log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday TUESDAY APRIL 6, 2021 8 pages PRICE ` 6 2nd strain of Covid affecting kids more? IN SHORT >> Symbolic protest swim turns tragic for activist PANAJI: An adventurous protest swim across the Mandovi river last Saturday ended tragically as the body of one of the two activists, Manuel Pereira of Sinquerim, who dived into the river at Betim, was fished out on Monday. Pereira and the organiser of the protest, Sudeep Dalvi, were the two activists who plunged into the river on Saturday evening but only the latter swam ashore on the Panaji side. >> See pg 3 Man injured after being shot in Merces OLD GOA: An argument over a worker took a violent turn when a businessman from Kumbarvaddy-Merces is alleged to have shot and injured a man at Merces on Monday afternoon. The injured man was rushed to the GMC hospital where he is recuperating. >> See pg 3 Controversy over Cuncolim memorial MARGAO: Newly elected Cuncolim Municipal Council’s first meeting on Tuesday has already kicked up a row of sorts over the agenda in respect of funding of the Cuncolim Freedom Fighter’s memorial. >> See pg2 Polling in 5 states, UT today NEW DELHI: The stage is set for the busiest day of the ongoing election season with all the five states/UT — West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry — going to polls on April 6. >> See pg 7 Arch of highest bridge complete NEW DELHI: In a historic milestone, India on Monday completed the construction of the arch of the world’s highest railway bridge that soars nearly 359 metres above the bed of Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir. >> See pg 7 March third warmest in 121 years: IMD NEW DELHI: March was the third warmest in 121 years in terms of monthly average maximum temperature, the India Meteorological Department on Monday said. Several parts of the country had recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in March. WEATHER >> Max: 34.3 C Min: 25.2 C Humidity: 76% TIDES Low: High: 0:48 5:45 12:38 20:13 Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VI, NO. 286 GOA 6 The Goan (Playstore) SGPDA wholesale fish market deadlock persists as traders stick to their guns 2 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 NEWS Maha home min quits after High Court orders CBI probe 7 SPORTS Shahrukh reminds me a bit of Pollard, says Punjab Kings head coach Kumble 8 DRIVE SLOW, HEF TY FINES AHEAD! n GOA GOVT FINALLY NOTIFIES CENTRAL MV ACT FOR IMPLEMENTATION n TRANSPORT & POLICE DEPTS GIVEN POWERS TO COMPOUND OFFENCES THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The amended Central Motor Vehicle Act, making it more stringent and steeply raising the quantum of fines for traffic violations has finally been notified by the Goa government for implementation on April 16. The Pramod Sawant-led government had kept on hold the implementation of the Central amendment to the traffic law for nearly a year initially citing the poor condition of roads due to ongoing works and later due to Covid-19 pandemic. The notification also designates various officers of various ranks of the transport department and also the Goa police with powers to compound offences under the Act. As per the amended law use of mobile while driving a two or three wheeler attracts a Rs 1,500 fine for the first offence and a whopping Rs 10,000 for subsequent repeat of the violation. For car and other vehicle drivers, using a mobile while driving will cost Rs 3000 for the first violation and Rs 10,000 for every subsequent offence. New fines from May 1: Transport Minister THE GOAN I NETWORK VASCO Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho on Monday clarified that the new Motor Vehicle (MV) Act would be implemented in the State from May 1, and not from April 16, as was notified in the gazette. Godinho said the intervening period would be utilised by the transport department to carry out awareness programmes across the State before the new MV Act is implemented. “The new MV Act has been notified in the State and steep fines will be enforced. The State government will issue a corrigendum in the gazette stating that the new MV Act will be implemented from May 1 and not from April 16. “During this intervening period, starting from Wednesday, we will create public awareness of the Other fines specified in the amended law are Rs 1000 for driving without fasten- Director ignores no-trust move Curchorem Chairperson takes charge THE GOAN I NETWORK SANGUEM In a further setback to the BJP-backed 10 councillors who have made efforts to oust the new elected Curchorem-Cacora Municipal Council (CCMC) chairperson barely an hour after he was elected on April 1, the director of urban development has said their no-confidence motion cannot be considered at this stage. SETBACK FOR BJP Afetr the Director of Urban Development Gurudas Pilarnekar refused to consider the motion of the BJP councillors, Balkirishna Hodarkar took charge of the council on Monday. Replying to the 10 councillors, the Director of Urban Development Gurudas Pilarnekar said, “It is to inform you that the proceedings of the special meeting to elect the chairperson and vice-chairperson are not yet received in this office. Therefore, the no-confidence motion moved by you cannot be considered at this stage.” It may be recalled that the BJP was left red-faced at the CCMC last Thursday, when the BJP-backed candidate Vishwas Pandu Sawant lost to Hodarkar in a secret ballot by 8-7 votes even though the party had 10 of the 15 councillors in its panel, indicating that three candidates in the BJP panel had voted for Hodarkar. Power Minister and Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral was quick to slam some councillors of Curchorem-Cacora Municipal Council (CCMC) for their lack of ethics and principles, after Hodarkar was elected CCMC chairperson, but downplayed the incident and said it was not a setback to him and that, he would continue his work in Curchorem as he did not depend on the CCMC. The new MV Act has been notified in the State and steep fines will be enforced. The State government will issue a corrigendum in the gazette stating that the new MV Act will be implemented from May 1 and not from April 16 – Mauvin Godinho, Transport Minister and we had to implement the new MV Act as it was long overdue and it will be applicable from May 1.” “The new MV act was initially notified to be implemented from April 16, because we had to give a date to the Supreme Court-appointed safety committee with judges of Supreme Court and High Courts as members of the committee.” “When the committee took stock of the situation, they said Goa was doing fairly well but pulled us up for only the non-implementation of the new MV Act.” “We will implement the new MV Act from May 1 and not from April 16 only because I believe that the public has to be fully aware of the new MV act and we believe in educating the public on this new MV Act before we can finally implement it in the State,” said Godinho. MOTOR VEHICLE OFFENCE 1 st FINES OFFENCE 2nd OFFENCE Use of mobile while driving Two-wheeler/three-wheeler ` ,500 1 ` 0,000 1 Other LMV ` ,000 3 ` 0,000 1 Motor vehicles ` ,000 5 ` 0,000 1 other than LMV Driving at a speed exceeding the maximum speed fixed for the motor vehicle LMV ` ,500 1 Driving licence to be impounded and forwarded to licensing authority Motor Vehicles ` 4,000 other than LMV Driving licence to be impounded and forwarded to licensing authority Driving without safety belts Failure to allow free passage to emergency vehicles like ambulance, fire service vehicle, etc Sounding horn continuously and needlessly Permitting or taking part in motor vehicles race or trial of speed of any kind in any public place Driving uninsured motor vehicle ` ,000 1 ` ,000 1 ` 0,000 1 ` 0,000 1 ` ,000 1 ` ,000 2 ` ,000 5 ` 0,000 1 ` ,000 2 ` ,000 4 implementation of the MV Act. All assistant directors of transport (ADTs) will be instructed to take up public awareness programmes in their respective jurisdictions, including students and youth, to educate them on the steep fines and to avoid violating traffic rules. We will conduct these programmes across Goa,” said Godinho. Godinho said the public would be reminded not to break traffic rules to avoid the steep fines. “If people don’t break laws and traffic rules mandated by the new MV Act, there is no question of paying the steep fines. I will have a presentation for the media on Wednesday so that they are aware and can educate public about the new MV Act, as part of efforts to bring about traffic safety and discipline on Goan roads,” said Godinho. The minister said the State government had delayed the implementation of the new MV Act because repairs of roads had not been taken up on account of the lockdown and the pandemic. “Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced that roadworks across Goa have been taken up on war footing ing safety belts and also for sounding the horn needlessly/continuously, Rs 10,000 for not allowing passage to emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire tenders, Rs Mhadei: States get a week more to file report on joint inspection Covid bed capacity at GMC, South hospital reaches saturation point THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The Supreme Court on Monday gave the government of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra an additional week to file the report of the joint inspection committee set up to ascertain the nature of the alleged violations and diversion of water of the River Mhadei as directed by Goa while also granting liberty to the officer of each state nominated on the committee to file his own observations. When the matter came up for hearing before the Supreme Court bench by Justice D Y Chandrachud, the court was informed that a consensus eludes the committee with Karnataka refusing to include Goa’s ‘observations’ as part of the report leading to a stalemate and deadlock. The matter has been posted for April 13. Goa’s Advocate General Devidas Pangam said that the >Continued on P5 5000 for conducting races on public roads, and Rs 1,500 for over-speeding. Health Minister says 10 patients on stretchers at GMC THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The grave picture of the emerging Covid scenario in Goa has now been confirmed with Health Minister Vishwajit Rane admitting that the Covid bed capacity at Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bamboilim and South Goa District Hospital, Margao, has almost been exhausted with mere- WILL POLITICIANS FACE PROSECUTION FOR VIOLATING COVID NORMS? >> See pg 3 ly 30 to 35 beds being vacant currently in both the facilities put together. Rane briefed the media following the weekly meeting of the expert committee which was convened with the primary intent of assessing Goa’s rising cases and chalking out Why 275 Covid beds in North remain unoccupied a mystery PANAJI: Even as the Covid care centres in South Goa are running at 75 per cent occupancy and with only 35 beds remaining, the centres in North Goa continue to remain inexplicably vacant with all 275 beds being empty since at least the last two months. When asked about this, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane merely said, “The Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium is being requisitioned for that and we will activate it soon.” Over the last few weeks, officials from the DHS cited the lack of demand for Covid beds in North Goa despite patients from the Northern district being sent to Covid care centres in the South for treatment. a plan to combat the same before things go awry. The need for enhancing daily testing capacity to 3,000, the urgent requirement of implementing restrictions by the disaster management committee and the foremost task 2 deaths, Covid death count @ 837 PANAJI: Two more Covid related deaths were recorded in the mortality bulletin of the Directorate of Health Services on Monday raising Goa’s Covid victim count to 837. The deceased persons include an 80-year-old woman from Sanvordem, who died at South Goa District Hospital in Margao and an unknown man aged between 60 and 70 years, who was brought dead at Hospicio in Margao on March 27 and tested positive for Covid-19 post-mortem. >> See pg 3 of covering all eligible citizens under the vaccination drive were among the matters discussed. The Health Minister minced no words in admitting that the Covid bed availability at GMCH and SGDH has reached its saturation point while informing that around 10 Covid patients are currently being accommodated on stretchers. “The Covid bed capacity at hospitals is getting full by >Continued on P5 French report stirs hornet’s nest over Rafale deal Speaker likely to pass orders on AGENCIES NEW DELHI A French media report that stated that France’s anti-corruption agency, Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA), had found that aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation had paid 1 million Euros to an Indian company in connection with the 2016 Indo-French Rafale deal, prompted the Congress on Monday to demand an independent investigation and answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dismissed the reports of pay offs to middlemen in the €7.87 bn fighter aircraft deal as “completely baseless”. He reiterated that the Supreme Court had rejected a demand for a probe in the purchase of the FLYING LOW Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA), had found that aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation had paid 1 million Euros to an Indian company in connection with the 2016 Indo-French Rafale deal Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala claimed the latest revelation is a vindication of former party chief Rahul Gandhi’s allegations of corruption in the Rafale aircraft deal Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dismissed the reports of pay offs as “completely baseless fighter aircraft and the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) had also found nothing wrong. Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala, however, claimed the latest revelation by the French news portal — Mediapart — is a vindication of former party chief Rahul Gandhi’s allegations of corruption in the Rafale aircraft deal. The Congress was quick to hold a press conference to ‘reiterate’ its earlier allegations of corruption and sought fresh answers from Mr Modi, a day before the third phase of voting in Assam and West Bengal and polling in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. In the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had made alleged corruption in the Rafale deal as the party’s main poll plank but BJP’s thumping victory made the issue it politically ‘unsustainable’. The latest investigations by Mediapart could, however, revive the issue in the election season, especially in West Bengal where there are five more phases of voting. The French portal reported that an Indian company owned by a middleman, being investigated for another defence deal in India, received payment to the tune of 1.1 million euros. “That middleman is now accused of money laundering in India in another defence deal. The company said the money was used to pay for the manufacture of 50 large replica models of Rafale jets, even though the inspectors were given no proof that these models were made. Yet against all apparent logic, the AFA decided not to refer the matter to prosecutors,” according to an investigation by Mediapart. disqualification pleas on April 29 THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Goa Speaker Rajesh Patnekar is expected to pass orders in the two distinct disqualification petitions filed against 12 MLAs who defected to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in mid-2019, including the two Deputy Chief Ministers, Manohar (Babu) Ajgaonkar and Chandrakant (Babu) Kavlekar, and the three cabinet ministers -- Deepak Pauskar, Filipe Neri Rodrigues and Jennifer Monserrate. On Monday, Patnekar held hearings in the petition filed against Ajgaonkar and Pauskar by MGP’s lone MLA, Sudin Dhavalikar and the separate plea of State Congress President Girish Chodankar against the 10 ex-Congress legislators led by Kavlekar who split and merged with the BJP. According to Chodankar’s counsel, Abhijit Gosavi, the Speaker has assured the final orders will be pronounced on April 29. Gosavi also said that during Monday’s hearing, Patnekar dismissed an application filed by the defendant MLAs seeking cross-examination of Chodankar. Chodankar had filed the disqualification petition before the Speaker in 2019 on grounds that the split and merger of the 10 Congress MLAs into the BJP was illegal and violative of the Xth Schedule of the Constitution. Chodankar had also ap- proached the Supreme Court of India asking it to direct the Goa Speaker to expedite the hearings in his disqualification petition. His plea in the apex court is expected to come up for hearing on Tuesday. Dhavalikar, meanwhile, said, he was looking forward to the Speaker’s final order related to his disqualification petition against Ajgaonkar and Pauskar on April 29. Dhavalikar, who was then the Deputy Chief Minister in the Sawant-led cabinet was sacked in 2019 as soon as Ajgaonkar and Pauskar, who were elected in 2017 on an MGP ticket split from it and joined the BJP in 2019. >Continued on P5
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