log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday WEDNESDAY JANUARY 12, 2022 8 pages PRICE ` 6 What is Wordle, why is it suddenly so popular? IN SHORT >> Polem tense over vax reports CANACONA: Tension flared up at the Polem border check post in Canacona on Tuesday morning, when Congress workers stopped vehicles and demanded RT-PCR negative reports along with vaccination certificates from travellers arriving from Karnataka. >> See pg 3 184 cartons of liquor seized PANAJI: In a raid conducted by a team of Calangute police station, 184 cartons (over 1500 bottles) of premium liquor bottles - Black Label and Absolut Vodka -- having market value of approximately Rs 80 lakhs were seized. (See photo on pg5) RG announces 4th list of candidates PANAJI: The Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP) on Tuesday announced its fourth list of seven candidates who will contest the assembly elections on February 14. RG Chief Manoj Parab said the party has selected new faces with a clean background. 10 African women held for overstaying PANAJI: Anjuna police arrested 10 women, 9 from Uganda and one from Nigeria for overstaying in India without valid visa and other documents. Police informed that the women were staying in a rented house in Anjuna. Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VII, NO. 205 GOA 6 The Goan (Playstore) Criminal cases against me are politically motivated: Churchill 2 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 Displaced GMC kiosk owners suspend stir India successfully tests supersonic cruise missile>> See pg 7 WEATHER >> Max: 29.8 C Min: 19.1 C Humidity: 69% TIDES Low: High: 0:04 5:56 13:17 20:48 Sindhu, Srikanth cruise into 2nd round of India Open n LOBO, MAMLEDAR JOIN CONGRESS n GAUDE JOINS BJP; ZANTYE ENTERS MGP THE GOAN I NETWORK Controversial projects will go if Cong wins: Lobo PANAJI It was a day of hectic political developments, with as many as four former legislators, including two ministers, shifting alliances on Tuesday. CALANGUTE CONG BLOCK, ASPIRING CANDIDATES LIKELY TO QUIT PARTY >> See pg 3 While former minister and ex-BJP MLA Michael Lobo and ex-MGP MLA Lavoo Mamledar joined the Congress, former minister and former independent MLA Govind Gaude joined the BJP and former BJP MLA Pravin Zantye joined the MGP. Lobo, who resigned as minister from the BJP government on Monday, joined the Congress party along with his wife, Delilah Lobo, a Michael Lobo and his wife, Delilah Lobo being welcomed into the Congress party. number of panchas and supporters late Tuesday evening in the presence of AICC Goa Incharge Dinesh Gundu Rao, Opposition Leader and Margao MLA Digambar Kamat and other office bearers. “Today is a very happy moment. A strong, powerful and grassroots leader is joining the party. He is not only popular in his constituency but has influence across the taluka. A big force has entered the party. This force along with the Congress party strength will bring good results,” said Rao. He exuded confidence that Congress would get 25-plus seats with the entry of Michael Lobo into the party. “Lobo’s entry will make an impact not only in Bardez but across Goa,” said Rao, while PANAJI: Stating that the Congress would get over 22 seats and form the next government, former minister Michael Lobo said he would ensure that controversial projects being opposed by the people are scrapped in South Goa. “We have joined Congress for the betterment of Goa and only this party is capable of taking Goa forward. We have seen Digambar Kamat’s work as chief minister. In the upcoming election, Congress will get 22-plus seats,” said Lobo. His wife, Delilah, said they would create history in Siolim constituency. adding that internal opposition to Michael would be managed. “People are fed up with the government. More than Lobo, it is his workers who made him join the Congress because it is a party which is working for the people,” said Rao. Kamat said that people do not want the present government to return to power. “Lobo has taken the correct decision which is in the interest of the people of Goa,” he added. “Many will come back to Congress, like former Ponda MLA Lavoo Mamledar, who has joined the Congress after leaving the TMC.” Earlier, Govind Gaude >Continued on P5 BJP holds secret ballot voting to decide Panaji candidate PANAJI: Voting by secret ballot was held at the state election office to decide BJP’s Panaji candidate. Over hundred prominent workers and functionaries of BJP Panaji block participated in the voting process in the presence of observer Devendra Fadavnis and other senior leaders. They were asked to write the name of their choice for the candidate. Ticket aspirant and Panaji MLA Babush Monserrate also participated with his supporters in the voting. >Continued on P5 Reginaldo rubbishes rumours of being in talks with Congress PANAJI: TMC leader Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco on Tuesday rubbished all rumours about him being in talks with his former party Congress. “All such rumours are baseless. I am sticking with Goa TMC. I am sticking with my commitment to the people of my constituency. Like I said before, the only reason why I left Congress was that I wanted to work for my people. I wasn’t being allowed to do that,” he said. >> See pg 2 TMC-MGP invoke Bandodkar’s pro-people populist schemes BETTER LATE THAN NEVER Promise subsidised homes, ownership for tenants THE GOAN I NETWORK LUCKNOW: In a massive blow to the BJP and Yogi Adityanath just before the Uttar Pradesh election, a minister and four MLAs quit on Tuesday and joined the party’s main chal-lenger, Akhilesh Yadav. >> See pg 7 MUMBAI: Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar is in hospital in Mumbai after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. The 92-year-old singer, who is also known as the nightingale of India, is currently undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit (ICU) of Mumbai’s Breach Candy hospital. >> See pg 7 8 SPORTS Leaders party-hop in dance of democracy Blow to BJP in UP as 4 leaders quit Lata Mangeshkar tests Covid +ve 3 GOA Amid the surge of Covid cases in Goa, the St Inez vaccination centre in Panaji witnessed a big queue of people for taking their second dose of vaccination. Narayan Pissurlenkar Big relief as Covid testing rates slashed ` 00 RT-PCR testing, ` 50 for antigen; rates for int’l arrivals unchanged 5 2 THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The state government on Tuesday capped the Covid testing rate charges to maximum Rs 500 from conventional RT-PCR using any open ended systems and Rs 250 for Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) using lateral flow immune chromatography. Order to this effect has been issued by Under Secretary (Health-II), Gautami Parmekar. Parmekar issued the order in supersession of all previous orders about capping of rates thereby bringing the new capped rates into force from Tuesday. The rate for Covid tests on arrival at the Goa International Airport for international arrivals have been exempted from the order and will remain fixed at Rs 1,500. While the daily positivity rate skyrocketed to 30.36 per cent, Goa’s cumulative Covid death toll has risen to 3,537. A total of 27 patients were admitted to the hospital for >Continued on P5 Covid graph shoots up, 2.4k cases, 4 deaths PANAJI: On Tuesday, the Directorate of Health Services recorded 2,476 new cases of Covid from among the 8,154 samples tested in the last 24 hours. Four Covid related deaths were recorded simultaneously. Goa’s active Covid tally now stands at 12,019. Ajgaonkar tests + ve for Covid PANAJI: In yet another instance showcasing the risks of political campaigning, Deputy Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Babu alias Manohar Ajgaonkar tested positive for Covid. Ajgaonkar, who has been eyeing the Margao constituency seat recently, has been on a busy campaign trail throughout the last week. PANAJI The new MGP-TMC collective has taken inspiration from the past to usher in the promised ‘new dawn’ drawing from the state’s first Chief Minister Dayanand Bandodkar’s populist legislations. In a major joint announcement on Tuesday, top Trinamool Congress and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party promised 50,000 subsidised housing to Goan native homeless families and title and ownership of land under possession to tenants who have been living in Goa before 1976. The schemes will be implemented within 250 days of coming to power, according to the coalition leaders. According to TMC national vice president Luizinho Faleiro, the decision once implemented would impact 60 per cent of the state’s population and added that would only account for 0.6 per cent of the state’s annual budget. “Today, in the history of the state of Goa we are taking a very important step. This step will affect the lives of 60 per cent of the population of Goa. It will affect 2.1 lakh families in Goa,” Faleiro told the joint press conference. Faleiro said that the an- POLL PITCH 50,000 subsidised housing to Goan native homeless families and title and ownership of land under possession to tenants who have been living in Goa before 1976 The schemes will be implemented within 250 days of coming to power, according to the coalition leaders nouncement of the twin initiatives was made after consultation with social activists, economists and budget experts. “Griha Laxmi card represents eight per cent of the budget, Yuva Shakti card represents four per cent and subsidised houses represent 0.6 per cent. In other words, if anyone wants to know, the various schemes which TMC has brought hardly affect 13.2 per cent of the budget,” Faleiro said. “It will impact the lives of 60 per cent of the population of Goa. It will affect 2.1 lakh families in Goa. It is a landmark housing rights scheme that aims at securing the housing rights of Goenkars which is a constitutional duty of any government and is interpreted as a fundamental right under Article 21 (Right To Life) of the Constitution,” he said. Faleiro also said that the TMC will operationalise pro-people legislations like The Goa Daman and Diu Agricultural Tenancy Act, 1964 and The Goa Daman & Diu Mundkars (Protection from eviction) Act, 1975 on the ground and take Bandodkar’s ambitions further while accusing governments who succeeded Bandodkar of trying to make his pet legislation toothless. Cong rubbishes any talks Govt files objection to kabrastan land zone change of alliance with Trinamool THE GOAN I NETWORK THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Amid aggressive speculation about a possible alliance between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress for the upcoming polls, All India Congress Committee secretary in-charge of Goa Dinesh Gundu Rao on Tuesday tried to steer clear of the conversation. While Rao described a report on Monday in the national media, which suggested ongoing talks in the Congress about an alliance with the TMC as erroneous, the AICC official was more guarded in his reaction to reports -- once again in the national media -quoting Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar There is neither discussion in the Congress regarding an alliance with the TMC nor was there any meeting yesterday regarding that. And they said that leaders (from Goa) have been called to Delhi. Nobody was called to Delhi. Nobody has gone. That was a report which was incorrect – Dinesh Gundu Rao, AICC secretary in-charge of Goa as saying that alliance talks between the Congress, TMC and the NCP were on. “There is neither discussion in the Congress regarding an alliance with the TMC nor was there any meeting yesterday regarding that. And they said that leaders (from Goa) have been called to Delhi. Nobody was called to Delhi. Nobody has gone. That was a report which was incorrect,” Rao said, when asked to react to a report on NDTV, which said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was spearheading the dialogue in the party vis a vis an alliance with the Congress. When asked to react to >Continued on P5 MARGAO In a major development ahead of the ensuing Assembly polls, the government has lodged its objection to the change in zone of the Sonsodo land, which was acquired for kabrastan around a decade ago, but was changed for low-cost housing and orchard zone in the 2028 Outline Development plan (ODP) for Margao. Even as the Congress and Goa Forward Party-backed Margao Municipal Council is yet to take a stand on the renewed demands of the Muslim community to re-notify the Sonsodo land for kabrastan, Director of Urban Development Gurudas Pilarnekar has filed an objection to the PDA’s decision to change zone of the Sonsodo land. File photo of kabrastan land. NEW TURN The Urban Development Director told The Goan that he has told the MMC Chief Officer to place the contentious matter before the council since the High Court is seized of the matter Sources said he has taken the decision based on representations received from the Muslim community to re-notify the Sonsodo land for kabrastan The Urban Development Director told The Goan that he has told the MMC Chief Officer to place the contentious matter before the council since the High Court is seized of the matter. “My office has lodged objection to the SGPDA objecting to the change in zone of the Sonsodo land, which was acquired for kabrastan to lowcost housing. Since the land was acquired for the specific purpose of setting up the burial grounds, I have decided to lodge objection to the ODP showing the land as low-cost housing and orchard land”, Pilarnekar told The Goan. When pointed out that the MMC is yet to take a call on the sensitive matter, Pilarnekar said the MMC should know the matter is pending in the High Court. “The government has taken a stand in the HC pertaining to the PIL stating that the acquired land at Sonsodo should be retained for Kabrastan. The MMC CO has been told to take necessary action since the court is seized of the matter,” he added. Sources said the Director, Urban Development, has taken the decision based on representations received from the Muslim community to re-notify the Sonsodo land for kabrastan. Incidentally, the decision comes against the backdrop of last week’s agitation in the city in support of the kabrastan, following which Chief Minister PramodSawant had handed out a categorical assurance to a delegation led by Deputy Chief Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar and others that the zone will be re-notified within a month. The zone of the acquired land at Sonsodo was changed in the 2028 Margao ODP three years ago in 2019 on the premise that the MMC has opted for alternate land at Sirvodem-Khareband which, however, is yet to become a reality to date. Interestingly, MMC CO has >Continued on P5
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