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Goa tourism sector welcomes online foreign registration

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Panaji: Goa’s tourism industry has welcomed the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office’s (FRRO) move to allow online registration of foreign guests.

The FRRO in Panaji on Tuesday launched an online initiative, where foreign nationals can now fill the mandatory ‘C’ Form online.

The ‘C’ form is a key document which requires foreigners, under Section three of the Foreigners Act, 1946, to fill up their passport number and other key information for record.

“It is a step in the right direction. We no longer have to manually fill in the form. Foreigners put the form in a sealed envelope and give it to the police station,” spokesperson of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa Ralph de Souza said.

Earlier, the responsibility of filling up the form and submitting it to the nearest police station within 24 hours of the arrival rested with the management of the hotel or the host of the foreign guest.

Goa, which receives over three million tourists every year, is the second state after Kerala to start the online ‘C’ Form facility.

According to Section 14(6) of Foreigners Registration Act, 1939, not filling the form is tantamount to violation of visa norms.

Online registration would help effective collation of data related to tourist arrivals in the state and allow police to swiftly learn about the identity of the foreign nationals arriving in their jurisdiction, de Souza said.

“From a tourism perspective too, it will help the department maintain better records of tourists who come, how many days they stay and where they have come from. It will give us an idea on whether our tourism promotion activities are on the right track or not,” de Souza said.

“The police will immediately get information on the people who are checking in. If there are people who have been flagged because of their involvement in drug peddling or in any other crime or even terrorist activity, it will immediately pop up,” he added.

 

(IANS)

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Portuguese-era bridges will be audited: Goa PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar

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Portuguese-era bridges collapsed on Thursday evening at Curchorem, 45 km from Panaji.

Panaji, May 20, 2017: “All Portuguese-era bridges will be audited for their load-bearing capacity,” said Goa’s Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar on Friday.

Dhavalikar’s announcement came a day after three persons were killed when a dilapidated foot overbridge on the Sanvordem river in Curchorem village collapsed.

“We will have to do an audit to ensure that such incidents are not repeated,” Dhavalikar told reporters here.

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The bridge was old and was therefore, not used for vehicles. Only pedestrians were allowed to use the bridge.

Over 50 persons fell into the river on Thursday evening at Curchorem, 45 km from Panaji, when the bridge collapsed. While most managed to swim to safety, three persons drowned. At least three people have died and 30 others are missing. (IANS)

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Time-warped Goa village to celebrate a unique traditional delicacy, patoli on Independence Day

Village of Socorro is located in a valley that is around 10 km from capital Panaji

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Patoli. Image source: goatrons.com

Socorro, August 14, 2016: On Independence Day that falls on August 15, a tiny village in Goa will not only celebrate the country’s freedom with fervour and zeal but will also honour the patoli, an unsung, delicious, time-warped local dessert, served delicately wrapped in turmeric leaf.

The Socorro Socio Art and Cultural Association has been using the aegis of Independence Day to promote the patoli, a unique and traditional delicacy, which is cooked in both Hindu and Christian homes on festive occasions, especially during the monsoon, when fresh turmeric leaves are available in plenty.

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Located in a valley around 10 km from capital Panaji, the village of Socorro is actually just a short distance from the bustling National Highway 17, but in reality, with its green fields, foliage and traditional Goan homes, the village could well be stuck in a past era.

Marius Fernandes, who has been the soul and strength behind the Patolleanche fest (festival of the patolli), says the success of the festival proves that without sponsorship, alcohol, chief guest and plastic, an event driven by genuine passion can still be a success today.

Patollio, a delicacy in Goa. Image source: minifoodescapades.wordpress.com
Patilo, a delicacy in Goa. Image source: minifoodescapades.wordpress.com

“It’s basically three festivals rolled in one. At 9 a.m., the feast of Our Lady of Assumption is celebrated at the Our Lady of Socorro Church followed by an Independence Day programme by Our Lady of Succour primary school, also in Socorro. As we do not have to wait for a chief guest, we start with the Patolleanche Fest exactly at 11 a.m.,” Fernandes tells IANS.

“We also have some basic rules and aims for our festivals, like there is no chief guest, no sponsors, no prizes, no competition, no plastics and no alcohol. The aim of our festival is to empower women and children. Our festival caters to over 1,500 people, so villagers form groups in the seven vaddos (wards) of Socorro to take up the responsibility of buying, cooking and sharing cooking recipes,” says Fernandes, who prefers to be called a cultural activist.

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The star of the event is obviously the patolli.

The ingredients required are all earthy and available in Goa, especially during the monsoon. There’s grated coconut, coconut jaggery, cardamom, salt to taste, rice and, of course, turmeric leaves.

The rice is first boiled and kneaded into a paste and smeared on the turmeric leaf, the rest of the ingredients are boiled in a little water until the stuffing is cooked. It is then wrapped into the turmeric leaf and steamed for around 20 minutes.

When it’s time to eat, one simply strips the turmeric leaf off and bites into the patolli.

While for Hindus a patoli is the dish-of-the-day during Nag Panchami, for the Christians it is the flavour of the day during the feast of Our Lady of Assumption.

But Independence Day in Socorro is not just about gobbling down the delightful patolis. There’s more to it.

“This year’s menu will include local Goan rice, bhende (okra) curry, fish kismur (a dish made from dry fish and grated coconut), mango pickles and like served on a patraval (leaf plate) besides sannas (idlis fermented with toddy) and pez (rice water) which will be served in kotteio’s (coconut shells). We try and be as eco-friendly as possible,” Fernandes says, adding that the venue will be decorated with recycled material and cloth flags.

“We have been using the same material and flags for the last five years. Our festival has created a great deal of interest and sometimes we are invited to share our ideas.” (IANS)

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Inquiry confirms assault on scribe for speaking Hindi in Goa

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Panaji:  A year after a local journalist accused two police officials here of misbehaving with him just because he was a Hindi-speaking non-Goan, an internal police enquiry confirmed the allegation.

In the report, Superintendent of Police (Crime) Kartik Kashyap said, on Saturday, that “journalist Mukesh Kumar was dealt in a biased manner which might have been (the case) because he was speaking in Hindi”.

Mukesh Kumar, who worked as a reporter with a local cable news channel had complained to the police in December last year that Inspector PK Vast and Sub-Inspector Vikram Naik verbally abused him and roughed him up for looking and sounding like a Hindi speaking person from outside the state.

The incident happened at the Panaji police station. Mukesh Kumar had sought police help after he was threatened by four or five people.

Police officials PK Vast and Vikram Naik, have maintained that the charges against them were false.

SP Kartik Kashyap said it seemed that others involved in the brawl with Mukesh Kumar were given “preferential treatment”, but it did not appear that Inspector Vast had physically assaulted him.

Filed with the Director General of Police, Kashyap’s report also says that the two police officials had been “verbally advised” to show restraint with members of the media and other visitors by the Deputy Inspector General of Police.(IANS)(image courtesy: c2.staticflickr.com)