log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday WEDNESDAY JANUARY 11, 2023 14 pages GOA Davorlim ‘illegal’ houses put amended Act to test Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday The Goan (Playstore) PRICE ` 8 PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VIII, NO.204 2 GOA Bomb threat turns out hoax, Russian flight lands at Dabolim 3 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 Natural masks to get rid of neck wrinkles Fire destroys paint factory at Pilerne, lucky escape for 94 SEVERAL BLASTS REPORTED 11 FIRE TENDERS TACKLE INFERNO; TWO FROM NAVY ALSO CALLED IN FACTORY HAD HUGE STOCK OF PAINTS & CHEMICALS THE GOAN I NETWORK PORVORIM A massive fire destroyed the warehouse of the Berger Becker Coatings Pvt. Ltd factory at the Pilerne Industrial estate on Tuesday evening. Ninety-four workers were in the factory at the time of the mishap, but all managed to escape without injuries. The fire at the factory, which destroyed paints, chemicals and solvents, led to thick black smoke billowing into the sky which could be seen several kilometres away and concerns over the adverse health effects of chemical smoke have prompted authorities to advise people to wear a mask as a precautionary measure. According to sources, raw material from one truck was being unloaded at the factory when fire broke out in the warehouse at about 2.30 pm and the truck was gutted in the fire. Fire tenders from the Pilerne fire station were the first to reach the site. Blasts were also reported inside the factory which had a huge stock of paints, chem- IN SHORT >> Cong names presidents for 8 Block panels PANAJI: The Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President has appointed Block Presidents for 8 Block Congress Committees. A release from the party said the Block Committees will be constituted in consultation with party workers. Goa to witness chilly weather for more days PANAJI: Goa continued to witness a dip in minimum temperature in view of the cold wave from the North. The minimum temperature in Panaji has dropped by 2-3 degrees Celsius. Residents scuttle mobile tower plans MARGAO: Residents of Virabhat once again scuttled plans by a telecom company to install mobile tower at the Government primary school premises with police protection, even as Curtorim MLA Reginaldo Lourenco and Congress leader Moreno Rebello sparred in full public view on the issue. >> See pg 2 Vasco set to be banner-free soon VASCO: Vasco MLA Krishna Salkar on Tuesday said Vasco would be the first in the State to be free from advertising banners. “I have requested MMC to stop allowing banners and set an example by being the first city which will be banner-free”, he said. >> See pg 5 Five Biharis held for assault at Assagao PANAJI: Five Bihar natives have been arrested by Anjuna police for allegedly assaulting 2 persons from Mumbai at a construction site at Assagao. WEATHER >> Max: Min: Humidity: TIDES 33 C 18C 48% Low: 07.44 19.09 High: 01.40 12.47 Fire under control, says Fire Chief PANAJI: Stating that the fire had been brought under control, Director of Fire and Emergency Services, Nitin Raiker has, however, said there are certain areas of concern where the Turn Table Ladder is being pressed into service to continuously dousing the fire. Raiker told The Goan that fire appliances with specialised equipment were deployed to tackle the inferno. >> See pg 3 ON PAGE 3 The massive blaze that engulfed the Pilerne paint factory on Tuesday. icals and other solvents. As the flames quickly went out of control, 11 fire tenders from different parts of the State, including Porvorim, Panaji, Mapusa, Ponda, Bicholim, Curchorem and Margao were dispatched to tackle the inferno. Two fire tenders from the Navy were also pressed into service. Industrial fire tenders, special vehicle ‘Turntable ladder’ and water bouser were also pressed into service. Realising the gravity and urgency of the situation, North Goa Collector Mamu Hage, IDC Chairman Aleixo Reginald Lourenco, Saligao MLA Kedar Naik, Director of Fire and Emergency services Narayan Pissurlenkar Nitin Raiker, Pilerne Fire Station Officer Srikant Parrikar rushed to the site to take stock of the situation. When contacted, Pilerne Fire Station Officer Srikant Parrikar stated the fire had still not been extinguished even after four-and-half hours. “Firefighting operations 9 INFO Priority was to evacuate 94 staff from the site: Berger Becker MD Collector cautions public to wear masks, not panic are still going on and now, an underground furnace oil tank has caught fire. Firefighters >Continued on P5 SPORTS Kohli, pacers shine as India beats Sri Lanka by 67 runs 14 People within 2.5 km radius asked to shift to safer place Biggest fire disaster in Goa’s history: CM THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has asked people residing around the ill-fated fire incident site to temporarily shift to a safe location citing that the poisonous smoke could affect their health. “As per expert reports, carbon monoxide is emitted while extinguishing fire and this could prove hazardous to one’s health especially those with breathing problems. We are concerned about the health of people,” he said as he rushed to Pilerne, after completing his official engagements in Panaji, to take a stock of the situation. He further stated that the government will issue an advisory through the district collector, in this regard. “We are asking people with breathing problems and asthma, who are staying within a 2.5 km radius of the factory to shift to some other place in the first phase,” he reiterated. In the second phase plan, Sawant said that people feeling suffocated will be shifted to medical facilities while maintaining that GMC, PHC, CHC doctors, Occupational Health experts, etc are on alert and that ambulances are kept on standby. “Take care of children and elderly. Those feeling unwell should seek medi- Thick smoke billows from the fire that engulfed the Pilerne paint factory on Tuesday. GOVT’S HEALTH ADVISORY Ensure circulation of fresh air by keeping doors and windows open and switching on ceiling fans especially in bedrooms Avoid using air conditioners and keep away from closed areas which do not have any circulation In case of breathing difficulty contact nearest health centre High risk people with asthma or chronic respiratory illnesses and infants advised to be shifted to safer areas cal attention,” he said. The Goa Pollution Control Board officials have also been at the site to check for air quality and other parameters in the surrounding areas. Chief Secretary Puneet Goel and Inspector General of Police Omvir Singh were also seen with the review team. Perturbed by the incident, the CM claimed that this is the biggest disaster in the history of fire emergency in Goa. He has also ordered a thorough inquiry and warned of strict action against those responsible for the disaster. K’taka confident of forest clearance, Mhadei: Sawant-led team heads to Delhi set to begin work on Kalasa project today, to meet Shah MoEF TEAM VISITS KANKUMBI-NERSA REGION TO VERIFY K’TAKA PLAN THE GOAN I NETWORK BELAGAVI Confident of getting the necessary forest and other clearances, Karnataka is poised to begin work on the Kalsa-Bhandura water diversion project. On Tuesday, a team from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) accompanied by senior Karnataka officials visited the Kankumbi-Nersa region to ascertain the facts presented by Karnataka in the latest DPR. AIG from MoEF Anjan Kumar BN assisted by district officers and regional officers from the ministry carried out the inspection till late Tuesday evening. The team which is camping in Belagavi and will be leaving for Athani in Belagavi district on Wednesday morning to inspect the land which the Karnataka government has agreed to compensate in lieu of the for- We have solutions for all queries raised by MoEF&CC: Bommai The MoEF officials accompanied by Karnataka forest officials inspecting the Kalasa-Bhandura site. Louis Rodrigues est land allotted for the implementation of Kalsa-Bhandura project. “The MoEF team suggested several measures to avoid damage to forest and wildlife pointed out the possibilities to avoid massacring thousands of trees at the project site by laying underground electric cables,” a senior officer said. “Several top officials of the forest department briefed the team about the measures to be BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday exuded confidence stated that his government had solutions for all queries raised by MoEF& CC regarding mitigation measures related to forests and wildlife for the implementation of Kalasa-Bhandura project. “Seeking some clarifications is common. I have seen them and we have solutions for all the clarifications sought. We will answer all the queries immediately and will get the clearance,” he asserted. On Monday, the chief wildlife warden of Goa had issued a stop-work notice to the Karnataka government over the construction of Kalasa-Bhandura dam project which passes through a wildlife sanctuary. taken by the State government to avoid destruction of forest and wildlife during the implementation of the project.” “The MoEF team will be visiting Telsang near Athani on Wednesday to inspect a vast stretch of land which is being allotted by the State government to the forest department in replacement of the forest lands to be used for >Continued on P5 THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI As pressure mounts to stop Karnataka from diverting Mhadei water, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will lead a delegation to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday, to discuss the fresh controversy around the contentious subject. Union Minister and North Goa MP Shripad Naik and selective Cabinet ministers will accompany the CM to Delhi. The government has also decided to challenge the DPR approval granted to Karnataka for the Kalasa-Bhandura project amid Opposition parties demanding CM’s resignation for failing to protect Goa’s lifeline. While urging legislators to stay united on the issue, Sawant informed that Goa Chief Wildlife Warden has issued a stop-work notice to the Karnataka government over the construction of the dam on the Mhadei River as it passes through a wildlife sanctu- Advocate General Devidas Pangam said that the Goa government will file an application before the Supreme Court challenging the clearance given to the Karnataka government’s DPR ary. Sawant, late Monday evening, held a meeting of high-ranking officials, Advocate General, and environmentalists Nirmala Sawant and Rajendra Kerkar of Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan to decide the future course of action in the water diversion issue. “Had a very productive meeting with members of Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan (MBA) in Panaji. Explained to them in detail about the efforts taken by the government on all fronts to safeguard Goa’s interests regarding Mhadei. I thank the MBA team >Continued on P5 300 Covid variants, but Over 200 juveniles sexually abused every year in Goa none survived in India! Highest number of cases was reported in 2021, reveals data of last 8 years AGENCIES NEW DELHI Around 300 sub-variants of Omicron were detected in India last year, but not one was able to establish itself here as a variant of concern, the co-chair of India’s coronavirus genomic surveillance programme has said. “The surveillance for assessment of mutations in the coronavirus is of very high quality in India. In 2022, we spotted more than 294 subvariants of the Omicron lineage,” Dr N K Arora, co-chair of INSACOG said. The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, or INSACOG, is a group of over 50 laboratories to monitor genomic variations in the Covid-19 virus. “This shows how tight India’s surveillance programme is. Practically, India has witnessed almost every variant of Omicron, but none of those was able to establish itself in India, while the variants caused havoc in some other parts of the world,” he said. Ruling out fears of new mutations emerging from China’s Covid-19 outbreak, Arora said that the positivity rate in India is 0.1 per cent and there is no new variant capable of triggering a new wave in sight. THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI t least one in six underage boys and one in four minor girls are sexually abused in Goa that recorded 2,606 cases under The Prevention Of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act and Goa Children’s Act, in the last eight years. In what could be a matter of concern, despite being one of the most literate States, some local families still believe in tantric rituals (occult practices) that usually lead to crime. Addressing an awareness program on the ‘role of media C AT EG O R Y O F O F F E N SE S 26% 1% Begging Sexual 1% 23% Murder Kidnapping 1% Trafficking 23% 1% Physical Drugs 2% 1% Child marriage Suicide A & TV channel, and child-friendly procedures’ in the capital on Tuesday, Victims Assistance Unit (VAU) in-charge Emidio Pinho slammed the lack of awareness as a major drawback. “At least one in six boys and one in four girls, under the age of 18 years, have suffered sexual abuse. While assisting the police during the investigation, we have come across various problems, one being lack of communication between parents and children,” Pinho said. The growing risk of crimes against children, addiction to social media and teenage pregnancies could be attributed to lack of communication and understanding between the parents and children. He also pointed out how some parents were blindly following tantric practices with teenage pregnancies being reported every year. Pinho alleged that 25 percent of relationships start through social media. The VAU study has also revealed that children are getting sexually involved at a much younger age. “Maximum cases of sexual abuse are between the age group of 11 and 15 years... Teenage pregnancies are also a cause of serious concern...” he said. The VAU has also reported suicides, cybercrime and runaways, all majorly due to lack of awareness. >Continued on P5
The new Goa, with a broader profile of people from different parts of India and the world, needs not just a strong local paper but a complete paper. The Goan on Saturday will connect to and be a viable and comprehensive read for locals, other Indians in Goa, NRI and foreigners. It will also be a bridge for Goans in other parts of India all over the world to their home land. The Goan is published by Goa's most reputed industrial houses.