Goa tourism development corporation’s (GTDC) amphibious bus service project ‘Duck Tours’ seems to have stalled for now . It was touted as the first-of-its-kind in India. I was supposed to have a designated pick-up point in Panaji and tours were to be on two different routes.
The project has a soft launch two years ago but failed to take off because of delays in obtaining permisions. This unsettled Amphibious Tours Private Ltd, the agency which was selected to operate the tours and it backed out forfeiting a `10 lakh performance security deposit.
The GTDC has decided to re-tender the services to look for a new bidder who will be given the responsibility to introduce these vessels in the state,” state tourism minister Manohar Azgaonkar told the Assembly on Thursday, in reply to a question by St Cruz MLA Antonio Fernandes.
The minister also told the House, “GTDC has not incurred any expenditure on the project; neither capital or revenue expenditure. It was the responsibility of the successful bidder to design, develop, upgrade, finance, manage, market, operate and maintain, the amphibious bus.”
‘LET’S GIVE OUR MINISTERS MORE MONEY’
The salaries and allowance of the members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) and ministers is likely to be increased by almost 77%.
Two bills seeking to increase the pay cheque of legislators and ministers were tabled in the Goa assembly on Thursday. The government said this was “in view of the increase in price rise and considering the present level of price index.” The dearness allowance for ministers and MLAs is proposed to be hiked by 77% which will correspondingly increase their salaries, allowances and pension.
The bills introduced in the assembly by CM Manohar Parrikar seek to amend Sections 3, 9 and 11 of the Goa Salary, Allowances and Pension of MLAs Act, 2004, so as to increase the monthly salary, daily allowance, constituency allowance and pension payable to MLAs at the rate arrived after deduction of the rate of dearness allowance as was applicable on the first day of April 2012. The last such hike was in 2012.
The bills further seek to enhance the amount payable to MLAs for each day of duty in lieu of accommodation to provide him from the current `1,500 to `3,000. The bills also seeks to amend Section 14 of the said act so as to increase the travelling allowance payable to a member in lieu of accommodation/stay during his travel outside the state in capacity of a committee member or in an official capacity from the current `6,000 to `7,500.
OF ‘PLASTIC TO FUEL’ PROMISES
Chief minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday informed the Legislative Assembly that the state government’s ambitious project of converting non-recyclable plastic waste into fuel would become a reality in the next seven months.
The project was inaugrated during the previous BJP government and has been slow to see the light of day.
While responding to the cut motions moved by the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Parrikar assured the Assembly, “We are coming with a project to convert plastic into heavy fuel, such as diesel. The work on this plant is at an advanced stage in Pernem and should start in six to seven months”.
The promised plant is supposed to come up on an expansive 8,000 sqm of leased land at the Pernem garbage treatment plant was expected to cost around `23 crore and would have the capacity to treat 10 tons of plastic daily, generating 6.7 tons of furnace oil, three tons of met coke and 500 kgs of wax.
It is being constructed by the Goa state urban development agency (GSUDA) in collaboration with Tamil Nadu-based M K Aromatics and the Pernem municipal council (PMC).
EXCELLENCE IN PHD RESEARCH AWARD FOR DR AMITALOK BUDKULEY
The expert committee appointed by IIT, Bombay, has selected the thesis titled “Communication in Presence of an Adversary” (2016) submitted by Dr Amitalok Budkuley for the Ph. D. degree of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, for the “Excellence in Ph. D. Research Award” in the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering Department of IITB, for the Year 2016-2018. This award will be conferred on him on 11th August 2018 at Pawai, Mumbai by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at the Special Convocation in Diamond Jubilee Year of the Institute.
Dr. Budkuley is alumni of Prime Rose Primary School, Alto Porvorim, Mushtifund HS & HSS, Panaji, and PCC College of Engineering, Verna.
He carried out research at IITB in the EEE Department under the supervision of Profs B. K. Dey and S. R. Pillai of EEE dept. of IITB and Prof Vinod Prabhakaran, HOD of Advanced Mathematics, TIFR, Mumbai. He was awarded a PhD degree from the IIT Mumbai in 2017.
‘FORMALIN’ CRIMINAL CASE ONGOING
JMFC, Margao, Narayan Amonkar sought reply from all the respondents in a criminal case seeking police investigation against those using formalin in fish. Advocate Rajeev Gomes, in his application, named the state of Goa, South Goa SP, Fatorda PI, director of directorate of food and drugs administration, central institute of fisheries technology, Cochin, as respondents.