EDC dims lights on startups, offers co-working space to Goa Electronics – ET RealEstate

PANAJI: Even as the state government brags about its lofty ambitions to make Goa a startup hotspot, the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which operates an incubator, has begun to quietly shut the door to local startups.

The corporation’s Ignite innovation hub has been virtually transformed into an office for Goa Electronics Ltd, and startups and entrepreneurs are being asked to vacate the premises, sources informed TOI.

GEL officials have begun to take over the cubicles and cabins that were meant for startups, while applications from tech entrepreneurs for working space are being rejected, a source said. Even EDC officials told TOI that GEL occupies 75-80% of the desks at Ignite that were meant for startups.

TOI has also learnt that EDC has issued directions that whenever co-working seats at EDC Ignite are vacant, “first give preference to GEL” before offering them to startups.

Former chief minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the incubation centre in 2018, which was set up at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore. Parrikar and then EDC chairman Sidharth Kuncalienker had announced that the incubation centre would encourage young entrepreneurs to set up their own startup companies in Goa.

EDC Ignite has 90 desks, which are offered at a nominal rate of Rs 2,000 per month to tech companies along with plug-n-play facilities. At present, there are four startups incubated with EDC Ignite, and three firms that have sought co-working space.

Vasant Salgaoncar, the founder of Mechgiri, one of the startups presently incubated with EDC Ignite, applied for an extension after a year, but even though more than a month has passed, he has not received any response.

“The pandemic has sent all early-stage startups to square one. At this point, where revenues have gone down, an incubation-cum-co-working hub like EDC is exceptionally helpful,” said Salgaoncar.

Another startup functioning out of EDC Ignite was asked to “release” the desks that it was using so that they could be offered to GEL.

TOI attempted to reach out to EDC chairman Sadanand Shet Tanavade on multiple occasions but Tanavade was unavailable for comment.

EDC managing director K V Ballikar said that GEL has been recruiting more staff and was looking for office space. “Ignite wasn’t doing too well and because of the pandemic, IT companies want to work from home. GEL, which is our subsidiary, will pay EDC Rs 5 lakh per month as rent so EDC will earn Rs 60 lakh a year,” Ballikar said.

Records show that EDC asked one of the startups which “badly needed two desks” to “release” the work space as GEL was interested in taking them up.



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Goa government notifies Panaji land use map and register – ET RealEstate

PANAJI: The Greater Panaji Planning and Development Authority (GPPDA) has adopted the land use map and register of Panaji planning area taking into account the suggestions and objections received from stakeholders.

GPPDA issued the notification adopting the land use map and register and said that the map is available for viewing at its office at Mala and at the Corporation of the City of Panaji office.

On August 7, 2020, GPPDA had issued a public notice regarding the preparation of map and register under Section 26 of the TCP Act showing the present land use for Panaji planning area and had given stakeholders 30 days to submit objections and suggestions.

The department of Town and Country Planning (TCP) had put in place a committee to hear stakeholders and scrutinize the objections. Based on the inputs received, a report was shared with the GPPDA.

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Goa: Blackout leads to water crisis in many housing complexes – ET RealEstate

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PANAJI: The state’s massive power outage transitioned into a water crisis, particularly for residential complexes and those without wells to draw water. With no electricity supply, residential colonies and independent homes had no means to pump water into overhead tanks.

Water tankers were of no relief because most of them depend on pumps too, thus leaving half the states’ urban population battling water problems.

Residents resorted to novel ideas to beat the water shortage, either borrowing drums of water from relatives or purchasing bottled water for cooking purposes. Cooperative housing societies asked their members to “use water judiciously” or released water at staggered timings.

Cyclone Tauktae, which passed by Goa on Sunday, uprooted trees, brought down power lines and snapped electricity poles as it wrecked havoc in the state. With power infrastructure damaged, most of the state has been without electricity for over 48 hours. Most of the water that had been pumped into overhead water tanks has dwindled over the last two days leaving taps dry.

“Due to the cyclone and power failure in surrounding areas, we have not been able to get water tankers. The society was forced to shut down the bathroom water supply,” a resident of Milroc Ribandar Miriam Carvalho said.

A family from Sarmanas, Bicholim, was left without water and electricity for two days till activists stepped in to assist the family.

Some complexes which have borewells hired diesel gensets to pump water to the overhead tanks.

“Water is an issue because tankers aren’t coming. We have been asked to use water judiciously,” a resident of Casa Mangalam at Kadamba Plateau said.

With power and water supply cut, many trudged down to the neighbour store to purchase bottled water for cooking and drinking purposes. Others borrowed from friends, neighbours and even their offices.

“I went and filled drinking water from the office in the morning. We filled two buckets and brought it home in the car,” Claude Pinto said.

Most parts of the state lacked power since Saturday night and thus dishes were also piling up along with soiled linen.

“The complex hired a DG set and shut down all lifts and lights. Water was released in the morning, for one hour in the afternoon and from 8pm to 11pm. We have managed with this,” maintenance supervisor for Esmeralda on the Old Goa by-pass Sachin Birje said.



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Goa coastal body asks village panchayats & municipalities to submit CZMP resolutions – ET RealEstate

PANAJI: The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) has directed the directorate of panchayats and the directorate of municipal administration to direct village panchayats and municipalities to submit a resolution taken by them on the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan 2011.

Some panchayats in Bardez, Bicholim, Pernem and Tiswadi and municipalities are yet to submit their resolutions to the GCZMA.

The government meanwhile has completed compiling the objections and suggestions to the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) submitted by village panchayats. It will now be placed before the GCZMA to decide on the further course of action.

Objections and suggestions related to khazan lands will be sent to the water resource department (WRD) while objections pertaining to fishing zones will be sent to the fisheries department, an officer said.

Recently, the high court of Bombay at Goa disposed of cases questioning the public hearing conducted by the North Goa collector for finalising the draft CZMP after petitioners agreed to file appropriate proceedings before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) at New Delhi.

In March, the high court had restrained government respondents from proceeding further on the basis of the minutes of the hearing on March 7, 2021, for a period of three weeks or until further orders, whichever was earlier. The court had passed the interim order and observed that the PIL ought to have been filed before the NGT. They were hearing the petitioners as the western zone bench of the tribunal at Pune has not been functional.

The March 7 public hearing had been shunned by people. They called it a farce as the government had restricted the number of registrations citing Covid protocols and each speaker was allotted just five minutes. Amidst angry protests inside and outside the venues, and with a huge posse of police personnel guarding it, the state government claimed to have successfully concluded the hearings. There was utter chaos as hundreds of people came out against the CZMP demanding wider consultation, even as the coastal zone management authority carried out the exercise at Panaji and Margao through the district collectors.



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