Govt committed to improve forest cover, says Governor

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Panaji: Stating that 68 per cent of the area in the state is under forest cover, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday said the state government is committed to ‘compensate’ any loss of green cover caused by various developmental works.

“The government is committed to conserve and improve the rich natural heritage of forest and biodiversity of Goa with people’s participation and to compensate for any loss of tree/forest cover due to various developmental works,” Malik said while addressing the state-level function held to celebrate the 71st Republic Day at the Parade Ground in Panaji.

Malik unfurled the national flag and inspected the guard of honour presented on the occasion of the Republic Day.

The Governor said that efforts will be made to take up high-density plantation of commercial crops like mango, cashew, etc with an aim to export the produce, adding that the state’s vision focuses on organic farming for which 10,000 hectares of land will be converted.

He said the Mopa greenfield airport will soon become a reality, which will help boost the tourism industry and socioeconomic development of the state.

Pointing out that Goa is a frontrunner in achieving zero hunger, quality education, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy and sustainable economic growth, Malik observed that more efforts are needed to achieve  other goals such as innovation, climate action and ‘life below waters’.

He said the law and order situation in the state is much better, and that the crime rate has declined by 10.4 per cent in the year 2019 as compared to 2018.

“Crime detection rate has increased to 84 per cent in 2019 as against 82 per cent in 2018 due to the adequate staffing, the implementation of various measures and the adoption of modern technology,” he disclosed. 

Stating that the revenue collection through goods and services tax was Rs 2558.40 crore till December 2019, Malik said the excise revenue collection up to December 2019 has reached Rs 351.55 crores showing a growth of 7.6 per cent as compared to the same period of 2018.

“Transgender children also have the right to education like other children. The state government has emphasised the duty of administration and school management to ensure a safe and conducive environment at schools and establish an anti-discrimination cell to monitor any form of discrimination against the transgender community,” Governor said.

He called for more efforts towards cracking National Eligibility Test and State Eligibility Test, which many candidates find as a hard nut to crack.

Malik informed that the directorate of higher education has started a mentoring programme for the students aspiring to pursue their careers as college teachers.

“Extensive sessions were conducted to train the NET/SET aspirants, and as a result of which 85 students have now cleared the NET/SET,” he said.

Later, the Governor presented awards, including the President’s Fire Service Medal for meritorious service, to personnel of the directorate of fire and emergency services. The awardees included assistant divisional officer Ajit Kamat, station fire officer Marveyn Bosco Ferrao and firefighters Rohidas Dattaram Parab and Parkash Jivba Kannaik.

Malik also presented the Union Home Minister’s Medal for excellence in police training to PSI Chandrakant R Gawas.

The event ended with a cultural dance programme staged by students from different schools.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Opposition leader Digambar Kamat, St Andre MLA Francisco Silveira also attended the function.