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Panaji, Jan 10 : Operators of beach shacks, temporary palm-thatched shacks which offer food and refreshments on Goa’s beaches, have opposed a proposed move by the Tourism Ministry to fix a cap on prices of food and beverages.

A few days after Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said that steep pricing of refreshments in restaurants and beach shacks had triggered a drop in the number of tourist arrivals in Goa, Cruz Cardozo, who heads the Goa Shack Owners Welfare Society, said the government should first cap exorbitant pricing on the menus of starred restaurants.

“If the government wants to control prices, they should first control prices in five-star restaurants and not shacks. The prices there are exorbitant. The food and beverages sold in starred outlets are much more expensive than ours,” Cardozo told IANS.

After Goa experienced a dip in the number of tourist arrivals for a second-year running, Ajgaonkar said the state Tourism Ministry was working on a mechanism to enforce capping of prices on menus in shacks and restaurants.

Blaming escalating prices as one of the reasons for the drop in the number of tourists visiting the coastal state, he said that any restaurant or shack which prices food and beverages above Rs 500 would be fined.

Cardozo, however, claims that tourism industry stakeholders, including the shack operators, should be consulted before working out such plans. Prices of food and beverage items, he said, were based on price of raw material which is used to produce the items on the menu, he said.

“If the raw material is expensive, then so will be the price of the food item. Can the Tourism Minister also cap prices of fish in Goa? The price of fish in particular shoots up in the tourism season, which forces us to increase menu prices,” Cardozo said.

Goa’s popular beaches have around 400 shacks, most of which are allotted seasonally. The allotted shacks, which are synonymous with Goa’s beaches, have to be disbanded with the onset of monsoon every year.

The state is known for its beach and nightlife tourism and attracts more than seven million tourists every year, half a million of which are foreigners.

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Bhopal may get country’s first cremation ground for cows

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Bhopal, Jan 18 (IANS) The country’s first cremation ground for cows will be prepared in Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal and the city’s municipal authorities are already on the lookout for a site for the purpose.

Bhopal Mayor Alok Sharma said: “The municipal corporation wants to prepare a cow cremation centre for their salvation. We will do it as soon as we find a suitable land for it.”

Sharma said that the project was already under discussion during former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s regime, and now they were taking it forward.

Hailing the civic authorities’ effort, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamalnath said the government would encourage the efforts made for the welfare of cows. The government was committed to fulfilling its promises, he said.

The Congress had promised to construct cowsheds at Panchayat level in its manifesto before the Assembly elections.

There are an estimated 227 crore cattle in the state, out of which 90 lakh are milch cows.

Farmer leader Kedar Sirohi has also welcomed the effort and urged the government to take in notice the cows who are dying due to malnutrition at early age.

Stray cattle have become a problem in the state and often cause accidents and destroy crops.

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10% quota for economically weak applicable from Jan 14 in UP

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Lucknow, Jan 18 :The Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Friday ratified 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections among the upper castes, a government spokesman said.

A meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath here decided to enforce the reservation in government jobs and higher education institutions with retrospective effect, from January 14.

“The officials have carefully studied the formula of reservation to the upper castes, as rolled out by the Central and the Gujarat governments, and it has been decided that the quota will come into effect in the state the way it is being implemented by Centre,” said state Power Minister Srikant Sharma.

All Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states, including Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Gujarat, have already implemented the 10 per cent reservation for economically weak, after President Ram nath Kovind gave his assent to the constitutional amendment bill passed by the Parliament.

In another key decision, the cabinet okayed a proposal to use Rs 165 crore earned through the cess on liquor sale for protection of cows.

Besides, it was also decided that the cabinet approval will not be required for the projects worth up to Rs 1 crore.

The cabinet also gave the nod for renaming Mughalsarai tehsil after RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay.

Also, a decision to rebore 1,101 tubewells and install 2,000 new sets was taken on Friday.

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Bihar: Boy’s jaw broken for plucking plums in Muzaffarpur

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Patna, Jan 18: A seven-year-old boy was beaten, his jaw was broken and six of his teeth were knocked out as punishment for plucking some plums from a tree in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, police said on Friday.

An FIR has been lodged on the basis of the complaint filed by the boy’s mother, police officer Mohammad Sujauddin said.

Mohammad Sohail was attacked by Faizan Warsi alias Jonny, who beat the boy black and blue for plucking fruits from the tree near his house. The child has been admitted to a hospital in critical condition.

Sohail’s mother also claimed that Warsi’s parents had asked her to keep mum on the matter and not involve the police.

The police were yet to nab the culprit.

IANS

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