log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 6 Nil covid deaths, active count up PANAJI: Goa recorded nil covid deaths on Wednesday after a gap of nearly five days. The covid mortality count stands at 3297. The active covid count has risen to 950 and is nearing the 1000 mark yet again. Special meeting of CCP turns stormy PANAJI: The special meeting of the Corporation of City of Panaji on Wednesday was a stormy affair over the proposal for a “settlement” with the lessee of the property which formerly housed the famous ‘Cine National’ movie theatre adjoining the iconic pre-liberation ‘Massano de Amorim’ heritage building in the capital. >> See pg 3 Unauthorised stalls despite HC directive MAPUSA: Despite several High Court directions to clear encroachments on Main District Roads (MDR), at least five unauthorised stalls have sprung up along the road widening area of the main road at Khorlim-Mapusa. >> See pg 3 Porvorim market awaits occupancy PORVORIM: The new market complex near Hanuman temple at Porvorim inaugurated over a month ago is still awaiting an occupancy certificate from the local panchayat and an allotment policy from the Goa Housing Board (GHB) for shops and offices. >> See pg 3 Fadnavis’ visit a courtesy: Rane PANAJI: Even as the meeting between former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and senior Congress leader Pratapsing Rane raised several eyebrows, the latter brushed it aside as a “courtesy call”. Photographs of the two and Rane’s wife Vijayadevi in the frame had gone viral on social media platforms. >> See pg 3 Jeep gets stuck in river, 5 rescued PANAJI: Five tourists, all in their 20s, were rescued on Wednesday after the jeep they were travelling in was marooned in the middle of river near Doodhsagar waterfalls. Lifeguards, who were called in for the rescue, brought them back to shore safely. >> See pg 5 WEATHER >> Max: 30C Min: 25C Humidity: 88% RAINFALL: 120.29 IN TIDES Low: High: 5:53 8:16 0:07 12:09 The Goan (Playstore) 8 pages PRICE ` 6 PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VII, NO. 96 Covid will likely shift from pandemic to endemic, but what does that mean IN SHORT >> Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday GOA Sonsodo bio-methanation plants: 5 companies respond to MMC EoI 2 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 GOA AAP’s doles similar to incentives for religious conversions: BJP 3 CAG audit red flags GMC’s Sodexo pharmacy deal SPORTS Ronaldo topples Messi as Forbes highest-earning footballer 8 Get Covid ex-gratia without death cert ALLEGES `3.74 CRORE ‘AVOIDABLE LOSS’ ON MEDICINE PURCHASES THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The statutory audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its ‘Audit Inspection Report’ has flagged the Goa Medical College and Hospital for two of its outsourcing deals -- the hospital kitchen to Sodexo Food Solutions India Pvt Ltd and the inhouse pharmacy to M/s Wellness Forever Medicare Pvt Ltd. The report of the Deputy Accountant General has flagged a Rs 3.74 crore “avoidable loss” on procurement of medicines, surgical disposables and chemicals through ‘local purchases’ and failure to negotiate the conventional 5 per-cent discount on bulk purchase with Wellness Forever Medicare Pvt Ltd. In his detailed note, the Deputy Accountant General has noted that the Health Minister (Vishwajit Rane) had directed in June 2018 to discontinue procurement of medicines, surgicals and implants under lapsed tenders and instead place requisitions through the in-house phar- SCATHING REPORT The report of the Deputy Accountant General pointed out the failure to negotiate the conventional 5 per-cent discount on bulk purchase with Wellness Forever Medicare Pvt Ltd In his detailed note, the Deputy Accountant General has noted that the Health Minister (Vishwajit Rane) had directed in June 2018 to discontinue procurement of medicines, surgicals and implants under lapsed tenders and instead place requisitions through the in-house pharmacy (M/S Wellness Forever Medicare Pvt) The report said due to delay in finalisation of tender and stoppage of procurement of medicines from old tenderers at a discounted rate has led to purchase of medicines through local purchase amounting to Rs 74.76 crore made on MRP from WFML during 2018-21 (up to February 2021) macy (M/S Wellness Forever Medicare Pvt). “Due to delay in finalisation of tender and stoppage of procurement of medicines from old tenderers at a dis- counted rate has led to purchase of medicines through local purchase amounting to Rs 74.76 crore made on MRP from WFML during 2018-21 (up to February 2021),” the re- Court halts bypass work in Chinchinim water body THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The Bombay High Court at Goa has ordered that no work on the construction of a bypass road in Chinchinim will be taken forward until the matter is placed before the Chief Town Planner as per a circular issued back in 2010, who has then to place it before a special committee and finally the Town and Country Planning Board. The High Court also rejected the government’s contention that the land in question -- surveyed under No 45/15 of Chinchinim village was not a water body and hence could be filled and built over without any special dispensation. Disposing of a petition filed by some villagers from Chinchinim and surrounding villages, the High Court agreed with the inspection report filed by the Goa Biodiversity Board that the land in question was indeed a water body. “We are satisfied that the area surveyed under No 45/15 COURT RULES The High Court rejected the government’s contention that the land in question -- surveyed under No 45/15 of Chinchinim village -- was not a water body and hence could be filled and built over without any special dispensation Disposing of a petition filed by some villagers from Chinchinim and surrounding villages, the is indeed a water body. The contentions to the contrary cannot be accepted. The site inspection report itself reveals that even the PWD engineers were a part of the team that inspected the site. The PWD engineers have not even bothered to place any note of dissent. Besides, the inspection team included inter alia Dr Shailesh Morajkar, Scientific Officer of Goa State Wetland Authority,” the High Court port said. On the GMC’s deal with SODEXO, the audit report has flagged “excess expenditure” of Rs 1.29 crore due to “faulty tendering”, another excess payment of Rs 19.11 lakh for dietary charges and a Rs 2.41 crore loss of revenue due to non-levy of rent and penalty. On the SODEXO deal, the audit inspection report has pointed out that the tendering process had given the firm an undue advantage and bypassed competitiveness in the bidding process by the inclusion of a clause which gave weightage to larger contract turnover in India. The rate per patient per day quoted by SODEXO was Rs 292 which was 25 per-cent higher than its competitor Hocaps Facility Management Pvt Ltd, yet due to its large turnover it got 81.9 points against the latter’s 78.8 points, the report noted. Sodexo was awarded the contract by GMC at a negotiated rate of Rs 277 per patient per day which was Rs 42 higher than Hocaps Pvt Ltd. The audit report, however, did not compute the gross excess cost to the GMC on this count. In a disclaimer though, the Deputy Accountant General has noted: “The Inspection Report has been prepared on the basis of information furnished and made available by the Dean, Goa Medical College & Hospital, Bambolim. The Office of the Accountant General, Goa, disclaims any responsibility for any misinformation and/or non-information on the part of the auditee.” Meanwhile, the GMC’s joint director of accounts had in August circulated the ‘Audit Inspection Report’ to all department and section heads of the premier health institution and sought detailed replies to the audit paras pertaining to their respective departments/ sections for onward submission. Based on an assessment of these replies, the Accountant General Goa is likely to close its findings and submit a final report which eventually will be presented in the final consolidated CAG report of the State statutorily and constitutionally published annually. Subsidy for meters soon after fitment Sanvordem-Margao double line speed trials from today THE GOAN I NETWORK bench of Justices M S Sonak and M S Jawalkar, said. Petitioners led by one Remedious D’Cunha had approached the court seeking directions commanding the Goa government to stop the construction activities/construction of the proposed by-pass road at Chinchinim over properties that covered around six survey numbers and for PANAJI Goa government on Wednesday notified the amended ‘Goa State Public Transport Reimbursement of cost of Digital Fare Meter 2021’ scheme. As per the amended notification, the quantum of reimbursement to the taxi owners after fixing of digital meters is Rs 11,234 which includes the cost of the device inclusive of backend service and data charges for the first year. The entire cost of the digital meter i.e Rs 11,234 will be credited to the account of the taxi owners immediately after fitting their vehicle with digital meters, said Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho. “They will just have to fill a form after fixing the meter and submit the documents,” he added. The device also has a printer, GPS and panic button. “The amount of Rs 11,234 will be reimbursed directly to the individual beneficiary >Continued on P5 >Continued on P5 High Court agreed with the inspection report filed by the Goa Biodiversity Board that the land in question was indeed a water body Chief Minister Pramod Sawant distributes ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to a family who lost a member to Covid-19. Narayan Pissurlenkar THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI In a significant move, the State government has exempted beneficiary applicants seeking the Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia for death due to Covid-19 of a family member from furnishing the victim’s ‘Covid death’ certificate and instead will have to produce the medical report from the hospital which refers to the RT-PCR or RAT report of any ICMR authorized laboratory. The announcement was made via an official press release on Wednesday which said that the government has ascertained that beneficiary applicants are “getting hardship” to obtain the death certificate from the hospital. “It has come to the notice that the applicants applying for financial assistance under the said scheme are getting hardship for obtaining a death certificate from the concerned hospital. It has, therefore, been decided to accept the applications, from the concerned applicants without insisting for the COVID death certificate as the department is alternatively confirming about the reason of death from the Directorate of Health Services,” said the official press release. It added that applications can instead be made with attachments of a medical certificate in the prescribed proforma issued by the concerned hospitals where the victim expired due to Covid-19 which should have reference of the RTPCR/RAT report of any authorized laboratory of ICMR. The newly-laid double track on the Sanvordem-Margao section of the South Western Railway. THE GOAN I NETWORK MARGAO After disruptions in the work schedule by the Covid-19 pandemic and also because of the anti-track doubling protests, the stage is finally set for the speed trials on the newly-laid line on the Sanvordem-Chandor-Margao stretch on Thursday. As part of the Statutory inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, speed trial by a special train will be conducted Don’t double Majorda to Vasco line: Sardinha MARGAO: Saying he was not opposed to the double-track already laid at a couple of stretches, South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha said that the railways should not pursue double-tracking of Majorda-Vasco stretch where plans are afoot to acquire land and cause destruction to human habitation. on the 15.6-km double track between Sanvordem-Margao laid by the South Western Railway as part of the ambitious Tinaighat-Vasco-da-Gama track-doubling project. The work is believed to have cost the railways around Rs 150 crore. Track doubling on the Sanvordem-Margao stretch was initiated by on January 18, 2018, with a deadline to complete it within two years. >Continued on P5 PM Modi departs for US, to After facing backlash, UK recognises Covishield but attend Quad summit talks quarantine rules for vaccinated Indians to continue AGENCIES NEW DELHI Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked on a three-day visit to the United States on Wednesday. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation consisting of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and senior officials including Shringla. This is Prime Minister Modi’s first visit abroad beyond the neighbourhood since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. He will address the UN General Assembly and attend the Quad Summit as well as hold a bilateral meet with US President Joe Biden at the White House. Biden will host PM Modi at the White House on September 24. This is going to be the first in-person meeting between the two leaders after Biden took over as the US President on January 20. As per the statement issued by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, PM Modi and President Biden are expected to discuss ways to stem radicalisation and combat ter- rorism. They are also expected to discuss ways to bolster defence, trade ties, security collaborations and clean energy partnership among others,” PM Modi and Biden will discuss the current regional security situation following the recent developments in Afghanistan. PM Modi will also hold business interactions during his US visit which ends on September 25. Prime Minister Modi will attend the first in-person summit of the Quad hosted by the US President on Friday, which will be attended by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia. AGENCIES NEW DELHI he United Kingdom has announced changes in its travel and quarantine rules and said that the UK now recognises Covishield as a vaccine. This comes amid a growing row over UK not recognising the Covishield vaccine made in India. However, Indians who have taken the Covishield vaccine will still have to remain in quarantine due to a ‘certification’ issue according to the UK government. In its latest travel update, the UK has said that from October 4, one will qualify as fully vaccinated if they are “vaccinated under an approved T vaccination programme in the UK, Europe, USA or UK vaccine programme overseas with a full course of the Oxford/ AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan”. It further mentions, “Formulations of the 4 listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines.” India on Tuesday warned of “reciprocal measures” if the UK does not address its con- GOOD TO GO However, Indians who have taken the Covishield vaccine will still have to remain in quarantine due to a ‘certification’ issue according to the UK government It further mentions, “Formulations of the 4 listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines” India had warned of “reciprocal measures” if the UK does not address its concerns over the new travel rules relating to Covid-19 vaccine certification, calling the new policy “discriminatory” cerns over the new travel rules relating to Covid-19 vaccine certification, calling the new policy “discriminatory”. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also took up the issue of Covishield-vaccinated travellers being required to quarantine in the UK with newly-appointed British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss at a meeting in New York on Tuesday. “The basic issue is that here is a vaccine, Covishield, which is a licensed product of the UK company, manufactured in India of which we have supplied five million doses to the UK at the request of the government of the UK,” said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. “We understand that this is being used under the national health system, and, therefore, non-recognition of Covishield is a discriminatory policy and does impact those of our citizens travelling to the UK,” Shringla said at a media briefing.
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