state. Goa produces a lot of professionals as well as graduates and postgraduates. Unfortunately very few are accommodated in the state of Goa. Most prefer to go out of Goa due to the following reasons: (a) Unencouraging salary, (b) fewer promotional avenues and (c) no scope for professional growth. It is sad to note that graduates and postgraduates attend interviews for the posts meant for undergraduates.

According to a national survey, although Goa has bagged the first place in the health sector, is is not completely healthy. If one has to believe in statistics on Goa?s health, the number of AIDs cases in Goa is on the increase. Sanitation and cleanliness, particularly in the villages, is not up to the mark. The increase of slums too adversely affects the health of the state.

Another very serious issue that threatens the Goan society is the deterioration of value system. Values dear to Goans such as respect to elders, caring for the old and sick, helping the needy, are waning away. Age-old communal harmony among Goans is threatened. Goans are becoming more communal minded day by day. Unfortunate indeed! Destruction of Goa?s environment in the guise of development goes unabated day in and day out. Goan youth aping the West in all aspects of life also pose a great danger to the survival of Goan culture.

To add to this misery is the influx of non-Goans into the state. If this is not stopped, in a decade?s time, undoubtedly Goans, in their own state, will be outnumbered by non-Goans.

There is no doubt that during the last 50 years Goa has progressed tremendously in all fields. At the same time, along with the development, numerous evils have entered society. Development will have no meaning if we cannot arrest the ills that accompany development.

Therefore it should be the duty of every political party, every political, social and religious leader and every citizen of Goa to identify the evils that come with development and take immediate action to minimize their existence. If we succeed in curbing the ill effects of development then only we will have the much desired balanced growth of Goa and Goan society.


Goan doctor receives world award for dementia work
Domnic Fernandes |
HERALD NEWS BUREAU | Fri, 19 Mar 2010 03:20:43 ?0700

Dr Amit Dias, secretary of the Dementia Society of Goa and lecturer at the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Goa Medical College received the prestigious Foundation Médéric Alzheimer and Alzheimer Disease International award for the best evidence based research on interventions for people with dementia.
He received the award at a function that was held at the International Alzheimer?s conference in Thessaloniki-Greece on March 12. Dr Dias, who is also coordinator of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel for dementia at the Alzheimer?s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), attributes the success of the project to the dedicated efforts of the whole team and the support from his family.

The project was carried out under the leadership of Prof. Vikram Patel, professor of International Mental Health, LSHTM. The Dementia Society of Goa, is an NGO dedicated to the cause of serving families of people with dementia. It was established in the year 2002 and is currently under the able leadership of Dr Chicot Vas, consultant neurologist Goa Medical College.

Hailing from Aldona but presently residing in Porvorim, Dr Dias is the coordinator of the 10/66 Dementia research group in India which is involved in conducting epidemiological studies aimed at gathering the evidence to shape public health policies that would be sensitive to the needs of the rising numbers of people with dementia in India.

This is one of the first evidence based interventions in Asia on non pharmacological management for families of people with dementia.  The project showed that home-based support for caregivers of persons with dementia, which emphasizes the use of locally available human resources, is feasible, acceptable and leads to significant improvements in caregiver mental health and burden of caring and has an impact on the quality of life of the people with dementia.

Director of Fondation Médéric Alzheimer Michele Fremontier and Executive Director of ADI, Marc Wortmann informed that they received proposals from both from the developing and the developed countries and they felt that the project from India deserved the prize.  The panel of judges consisted of distinguished epidemiologists, psychiatrists  and even people with dementia on the panel.

Dr Dias informed that the prize, which amounts to 18,000 Euros will be utilized for further disseminating the findings of the study and training people in using this evidence based intervention.

The award is given in recognition of the research project on evaluating the effectiveness of community interventions for families of people with dementia in Goa.  The project was funded by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of  Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India.

Dr Dias is part of the team that is developing the national strategy for dementia in India, said that dementia is a major public health priority in the elderly in view of the demographic transition in this
country. He informed that the draft national dementia strategy document will be presented to the Government of India by the end of this year.

ARDSI believes that public health programmes for dementia should focus on community based interventions using the locally available resources as was done in this award winning project.

Moi-mogan,| Domnic Fernandes| Anjuna, Goa


Offshore Patrol Vessel inducted into Coast Guard
Date:18/03/2010 | Prakash Kamat

ICGS ?Vishwast' is primarily designed for patrolling and policing maritime zones

MORMUGAO (GOA): The maritime security of the country's west coast got a boost on Wednesday with the induction of a state-of-the-art new generation Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) - ICGS ?Vishwast' - into the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

?Vishwast,' which means ?trustworthy,' is an OPV indigenously designed in-house and built by the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), the south Goa-based Defence shipyard, and was formally commissioned into the ICG by Defence Minister A.K. Antony at a ceremony at the GSL on Wednesday.

Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Secretary Defence (Production) R.K. Singh, Director-General of the Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral A.K. Chopra, JS (Naval Systems) Gyanesh Kumar, NM Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai and CMD GSL Rear Admiral (retired) Vineet Bakshi were present at the ceremony.

This OPV is the only vessel of this class in the world with the sophistication, large range of facilities for pollution control, fire fighting, search and rescue and patrolling provided in a 90-metre vessel, GSL officials said.

The ship is primarily designed for patrolling and policing maritime zones, search and rescue operations, maritime surveillance, anti-smuggling operations, pollution response against oil spillages and external fire-fighting.

Focus on coastal security
Reiterating the Centre's thrust on coastal security, Mr. Antony said: ?The government has approved all that the Coast Guard has asked for in terms of assets and manpower so that their capabilities are enhanced.

?In all, 14 new Coast Guard stations have been approved recently, and fast track procurement of ships, boats and aircraft has been permitted.?

He urged the Coast Guard to be more professional and committed to duty. ?The delineation of the continental shelf and the resulting increase in the Exclusive Economic Zone mean that the Indian Coast Guard will have more sea area to monitor,? Mr. Antony said, calling upon the Coast Guard to rise to the occasion and ensure that response time to emergency situations was further reduced. He praised the GSL for efficiency and asked it to sustain its performance and focus on delivery period reduction and cost-competitiveness as regards defence shipbuilding.

Modernisation drive
In his welcome remarks, Rear Admiral Bakshi said the GSL was on a modernisation drive that included the installation of a shiplift and the creation of GRP ship production infrastructure.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu


36 Hours in Goa, India
By Jeff Koyen

FOR many, Goa is synonymous with hippies, hedonism and all-night dance parties held under a full moon. But India?s popular seaside destination offers more than deadheads and clichés. For one thing, Goa is not a single beach, but a rich and varied state - one that offers 63 miles of coastline along the Arabian Sea. Beyond the beaches lies a lush landscape that conceals ancient temples, rich ecosystems and the hilly farmlands that proved irresistible to European spice traders. Centuries before the hippies, there were the Portuguese - and it?s their lingering influence, not the lax laws, that makes Goa such an alluring place. Click to read more

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