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Goa’s Tourist Taxis at War Again with App-based Cabs

Many of the app-based taxi owners and drivers are also part of the village panchayat and the resolution passed by the panchayats will adversely affect their interests, the spokesperson added

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Calvim Ferry in Goa. Goa can be
Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting. Wikimedia Commons

The recurring war between tourist taxi drivers of Goa versus operators of the state’s only app-based taxi service, Goamiles, saw a sudden spurt over the last 24 hours, with several Goamiles taxi drivers being threatened, one of their taxis stoned and a coastal village panchayat poised to ban them from its jurisdiction.

On Saturday, Goamiles spokesperson Justine Nunes said that while the agency is authorised by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation, there are, however, vested interests who are creating trouble for its drivers, which is causing hardship to tourists.

“Lately lots of people with vested interests are working against this initiative and creating lots of trouble for the taxi owners and drivers who have opted to be a part of the Goamiles service,” Nunes said, on a day when Nationalist Congress Party MLA Churchill Alemao led a protesting group of taxi drivers to a tourist resort where Goamiles taxis were parked and stoned one vehicle, forcing the drivers to move their vehicles out.

“These Goamiles taxis are threatening the livelhood of our local taxi drivers. They cannot be allowed to operate in Goa,” Alemao told reporters.

“Goamiles is an authorised business initiative drafted and crafted by Goa Tourism Development Corp. This initiative is mainly in the interest of Goan taxi owners and tourists visiting Goa to have a win-win situation for all stakeholders,” Nunes said.

We feel this successful concept has been misunderstood by some local taxi owners due to vested interests of few,” he added.

A section of Goa’s 10,000 odd tourist taxis and their drivers have often been accused of over-charging, intimidating and operating in an unregulated environment.

Several attempts by the state government to install and implement a fare-meter system have failed, even as members of the taxi lobby have also attacked tour coach buses ferrying foreign tourists, accusing tour operators of depriving them of business.

Some years back, a flare-up between a Russian travel operator and a local taxi owner resulted in the murder of the latter, sparking hostilities between locals and Russian tourists, who account for a large chunk of the half million foreign tourists who visit the state every year.

The state also attracts more than seven million domestic tourists every year, who often face hardship due to the overpriced and irregular public transports system.

Photo: www.buzzparas.com

Ola taxi services were introduced in Goa in 2014, but were soon stopped by the state transport department following protests by local taxi operators.

Following complaints by tourists and tourism industry stakeholders about overcharging by taxi operators, the government-operated Goa Tourism Development Corporation partnered with a private agency to set up Goamiles a couple of years back as a response to some fervent petitioning.

But the politically savvy taxi lobby has been opposed to the app-based operator, claiming it infringes on their business.

On Sunday (June 2), the village panchayat of Anjuna-Caisua, in whose jurisdiction several prime beaches are located, has called an extraordinary meeting to pass a resolution to ban Goamiles cabs from its jurisdiction.

Goamiles has strongly criticised the move as being illegal and beyond the scope of a village panchayat’s duties.

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“It further points out that this move will affect hundreds of families in the village who are connected with the app-based service and earning a livelihood to support their families,” Nunes said.

The legal terms are clear. Many of the app-based taxi owners and drivers are also part of the village panchayat and the resolution passed by the panchayats will adversely affect their interests, the spokesperson added.  (IANS)

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Goa to Conduct Anti-Body Test of Air Passengers as Domestic Flights Resume

Goa government has written to the central government and ICMR seeking permission to conduct anti-body tests of air passengers

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Goa government seeks permission to conduct anti body test on passengers arriving at Goa's Dabolim international airport. Pixabay

With domestic flights scheduled from May 25, the Goa government has written to the central government and the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for permission to conduct anti-body tests of passengers alighting at Goa’s Dabolim international airport.

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said, here on Saturday, in a request to the ICMR and the Civil Aviation Minister, the state government had said air passengers headed to Goa be issued Covid-19 negative certificate at the time of boarding the flight.

“I have requested the ICMR and the Civil Aviation Ministry to permit us to conduct antibody testing of passengers and they be issued a Covid-19 negative certificate to enter the state via domestic flights from Monday,” Rane told reporters.

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Such testing at the airport will avoid community transmission. (Representational Image). Pixabay

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Such testing would help identify asymptomatic patients while screening them at the airport to avoid community transmission, Rane said.

Goa has 38 active coronavirus cases. 16 people have been cured of Covid-19. (IANS)

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How The COVID Pandemic Pushed More Indians To Online Casinos

The Coronavirus outspread has forced people to switch to the virtual world for various activities

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As a result of lockdown, licensed online casinos are facing many visitors.

A lot of systems and structures have had to change since the coronavirus pandemic struck. Many Indians and people around the world have been forced to shut down businesses andsocial activities. With no options left than to stay at home, people now have to find other activities to substitute their usual daily activities.

Almost everyone is now turning to online activities to keep them busy. They now have to socialize with friends and entertain themselves online. As a result of this, licensed online casinos are receiving more visitors than before.

 

Land-based Casinos Closed Down

All the popular casinos in Goa, Daman, and other regions have been forced to close. The Goa government had ordered the closure of educational institutions and public places including casinos from March 15. Some other states had earlier announced shut down in activities while some followed after. All in an attempt to curb the spread of the disease.

Before the shutdown, the online gambling industry in India was already growing at a steady pace. But as soon as the land-based casinos were shut down, the industry experienced a massive increase in activities.

Many regular Indian gamblers have turned to the online versions of their various casino games. Due to the lack of business and other activities, these gamblers have also had more time to spend gambling. Several online casinos confirmed this increase in the rate of online gambling. There have been many new registrations and a rise in the activity of regular online gamers.

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All Casinos have beeen shut since 15 March due to outspread of Coronavirus pandemic. Pixabay

 

Sports Events Cancelled

Most large sporting events and tournaments have also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League which was supposed to start on March 29 was postponed till April 15. The Board of Control for Cricket in India further postponed it indefinitely after the nationwide lockdown was extended.

Also, the Olympics which was scheduled to hold this year has been postponed till 2021. The decision was inevitable as the decision board had to ensure the safety of the athletes first.

The EuroCup was another major tournament that had to be postponed. So many smaller tournaments around the world have also been affected. This caused the sports betting industry to suffer greatly.

There are no longer matches and tournaments to stake on. Sports betting sites experienced a great reduction in the activity of sports gamblers and begun to find alternatives.

People who regularly visit land-based betting halls and online betting sites have been pushed towards online casinos. These sports gamblers are learning how to play casino games and staking their monies, awaiting the time sporting events will resume again.

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Due to the ongoing pandemic, people have started visiting online licensed casinos. Pixabay

Online Casinos Become A Way To Kill Boredom During Lockdown

Indians are now stuck at home due to the lockdown and restrictions placed to curb the spread of the disease. With the lack of activities to take their time, many people have had to deal with boredom. Most people spend the day surfing the internet to consume online content. As a result, there has been a sharp increase in players turning to licensed online casinos to ward off boredom.

With the abundance of online casino games, they have a variety of options to choose from.

Leaders in the online gaming industry confirmed an increase in the number of Indians who play games like Rummy, Teen Patti, Andar Bahar, and many others.

 

The Online Casino Market Is Growing

Online casinos are growing due to Covid-19. Many online casinos have sprung up before the outbreak of the disease and many land-based casinos are coming online.

Indians are now gambling online without the fear of breaking the Indian law which restricts physical gambling except in some states and with some games.

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The country is currently one of the largest contributors to the growth of online gambling in the world. The last 10 years saw pretty rapid growth. This is due to the increase in the population of people making use of the internet and smartphones. Approximately 30 billion

US dollars is earned as online gambling revenue every year. Most of the revenue gotten each year can be attributed to the online and mobile sectors.

2018 ended with 566 million internet users in India. Before 2020 ends, this figure is expected to grow to 730 million. We can conclude that the online casino market will continue to increase as the Indian mobile and internet users increase.

[ Disclaimer: The pictures used in the article are supplied by the author, NewsGram has no intention of infringing copyrights. ]

 

[Disclaimer: The article published above promotes links of commercial interests.]

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NRI Commission of Goa to Create Database of Overseas Individuals Seeking to Return

Covid-19: Goa to create data base of expats seeking return

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Goa government's Non Resident Indian(NRI) Commission on Tuesday, launched a campaign to reach out to the expats of Goan origin amid the travel restrictions. Pixabay

Goa government’s Non Resident Indian Commission on Tuesday, launched a campaign to reach out to the expats of Goan origin, primarily to create a database of overseas individuals who wish to return home on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“Glad to inform that, today Goa NRI Commission has begun the registration process/assistance of NRIs of Goan origin,” Goa’s Commissioner for NRI Affairs Narendra Sawaikar tweeted.

Goa NRI
The NRI Commission is a Goa government agency which serves as a liaison between the state government and the large expat population of Goans worldwide. (Representational Image). Pixabay

As part of the outreach, the expats have been requested to fill up a small online questionnaire related to personal details and seeks to know about their willingness to return to Goa in view of the pandemic.

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The NRI Commission is a Goa government agency which serves as a liaison between the state government and the large expat population of Goans worldwide.

Goa has a large expat population working mainly in the oil rich Middle East region as well as on board cruise liners. (IANS)

3 responses to “NRI Commission of Goa to Create Database of Overseas Individuals Seeking to Return”

  1. These forms for registration were filled early last week.Why the delay in getting the NRI’s home? they are facing such a lot of hardships for about 2 months now. Please put an end to their troubles, get the Goan NRI’s home soon.

    • I agree. Goa govt needs to wake up and act soon. Request for direct flights to goa to bring back Goans. Goa is an International airport which has carried out evacuations to various countries in the past few days. Please, now act on getting your own people back home quickly. ACT NOW. No more excuses.

  2. The forms are collecting dust, nothing has been done. Repatriation flights have started but nothing for the next 8 days for any Goan to return. Dubai to Goa is just a 3 hrs flight, iso is the same from most of the Gulf, but is anyone interested in getting our Goans back? Its all talk and more talk…no action, repatriation is an eyewash. The Goan authorities who can press for these flights are not interested, in the welfare of Goan families so what else can the poor Goans do?
    In contrast, take a look at kerala, what a difference in the attitude of the State Govt. Is it any surprise then that most flights and naval ships are repatriating them on proritybasis? Kudos to their CM. Lets see and hope and pray that the Goa govt wakes up very very soon. things can be done overnite if the will exists.

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