Even as former central tourism secretary S Khwaja had impressed on Goa government to amend its rules to replace beach life saving equipment, Surf Life Saving Goa has to be content with corroded and old equipment for saving lives along the 105 kms Goa coastline.
Reports with Herald suggest that requests and repeated reminders for replacing corroded equipment continue to remain unattended forcing SLSG to replace the equipment at its own cost, in the interest of beach goers.
Presently 18 jet skis are unserviceable out of the 52, three lifeguard towers have collapsed, 12 jeeps out of the 32 are set for being scrapped, and hundreds of rescue tubes are unusable.
According to SLSG, three towers which had virtually collapsed have been replaced by the company at its own cost and new rescue tubes, an essential requirement for every lifeguard, have also been replaced by the company.
A senior management representative of Drishti Group who chose to remain anonymous, when contacted by Herald expressed disappointment at the government’s extraordinary delay in replacing essential life saving equipment.
According to tourism ministry sources, the provision of the rules do not permit for scrapping of the equipment, especially jeeps until completion of seven years.
“This cannot be applied to life saving equipment as the salinity corrodes both the vehicles and other metal equipment within three years,” said this representative.
What was bought in the first phase of the beach safety plan has outlived its utility and the government has not had a time plan for replacing this equipment.
While the government spends close to Rs 20 crore every year for beach safety management, it appears to have tightened the purse strings on replacements of beach equipment which is a cycle of Rs 3 crore replacement plan from the fourth year onwards.
With still six months to go before the beach safety plan would be up for renewal or fresh tenders, whatever plan the government intends to adopt, queries are being raised as to how lifeguards serving Goa’s beach belt would manage to work with corroded equipment or shortage during the peak tourism season in Goa. [H]