Calangute MLA Michael Lobo has strongly opposed the move by the Manohar Parrikar government to bring water sports operations in the state under the control of the Goa tourism development corporation (GTDC).
Speaking to TOI on Sunday, a visibly agitated Lobo also opposed the proposal to introduce hop-on, hop-off tourist buses and sounded skeptical about the proposed helicopter joy-rides being planned by the tourism department.
“Why does GTDC want to control water sports?” he asked. “They have floated a tender asking water sports operators to empanel themselves with GTDC by July 2. Before doing this, they should have convened a meeting of all water sports operators and explained to them what are the plans and also ask them about their difficulties. When GTDC floated the tender, over 200 water sports operators from my constituency came to meet me asking what is going on. I took them to meet tourism minister Dilip Parulekar. The minister said he was unaware of this empanelment.
The water sports operators fear that this is simply a backdoor move by GTDC to bring in outsiders into the water sports business, which I am totally against,” Lobo said.
He added, “I don’t want to contradict my own government, but I want to make it clear that nobody wants to become a part of GTDC. Water sports operators are already providing the service. GTDC is not required to do that. Let GTDC set up kiosks on the beach to regulate the water sports activities and get all the operators to form a union as is being done in Dona Paula.”
According to him, the hop-on, hop-off buses are also not acceptable. “I’m against this. It will affect the bike-rental and taxi business. As MLA of Calangute, I will never allow this. The need of the hour is creating and maintaining basic infrastructure which has collapsed. Garbage from the beaches is not being cleared. How do we tackle this? How do we handle all the touts who are harassing the visitors on the beach? I’ve been after the government to build changing rooms and toilets. We are awaiting CRZ clearances.”