The Women’s Wing of the Goa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI)  launched its 5th edition of its flagship idea, the Business Diva Competition on Monday, February 26 at the GCCI conference room. The competition is open to women with a business of less than two years (start-up), business in operation for more than two years (scale-up) and self-help groups in business. Winners of this annual competition are supported by FiiRE, mentoring by industry veterans and networking opportunities, access to funding and cash prizes. It’s a helping hand for women to grow their business. The Business Diva Competition has a positive and uplifting impact on women entrepreneurs as may be witnessed by the women who now make up the core membership of the GCCI Women’s Wing. In the picture above are (L to R) Asha Vernekar, Gouri Joshi, Sandra Fernandes,  Asha Arondekar (GCCI WW chairperson) Asha Arondekar, Pallavi Salgaocar, Risha Hegde (community manager FiiRE), Melanie  Rodrigues and other members of the Women’s Wing Committee. This year’s event is Geno Foundation, a trust, and Menino Regency, a women owned business venture. Overwhelming response and feedback makes this annual event very popular. The last day for application is March 15, 2024. Interested businesswomen may hurry and apply to be a Business Diva. Finals will be on April 26. Women above the age of 18 with innovative businesses may participate. Winners will get cash prizes along with support from FiiRE™, mentoring by industry veterans, networking opportunities and access to funding opportunities. Contact Details:  Ms Risha Hegde, Email reachus@fiire.org.in Mob: +918600788078


OUR Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant needs to be commended for promptly raising with the Central government the long-standing issue of dual citizenship, highlighting the grievances and hardships being faced by those opting for Portuguese passports and while applying for OCI, besides the dilemma faced by  Goans whose birth stands registered in Portugal.

It would be appropriate for the Goa government to ensure that the powers of the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) Goa are restored. For the last few years the office of the FRRO Goa has been stripped of all powers and it has been acting as a mere post-office for FRRO Mumbai.

The FRRO plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and security of people visiting India and provides a central point of contact for registering foreigners and other services. Goa being an important tourist destination the FRRO in Goa must be able to carry out all the necessary functions.   

Currently everything is being managed by FFRO Mumbai with even those applying for OCI having to travel personally to Mumbai for an appointment. Goa having a sizable number of diaspora overseas with Goans spread across the world, the office of FRRO Goa should be restored as a fully functioning hub to deal with affairs of those needing their services.  

I hope the Goa government will act diligently and swiftly so that our FRRO becomes empowered and fully operational, to enable Goans to get their work done without unnecessary inconvenience, delay and expense.    

— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar    


A LARGE number of “Shiv Premis” are unveiling (obviously at the behest of some BJP leaders) more and more Shivaji statues, at different locations in the state. It cannot but set the state for communal agendas through bike rallies, shouting chest-thumping slogans and so on, especially during the celebration of  Shiv Jayanti in Goa.

I respect Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (and have read about his daring guts and achievements in history books) but the one thing I don’t understand is why some “bekar-louddis” or jobless elements want to put up statues of Shivaji everywhere, that is after 60 years of Goa’s Liberation. Why only Shivaji glorification birthdays and death anniversaries, why not statues of other great historical  leaders of India like Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Rani Laxmi Bai, Subhash Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak too?

The reason for Shivaji statues everywhere is that he saved Hindus in Goa from forcible religious conversions during the Portuguese regime, they would like the new generation to remember this and also Shivaji Maharaj. If this is really the case how is it that they are not installing the statues right inside/outside their own homes and houses first?

As per historical facts the Portuguese ruled Goa almost for 450 years (ie 1510 – 1961) and Shivaji lived his life for just 50 years (ie from 1630-1680) ruling mostly parts of Maharashtra as a king only for six years. Under the circumstance how can we conclude so confidently that Shivaji was solely responsible for protecting Hinduism in Goa,  stopping religious conversions during the 450 years long rule of former colonial rulers, the Portuguese? 

Didn’t our Goan leaders do anything good for Goa? Didn’t they suffer at the hands of the Portuguese rulers whilst upholding the fundamental rights of Goans, especially during Goa’s Liberation struggle? Statue lovers should also install statues of other leaders, especially of Dr Jack Sequeira who educated Goans and protected Goa’s unique identity – as proved during the historic Opinion Poll which took place in Goa soon after it was liberated from colonial rule! 

If people really want to follow in the footsteps of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj they should dare to stop our elected politicians from auctioning Goa to its neighbours out greed for money! Liberate Goa from drugs, prostitution, dance bars, casinos, etc, and then only they would qualify to be real “Shiv Premis” of Goa. — Jerry Fernandes, Saligao


Dear Mr Chief Minister,

YOU should know about all this happening in Ga. Goa is becoming a  story of murder plotting and murder even of city animals much loved.   My name is Manuela and I am a known animal lover. I have to tell you one little story that took place in Horizon Residency (Adwalpalkar, Goa University, Taleigao).

I am an old and alone foreigner who decided to settle down with retirement in Goa, India, because people I met during my first visit in 1983 behaved very nice and spoke English or Portuguese. They always had dogs, cats, cows and buffalos in their houses and loving animals also makes them good people.

I retired in 2002 and started the procedure immediately to settle down with all the necessary formalities to have a little flat, car and some facilities to spend the evening of my life in Dona Paula, because of the neighbourhood where Cidade de Goa is located, it was my first contact! Over the years some animals became my friends and I adopted a parrot, dogs, cats, bull and goats, bought and ran my own farm Nachinola, a small village in north Goa district. I am still staying in Goa and have become a devoted Hindu.

Now Goa has changed a lot, there is no Portuguese and English but the majority are Nepali people and the language Hindi is not so nice for daily use, as Portuguese or English. The problems with the poor language Hindi are not important but the behaviour of Hindi-speaking neighbours at Encore Suites near where I stay is not acceptable worldwide.

On January 20, 2024 my darling cat Puspuss went out in the night. After I returned from surgery of my second dislocation of hip and its replacement at Healthway Hospital, I still could walk only with a walker but in pain. I took my walker and was limping on the road to the security, to find and see my beautiful cat lying around before me in the distance not alive anymore.

I guessed she must have been far away because she always came by with my calling. In my Unit II B everybody was informed except the bad people with all their fears of dogs and cats, but Puspuss was not to be seen. My helper Babuli looked around for her, but nothing!

Soon we learned that she was killed somewhere. I had another dislocation, and spent four more days in the hospital. On returning home I saw my darling Puspuss sitting in the middle of the Amonkar’s property in a nice relaxing position. My helper Babuli guessed it was a plastic doll but it was Puspuss cold and dead in the bag. After two more days the “plastic cat” was torn open by puppies and they started eating what was inside.

I think my cat was taken by someone from the nearby ES hotel and they killed her and I am told she was put in the deep freeze by the cruel people; then she was put out on show in the plastic bag so that I could see and find her all dead.

Similarly, I want to adopt a nice dog Caroline in my home and give her a chance of walking with Ajay Palker and get her a vet’s doctoring. After all India people love Ganesha. But I am in deep grief over my killed cat Puspuss and the fact that there are people around me who do horrible crimes against animals because they don’t like them.

Can you help me to solve the enmity of these people towards animals? And if anyone can bring the stray dog Caroline to my home because I want to adopt it and give her a home? Can you also investigate these Encore Suites where a lot of bad noise is created by all kinds of tourists? They also chase the dogs away and hate all animals.

–Manuela Machut, Horizon Shelters, near GMC, Dona Paula, Goa

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