log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday SATURDAY JANUARY 14, 2023 GOA Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday The Goan (Playstore) 14 pages PRICE ` 8 PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VIII, NO. 207 This German couple will have haunting memories of their Goa holiday 2 GOA Tourism dept walks the talk, slaps `31 lakh fine on ‘illegal’ hotels 3 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 INFO Work anxiety can harshly impact your skin 11 SPORTS India outplays Spain 2-0 in hockey World Cup opener 14 New Year shocker for Goans! Jan 16 Mhadei rally still on, but at new Hike in power tariff on cards venue in Sanquelim A DAY AFTER SMC REVOKED CONSENT… page 6 Tiatrists across globe seek industry status to Tiatr When diaspora connected before social media Goan nominated for business excellence awards in Vancouver IN SHORT >> 10 killed in Nashik bus accident NASHIK: Ten persons were killed and at least 22 others injured after a private tourist bus on way to the temple town of Shirdi collided with a truck in Nashik district on Friday, police officials said. 71-yr-old woman held for peddling drugs PANAJI: Panaji police apprehended a 71-year-old alleged peddler with 824.7 grams of greenish leafy fruiting and flowering substance suspected to be Ganja worth Rs 80,000 in a raid at Campal. Senior citizens stage hunger strike CANACONA: Canconcars comprising senior citizens and women staged a hunger strike at the Canacona railway station on Friday morning to protest against apathy of the Railways and government by failing to resume long distance train halts at the railway station. >> See pg 3 FISCAL PLAN PROPOSES TO INCREASE POWER RATES FROM APRIL 1 THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Goa's power consumer across categories, including domestic, could end up paying significantly higher electricity bills from April 1 this year if the Electricity department's fiscal plan for 2023-24 which envisages a tariff hike gets the nod of Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC). The tariff hike proposal documents a hike of between 15 to 60 paise per unit (kwh) for domestic low tension consumers and 70 paise per unit for high tension domestic consumers. Additionally the proposal also provides for a hike in 'fixed charges' which is charged on the load at the rate of Rs 22 per kilowatt per month. The business plan filed before the JERC in November last year, includes a performance review in terms of financials of the current year, the aggre- SOON, HIGHER POWER BILLS Tariff hike proposal of Electricity department documents a hike of between 15 to 60 paise per unit (kwh) for domestic low tension consumers For high tension domestic consumers hike proposed is 70 paise per unit Proposal also provides for a hike in ‘fixed charges’ which is charged on the load at the rate of Rs 22 per kilowatt per month Dept justifies the proposal by arguing that revenue gap subsidised by govt through budgetary provisions is not sustain- able and needs to be partially bridged FLASHBACK: Dept then headed by current PWD Minister Nilesh Cabral, had filed a 3-year business plan before JERC in November 2021, in which it had proposed that tariffs would remain constant without any hikes until March 31, 2025 gate revenue requirement of the department for the next financial year (2023-24) and separately the tariff hike proposal for 2023-24. In the business plan, the department justifies the proposal to hike tariffs by arguing that the revenue gap which is subsidised by the State gov- THE GOAN I NETWORK VASCO Opposition against the double tracking work gained momentum on Friday morning as residents, activists and political parties gathered on the tracks at Velsao. A joint inspection was planned to be carried out by Mormugao Dy Collector Rav- 4 foreigners booked for illegal hawking NEW DELHI: In a surprise U-turn, Shankar Mishra, the man accused of urinating on an elderly woman on an Air India flight, told a Delhi court he did not commit the offensive act and that the alleged victim seems to have urinated on herself. >> See pg 8 WEATHER >> Max: Min: Humidity: TIDES 32 C 18 C 96% Low: 09:41 21:00 High: 03:00 15:44 ernment through budgetary provisions to the tune of Rs 348.69 crore is not sustainable in the long run and needs to be partially bridged. RESIDENTS, ACTIVISTS, LEADERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES GATHER ON TRACKS PANAJI: Over two months after the Hyderabad Court granted bail to Hill Top Owner John Stephen D'Souza in connection with narcotics trade, the Telangana Police arrested him again under the stringent Prevention of Illegal Traffic in Narcotics Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act. >> See pg 3 Pee-Gate: Accused says woman did it PANAJI: The Electricity Department has asked members of the public to file their responses to the proposal to hike power tariff in the financial year 2023-24 to the Secretary, Joint Electricity Commission (JERC). The objections, suggestions and comments are to be sent before January 24 and copies of it also sent to the office of the Chief Electrical Officer. The JERC will then hold a public hearing on the proposal a date and venue for which will be intimated later. SPOILT FOR CHOICE: A woman shops for earthen pots ahead of Makar Sankranti in Panaji on Friday. Narayan Pissurlenkar ON PAGE 5 Let deputy collector show people the plans: Velsao Sarpanch Congress supports agitation against double tracking at Velsao Multiple apps mooted to resolve taxi row THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI Amid the ongoing taxi service imbroglio, a conclave of tourism sector stakeholders discussed the possibility of multiple app-based services entering the market, including some promoted by the taxi unions, as one solution to the logjam. The idea was mooted by Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) Secretary, Akash Madgavkar and found resonance among other participants, including a representative of a Vasco-based body of the taxi operators. Madgavkar also made a case that there was no escape to incorporating available technological solutions to ensure better services to the end user -- the tourist. The conclave was facilitated by the Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT), an initiative of the Catholic Church's social arm, the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP). The conclave titled 'Conversation on the Taxi Imbroglio' was anchored and moderated by Pifram Fernandes, a South Goa hotelier, who suggested that a formal dialogue be initiated preferably by the TTAG which brings on board representatives of the taxi operators to evolve a practical model for taxi services in the State. Deepak Naik, who operates from the taxi hub at the Dabolim Airport expressed that such a dialogue would be possible if taxi union leaders are convinced to engage in a neutral atmosphere. He opined that the trend to paint them as villains is unjustified and vitiates the atmosphere even as he charged that predatory pricing and over-charging occurs in almost every facet of the tourism trade in Goa. "Hoteliers charge astronomical prices in peak season. No one says anything. It's only taxi drivers who are >Continued on P5 Ropeway project: NGPDA gets HC nod, but with rider THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI he Bombay High Court at Goa allowed the North Goa Planning and Development Authority to process issuing a clearance to the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC’s) ropeway project on the PPP mode, but ruled that the permissions, once issued, were liable to be challenged and their validity questioned. Hearing an application filed by the NGPDA, which approached the Court, in view of an earlier ban by the High Court, which had ruled that no permissions be processed under the ODP 2021 which was stayed by the High Court. T PANAJI The organisers of the proposed 'mega rally' at Sanquelim on January 16, who were served with a revocation of permission to use the town's civic ground on Thursday, have announced that they will go ahead with their plans but at a different venue. The Save Goa, Save Mhadei front has said the rally will be held at Sanquelim itself but at the open ground near the Virdi-Amona bridge. The Front, a representative umbrella entity of civil society groups from across Goa backed by the Opposition parties, made the announcement while briefing the media at the Azad Maidan in the capital on Friday evening. The Front was formed in the aftermath of the approval granted to projects proposed by Karnataka to divert waters of the Mhadei river from its basin to that of the Malaprabha river by the Central Water Commission. Members of the Front, meanwhile, have alleged that the government delegation led by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant which had gone to Delhi to espouse Goa's cause on the vexed Mhadei issue, returned with a diktat from their Central leadership to suppress the 'Save Mhadei' movement building up in Goa. It may be recalled that the Sanquelim Municipal Council had on Thursday revoked the permission granted to hold the January 16 rally. The civic body's Chief Officer Kabir Shirgaonkar issued the letter revoking the permission but its chairperson claimed that the decision was the bureaucrat's unilateral decision. Shirgaonkar had cited apprehensions that it would cause public inconvenience and commotion as it is also the day on which the weekly bazaar is held in the town. Opposition parties, including Congress, AAP and GFP have slammed the Sawant government as "dictatorial" for the revocation of the permission to the rally. Velsao ups ante against double tracking Hill Top owner arrested again PERNEM: Four Russians and an Indian were booked by Pernem police on charges of conducting hawking activities and selling their wares at Arambol beach. >> See pg 5 Public response called by Jan 24 According to the performance review of the current year, the electricity department in the current year has a net revenue requirement of Rs 2864.13 crore and is expecting to recover Rs 2565.79 crore from consumers through billing. Thus, it is projecting a shortfall of Rs 298.33 crore by the end of the current fiscal. In its projected plan for the 2023-24 fiscal, it has projected this revenue gap to widen to Rs 483.65 crore and is hoping to bridge it a bit with the hike in tariffs. Interestingly, the proposal to hike tariffs is in conflict with another 3-year financial plan filed before JERC in 2021. With an assembly election due in 2022, the Electricity dept then headed by current PWD Minister Nilesh Cabral, had filed a three-year business plan before the JERC in November 2021, in which it had proposed that tariffs would remain constant without any hikes until March 31, 2025. THE GOAN I NETWORK KEY HIGH COURT NOTINGS Grant of relief would in no manner confer any legitimacy or could be taken as an imprimatur of this Court on permission Petitioners or any other affected parties or public interest litigant could always question the NGPDA permission or, any other permissions All contentions, including legality or validity of However, an exception was made to government and pub- permission that the NGPDA might issue, are kept open for agitation before the appropriate forum in appropriate proceedings It is not as if by grant of any relief in this Application, this Court is upholding the legality of the permission that might be granted or preventing any parties from challenging the legality and validity of such permission lic interest projects. “The grant of relief as sought by this application would in no manner confer any legitimacy or could be taken as an imprimatur of this Court on the permission so granted. As the learned Advocate General clarified, the original petitioners or any other affected parties or public interest litigant could always question the NGPDA permission or, for that matter, any other permissions, NOCs or clearances that might be issued for the project in question,” the High Court bench of Justices M S Sonak and Bharat Deshpande ruled. “We clarify that all contentions of all parties on this subject, including on the legality or validity of the permission that the NGPDA might now issue, are kept open for agitation before the appropriate forum in appropriate proceedings. Thus, it is not as if by the grant of any relief in this Application, this Court is upholding the legality of the permission that might be granted or preventing any parties from challenging the legality and validity of such permission. Such clarification sufficiently protects the interest of the original petitioners,” the High Court also said. Back in 2019, the petitioners, including town planner Edgar Ribeiro, the Goa Bachao Abhiyan, the Goa Foundation, had earlier challenged the Outline Development Plan 2021 for Panaji. In response to >Continued on P5 ishekar Nippanikar but till late afternoon, the deputy collector did not arrive at the site and gave the inspection a miss. Speaking to media, Goencho Ekvott founder member Orville Dourado said the villagers had decided to confront the Railways and not allow double tracking anywhere in the entire village of Velsao, Cansualim and Arossim. "We have united as one voice against double tracking and more than 60-plus organisations have extended support to us in this fight. Villagers will ensure that no encroachment and criminal trespass will be allowed here and we have also spoken to our legal team who are ready.” “We will not allow the double tracking works in any area of Velsao, Cansualim, Arossim and Issorcim because the land acquisition by railways >Continued on P5
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