IMAGINE Panaji Smart City Development Ltd (IPSCDL) at its media presentation on February 19, 2024 showcased significant progress in its current road and manhole construction endeavors. CEO Sanjit Rodrigues while speaking to media people took pains to explain that it not easy to deal with the various obstacles such as road encroachments by shopkeepers, etc, plus the high water table during manhole excavation due to the below sea level construction of manholes.
The obstacles have caused some delays in the revised project timeline, but through a systematic and methodical approach, the team is successfully bringing the works under control and closer to meeting the timelines. All said and done Sanjit Rodrigues is positive that the deadline of May-end will be met for the entire works of Smart City projects to be completed.
Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd (IPSCDL) is actively involved in revamping the sewerage infrastructure of Panaji, focusing on manhole construction and road improvements along Central Panaji, Fontainhas, Mala, and St Inez roads. As on October 1, 2023 the progress of manhole construction on Central Panaji road stood at 31%, it rapidly increased to 66% by January 18, 2024 and further to 76% by February 19. A total of 24 manhole teams are currently deployed to ensure timely completion of the work.
Similarly, on Fontainhas road, the manhole construction progress was 28% on Oct 1 last, it rose to 84% by Jan 18 this year and is now 96% as on Feb 19. Two manhole teams are assigned to this location for the construction process, whereas work on other manhole along this stretch had to stop for the annual Maruti Zatra.
Regarding Mala road, the manhole construction status was 23% on Oct 1 last year, climbed to 75% by Jan18 and now stands at 88% on Feb 19. Three manhole teams are currently dedicated to this project to ensure timely completion.
Coming to St Inez road the road construction progress at 15% on Oct 1 increased to 45% by Jan 18 and is now 60% on Feb 19. Six manhole teams are deployed to ensure the work is completed on time.
Says Sanjit Rodrigues (IAS, IPSCDL CEO and MD): “The encroachments along the roadside pavements in Panaji have posed a significant challenge and have adversely affected the pace of our work. Our objective is to ensure that the pavements are level and accessible to all. Presently, we are in the process of leveling the pavements. Despite these obstacles, we remain steadfast in our commitment to completing the roadwork and manhole construction. We are optimistic that we will soon finish all the work on these major roads.”


THE Delhi chalo march of the farmers from February 13 was put on hold after the death of a farmer. The farmers were shot at and tear gas used extensively. The farmers are very agitated over the death of their fellow farmer Shubkaran Singh (21 years) who was shot by the security forces and who died on Wednesday, February 21, 2024. They furiously resumed their march towards Delhi.

It may be recalled that the farmers held Delhi to ransom for almost a year. The high court has asked them to use buses instead of tractors in their march. Farmers have used tractors and bulldozers to dismantle security barriers.  The farmers are determined to get a guaranteed minimum support price for a period of five years. They also want to end casual labour in the agriculture sector and want permanent jobs. Who stands shoulder-to -shoulder with farmers and the working class of Bharat?


ATANASIO Babush Monserrate, the revenue minister of Goa, lashed out at the Smart City allocations. Babush insists it is a big scam and he decided the projects were not suitable for the corporate city. Babush was also livid about the contract given for advertising to a party which owes crores to the BJP. The revenue minister lashed out at CEO of Smart City Project Sanjit Rodrigues. After Babush lashed out about Smart City Project affairs Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has agreed to examine the project. Specifically, the CM would look at the smart city bus shelters and the contract announced for advertising at bus shelters (which are more hoarding sites than decent bus stands for the bus-travelling public).


CHIEF Minister Pramod Sawant has announced that his government would appeal to the Supreme Court against the demolition of commercial structures in Anjuna. The 150-plus structures were demolished because they were in violation of coastal regulation zone rules. There is a precedent for retrospectively amending CRZ rules. It may be recalled that when illegal structures were found at the Cidade de Goa property, the SC had ordered the demolition of the illegal structures. Digambar Kamat who was then the chief minister ordered a change in the CRZ rules retrospectively for the benefit of the Cidade de Goa. This was soon after SC dismissed a batch of three appeals filed by Fomento Resorts in 2009.


THE Supreme Court in an unprecedented step decided to cancel the election of the BJP Chandigarh mayor on February 20, 2024.. The SC held that the polling officers had illegally rendered eight votes cast for the Congress candidates as illegal. The SC had to examine the invalid votes and declared that they were perfectly all right.


GOVERNMENT College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Quepem won the first price at the All Goa Inter Collegiate Quiz Competition on the theme of “Life, Times and Legacy of Chhatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj” organized on February 21, 2024 at Farmagudi, Ponda by the Department of Information &  Publicity, to commemorate the birth anniversary of the much loved Maratha warrior.

The 2nd prize went to Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce Sanquelim, whereas Goa College of Engineering, Farmagudi bagged the 3rd prize. Consolation prizes went to GR Kare College of Law (Margao) and DCT’s Dhempe College of Arts and Science (Miramar). The winners were awarded cash prized of Rs7,500, Rs5,000 and Rs 3,000 as first, second and third prize, respectively. Two consolation prizes of Rs 500 were also awarded.          

Similarly, as part of the celebration All Goa Theatrical Entry (Natya Pravesh) competition was also held for students of High School and Higher Secondary on the life and work of Chhatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj. Altogether 18 educational institutes drawn from different parts of the state participated in the contest. Smt. Anandibai M Naik High School Caranzalem Madkai won the first Prize. The Second Prize was bagged by AJ De Almeida High School Ponda and V.D.S.V. Wagle High School Mangueshi bagged the Third Prize. The winners of the competition were awarded a cash prize of Rs10,000, Rs 7,000 and Rs5,000 as first, second and third prize, respectively. The competition was ably judged by Leena S Pednekar,  Zilu Gaonkar and  Kajal Chodankar.

The winners of both these competitions were given prizes at hands of Dipak Bandekar (director, I&B),  Prakash Naik (Information Officer), Kiran Munankar and Shanto Naik, both assistant onformation officers, and  Siddesh Samant. Assistant Information Officer Shyam Gaonkar compered the prize distribution ceremony.


UNDER the “Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat” initiative the Raj Bhavan observed the Foundation Day of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram at the old Durbar hall at Dona Paula on February 20, 2024. A folk troupe from Mizoram performed during on the occasion. Sanjeev C Gauns Desai (Additional Secretary to the Governor) extended greetings on behalf of Raj Bhavan on the Foundation Day of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. He said that it was on February 21, 1987 that Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram became the 23rd and 24th States of the Indian Union. Arunachal Pradesh symbolizes the “Land of the Rising Sun” in Sanskrit, while Mizoram is known for its rolling hills, valleys and lakes.

Gauns also mentioned that Mizoram is the first state in the happiness index, as highlighted by Goa Governor Sreedharan Pillai. A goodwill message from Governor of Mizoram Haribabu Kambhampati was played during the event. In his speech Reverend Lalrinsanga, Pastor, highlighted that Mizoram came into existence after 20 years of insurgency, and the Peace Accord signed in June 1986 has endured over time. He credited the strong civil society for transitioning from years of struggle to becoming one of the most peaceful states in the country. He thanked the Goa government for hosting over 1,000 Mizo people, especially the youth, and providing them with opportunities to work, progress and enjoy the trip to Goa.


THE closing ceremony of the “Yoga for Stress Management and Holistic Wellness” program for serving Indian Army soldiers, conducted in collaboration with Isha, took place on February 16, 2024 in Pune. It took place at the Milkha Singh Sports Complex and was graced by Sadhguru, Founder of the Isha Foundation, and Lt Gen Ajai Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, General Officer-Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Southern Command, Indian Army along with 10,000 Army personnel and family members.

The event was live-streamed across the Southern Command units, with 40,000 soldiers virtually joining the event. The collaboration with the Southern Command saw over 11,000 serving soldiers undergoing  a week-long classical Hatha Yoga training by Isha Hatha Yoga teachers in 23 locations across 9 states falling under the jurisdiction of the command.

Addressing the massive gathering, Sadhguru said, “It is my privilege, and the privilege of all our teachers, to have in some way been useful to the forces.” Lt Gen Ajai Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, GOC-in-C, Southern Command, expressed his appreciation for achieving the desired objective of the training over 10,000 soldiers in Hatha Yoga.

 Isha launched the program last year in collaboration with the Southern Command of the Indian Army on the occasion of the 77th Independence Day. The collaboration aims to bring holistic wellness to the soldiers who live in high stress under difficult testing conditions.

Subsequently, 56 Isha Hatha Yoga teachers completed an intensive 21-week teacher training program at the Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. They were taught classical Hatha Yoga practices such as Surya Kriya and Angamardana. The training was conducted in nine Indian states through 127 batches in 22 cities, including Jaisalmer, Jhansi, Gwalior, Jamnagar, Pune, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, and Kannur facilitated through hundreds of Isha volunteers.

The addition of yoga in the daily routine of the soldiers has been so fruitful that they now admit to being less stressed out and more focused, and that too in just seven days of training. One soldier expressed, “I am very happy with this program because, on the first day, my flexibility was very low, but now I feel a change in my body, and it is very effective in a soldier’s routine life. The yoga offered by Isha is also very useful to reduce stress. I hope I will do it daily in my life as a routine. Thank you for conducting these programs for us.”

HDFC Bank Parivartan has partnered with Isha to offer the tools of well-being to the soldiers, according to Abhishek Deshmukh, Branch Banking Head, HDFC Bank Maharashtra. So useful has been this training that Isha has been invited to conduct similar training programs for the  other commands. Currently, Isha is conducting programs at locations under the Central Command, HQ’d Lucknow and Eastern Command, HQ’d Kolkata and will further train over 2,000 soldiers by March 2024.


Vaishnavi S receiving her prize from Principal Prof. D. B. Arolkar.

VAISHNAVI  S, a BALLB student from V M Salgaocar College of Law (VMSCL) won 1st place for the third time at Epiphany 6.0, a student’s research paper competition. The event was hosted by Dnyanprassarak Mandal’s College & Research Centre (DMC) in Goa and  saw participation from 13 colleges.

Faculty guide Pearl Monteiro praised Vaishnavi’s dedication, saying, “This achievement highlights Vaishnavi’s commitment to academic excellence.” Also speaking about Vaishnavi’s accomplishment, VMSCL Principal Dr Shaber Ali G said, “It is an inspiration to our students, encouraging them to pursue scholarly endeavours with determination and diligence.”


GOVERNOR PS Sreedharan Pillai who believes in work is worship, also believes that every kind of work must be respected, valued and worshipped. He was felicitating 25 artists at an event organized on February 16 in the presence of First Lady of Goa Rita Shreedharan Pillai, along with Minister for Power  Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar, Dhempe Group Executive Director Pallavi Dhempe, Willy Goes (principal, College of Arts), Mahendra Alvares.

Lately, the governor has been all praise for the kaavi art form of Goa and has been viewing it in temples, churches and Goan homes of old. This art form is being revived by young Goan artist Sagar Naik Mule. The governor also mentioned other popular art forms of other states.

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