Parulekar announces project to spruce up Goa’s coastline

MARGAO: Tourism minister Dilip Parulekar on Tuesday declared that Goa Tourism will undertake a project worth Rs 5.5 crore, from the proposed central government allocation of 200 crore, towards the installation of close circuit television cameras (CCTVs), mobile toilets and potable drinking water stations along the Goa coastline.

He made the announcement while interacting with mediapersons after the inauguration of the tourism department’s e-service and registration facilitation centre (RFC) on the ground floor of the South Goa collectorate, Margao.

When asked why the beaches along South Goa’s coastline lacked toilets, changing rooms and other facilities as opposed to some popular North Goa beaches, the tourism minister accused NGOs of halting developmental activities along the southern coastline by approaching the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Pointing out that mobile toilets and CCTVs were included in the Colva circuit project that was opposed by an NGO, the tourism minister said that the government had won the case and that work on the project would restart soon. “I have instructed the contractor to begin the work that should be completed by May 2016. I have also sought the cooperation of the local MLA Caetano (Caitu) Silva,” Parulekar said.

Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) chairman Nilesh Cabral further claimed that the corporation had twice tendered work orders on the public-private participation (PPP) model for the construction of temporary mobile toilets along beaches. But, since it had received no response, he said the corporation would re-float tenders on the gap-funding model.

Replying to another query about illegal activities being conducted on the beaches—such as illegal massage parlours— the tourism minister said, “I do not have the chief minister’s powers. It is the health minister, health department and police who should act. I have, however, directed the deputy director of tourism to inquire into complaints regarding illegal shacks.”

Parulekar further said that during a meeting with the civil aviation minister the issue of providing additional parking and slots for scheduled flights had been discussed. “The tourism department is expecting an increase in tourist arrivals— over 8 million tourists—this season as compared to the 6.5 million arrivals last season,” he said adding that the draft tourism master plan would be presented during the 2016 budget session of the assembly.

“Suggestions have been sought from tourism stakeholders as well as locally-elected representatives who are being taken into confidence,” Parulekar added.