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Soon, tourists can camp in Goa at sites identified by tourism dept - (March 4,

PANAJI: If the tourism department follows through, the days of tourists cooking or washing clothes in the open, by their parked vehicles, and leaving the place littered, especially during the peak season in April-May, could soon be a thing of the past.

The tourism department is in the process of identifying 10-15 spots in North and South Goa to be later developed as campsites for tourists. Basic facilities will be set up at these sites for tourists, including college students visiting Goa in big groups. "We plan to have a barbeque facility and an open-air auditorium at the camping site so that tourists can enjoy themselves," said tourism director Ameya Abhyankar, adding that after the camping sites are set up, tourists camping in the open will be fined.

The names and addresses of these campsites will be displayed at the state's entry points and leaflets containing information about the sites will be given to drivers of tourist vehicles at various toll gates, said Abhyankar. "We can't stop anybody from coming to Goa but when a garden or any other open space is used to camp at, it brings down the value of a place," he added.

Tourists camping in the open is more prevalent in the North Goa coastal belt, and while the exact number of this segment of tourists is not known, it is believed to be a significant one.

The new tourist bill, which is likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of the Goa assembly, will include a provision to impose a fine on errant tourists.
When feminism meets satire, you ‘C Sharp C Blunt’ - (Feb 28,

What if technology cannot really bridge barriers? What if, despite years of feminism, women continue to be objectified? C Sharp C Blunt highlights women-oriented issues prevalent in India like the pressures of marriage, stigma of unequal pay, workplace harassment, sexual assault, etc through the automated female voice of a user-friendly app.

The play begins with the chaos of numbers where the binary code is read out repeatedly. Goan artiste M. D. Pallavi personifies the user-friendly app 'Shilpa 202 Pro' claiming to have been created in the sterile birth canal of a code and one that does not complain or talk back.

The app requests the audience to take charge of it, to alter its voice frequency in terms of sweetness, huskiness, sexiness and flexibility on a scale of 1 to 10. It further allows itself to be puppeteered by the audience. Gradually upgrading itself to Shilpa 404, the app offers users the privilege to alter its height, bust size and skin tone. Displaying shades of dark comedy, the play introduces the viewer to the app's advanced version, Shilpa 606, that claims in a menacing voice to be more intelligent than its users. Resultantly, rejecting requests made by them.

The role of the app is combined with that of a young singer whose confidence to join the music industryis shattered by the aggressive approach of societal pressure, a virtual character in a video gamedesigned for women, and a B-grade filmmaker determined on shooting a dramatic rape scene.

In these scenes, Pallavi exhibits her acting prowess, seamlessly shifting from a demure hesitant girl to anempowered working woman and from a computer-generated character to a sleazy Bollywoodfilmmaker.

The background score and soundscape play a significant part in capturing the various moods of the play.An nagging Indian aunty's voice repeats stereotypes leading the character to break down.

A jumble of irrational, anti-feminist statements by leaders and gurus provoke the actor depicting therape scene. Another robotic voice reads statistics based on research data of Shilpa's users that rangefrom fun facts leaving the audience in splits to taking a serious U-turn by reading the statistics of sexualoffences. Seated on stage-right the play's second character, Nikhil Nagaraj, responds to the app everynow and then, also providing live sound.

Cleverly titled, C Sharp C Blunt offers its viewers an intelligently scripted, hilarious and satirical portrayalof the struggles of women in today's entertainment industry.The play is part of the three-day Sadir Theatre Festival, which commenced on Friday at the Kala Academy, Panaji.
Now, verify Goa University certificates online - (Feb 26,

PANAJI : Goa University (GU) has now made it possible for any individual to check at the click of a mouse the authenticity of degrees claimed by a student to have been issued by the varsity.

The university has provided a link on its website where an employer or an institute from outside the state can upload a degree and verify if it is indeed one issued by Goa University.

"For a small sum that can be paid through the online mode, one can check the authenticity of a document. Recently, some cases had been reported to the police where fake certificates claimed to have been issued by the university were being used. The simple online authentication process will help employers a great deal to identify such fake certificates," Goa University registrar Vijayendra Kamat told TOI.

Goa University recently sanctioned a 3.67crore ambitious project, under which work has begun on a integrated university management system.

Under the project, all Goa University data and that of affiliated institutes will be computerized and made centrally manageable through a linked system. The system will make every detail under GU's ambit available at the click of a mouse to users for data on students, fees, course structures, university notifications, convocations, teacher trainings, alumni, varsity assets and finance.

After a rigorous process, a GU technical committee had finalized Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation (KSEDC) which is delivering the service along with its consortium partner, Expedeion.

GU is also slowly moving towards the online admission process, which will help it create a constant database of future students who register with it, and which will help in the process of checking the authenticity of certificates.
Police to recruit 300 women into force - (Feb 25, 2015 -

PANAJI : It's good news for women who want to join the police force. After relaxing recruitment rules, the Goa police have begun the recruitment of 300 women police personnel as part of the 6,000-odd police force in Goa.

Goa police have relaxed existing recruitment rules for height, weight, running, long jump and high jump. The height requirement for PSIs has been reduced from 160cm to 158cm; weight to not less than 45kg and 44kg, 100m run which was supposed to be completed within 16.5 seconds can now be completed in 18.5 seconds. Long jump has been reduced from 3.25m to 3.10m and the shot put distance has been reduced from 4.5m to 4m.

The government has 79 vacant posts for woman police sub-inspectors and 221 for lady police constables. An applicant can collect an application form from the Goa police welfare cell, Altinho, on all working days upon the payment of 50 per form for the post of PSI and 20 per form for the post of police constable. The last date to submit forms is on April 6.

"The decision of the police department with regard to matters connected with the recruitment will be final in all respects and the police department has the right to make changes or to cancel the recruitment process without assigning any reason," SP, headquarters, Vishram Borkar, said, adding that the selected candidate will have to undergo the prescribed training for a specific period at a training centre in India.

During his budget speech in March 2013, then chief minister and current defence minister Manohar Parrikar had announced the formation of a special women police battalion with strength of 300 personnel to investigate crime against women. When recruitment and training is completed, there will be a separate 'women complaints desk' in each police station and women police will investigate crime cases against women.

At present, out of 375 women police personnel, 211 are constables, 136 are head constables, 10 are assistant sub-inspectors, nine are police sub-insp.ectors, four are police inspectors and four are DySPs.
Dinda, Rahul Sharma for Goa Premier League - (Feb 21, 2015 -

PANAJI : The Goa Professional League (GPL) T20 is now at its strongest, attracting plenty of cricketers who can be counted among the better players in the country. Not now, of course, but in the past they've all had their moments.

Yet, you could also say, Goan cricket finds itself at its lowest, if you measure T20 success by the state's representation at the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20. For the first time since the cash-rich event started in 2008, Goa has no representation. It's true, Swapnil Asnodkar's glitzy days with Rajasthan Royals are over and Shadab Jakati is history with Chennai Super Kings. But to see none of the eight Goan cricketers being picked up at the IPL auction early this week will certainly hurt.

"I was surprised that none of our players were picked by franchisees. Probably, the Ranji Trophy performance had a lot to do with it," said Goa Cricket Association president Dr Shekhar Salkar.
Salkar may have a point.

Goa had a disastrous Ranji Trophy campaign this season, finishing at the bottom of the nine-team group. Goa did not win a single game and lost five of the eight without putting up any fight, although players like Amogh Desai and Darshan Misal had put up reasonably good performances.

"There are several factors involved while having a player selected for the IPL but it does not mean we do not have any talent. We have players good enough to play at the highest level. I am sure things will improve in a couple of years," said Salkar.

Salkar's confidence stems from some encouraging performances by Goa's junior cricketers at the South zone. Four of the starting eleven players are from Goa and two are among the best names in the business. Snehal Kauthankar, representing South Zone, has scored a century and has already amassed 841 runs this season. Amulya Pandrekar is the leading wicket taker, while Vedant Naik and Lakshya Garg have given a good account of themselves in the zonal tournament.

"Indian cricket has so much of talent that sometimes you need luck to break into the highest level of T20 cricket. Our players are certainly not inferior," said the GCA president.

The GPL T20 starts on Sunday at the Academy ground in Porvorim and for the first time will have some better cricketers on show. The lineup includes former international cricketers like Piyush Chawla, Rahul Sharma, Rishi Dhawan, Sudeep Tyagi, Ashok Dinda and Manoj Tiwary.
Goa University road to be closed for triathlon - (Feb 21, 2015 -

PANAJI : In view of the Goa Triathlon on Sunday, the North Goa district collector's office has ordered closure of the road for the public from Goa University library block to the Grand Hyatt junction at Bambolim from 7am to 10am on Sunday, February 22, 2015.

Only vehicles belonging to VVIPs and VIP carcades will be exemped from the blockade.

The triathlon, which is an endurance sport involving three disciplines, starts with a swim, followed by a bicycle ride and completed by a run, over stipulated distances.

The order has been issued by additional collector Swapnil Naik under Section 115 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The order states that the normal flow of vehicular traffic on the parallel and surrounding roads should not be obstructed.

Naik said that in case of movement of any VVIP and VIP, the road will be kept open for movement of carcade. He also directed organizers to post their volunteers for regulation of vehicular traffic and to ensure proper parking as there is no parking along the route of the triathlon.

The order also stated that the organizers will ensure the safety of participants by detailing their own pilot vehicles to prevent accidents and should also arrange for emergency vehicles.
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