Cong releases ‘local’ manifesto

Panaji: The Congress party, on Thursday, released its local manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections which is scheduled to be held on April 23.

The grand old party has pledged to restart mining activity in a sustainable manner within the framework of the Supreme Court judgment and Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

Even though there is no concrete promise given by the Congress on special status for Goa, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president, who is also the Congress candidate for the North Goa Parliamentary constituency, assured that they will vehemently work to convince the Parliament to pass a law to preserve Goa’s land and identity on lines with the Himachal Pradesh.

The Congress, in their manifesto, has stated that the party will seek the support of the central government to work out a full-proof measure to provide formalin-free fish.

Chodankar said that they will get the six Goan rivers declassified from the National Waterways Act and ensure that the ownership of the rivers remain with the state government.

In order to protect the livelihood of traditional fishermen community, the Congress vowed to establish a separate ministry for fisheries that will work for the welfare of the fishermen.

“We have promised here that Congress government if voted to power, will establish an adequately capitalised tourism development bank to provide low-cost, long term funds for investment in tourism-related businesses,” said Chodankar quoting the national manifesto, and added that the target is to increase the flow of tourists by 20 per cent

annually.

He said that the Visa-on-Arrival Scheme will be expanded to include more countries and more categories of visitors and no fee will be charged for tourist visas for a period of 3 years.

Chodankar also said that all the income through tourism-related source will be treated as special income and a certain percentage of tax relief will be given by the Congress government.

The Congress also pledged to protect the Goan coastline by revoking the recently notified Coastal Regulation Zones and notifying back to 200 metres from current 50 metres from the high-tide line.

They have also promised that the applications for projects under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds will be accepted and processed and awarded in a transparent, merit/priority based and time-bound manner.

The Congress has committed to review and audit the Seafarers Welfare Fund Society, explore the option of resorting and enhancing the monthly ex-gratia monetary assistance (MEMA) scheme.