Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar on Saturday said that the Tourism Ministry and the government have no reason to doubt Drishti’s dedication and service of providing beach safety and lifeguard services. Nevertheless, the plans to invite fresh tenders are for the sole purpose of incorporating more segments into it for a comprehensive beach safety plan.
Parulekar said that the government now intends introducing lifeguard services not only on the beach but also other tourist spots which have water bodies like Harvalem waterfalls, Dudhsagar waterfalls, Sattari white water rafting and similar areas that attract tourists.
When his attention was drawn to the fact that the present contract makes a provision for any expanded or new area of business as deemed necessary, he said.
“The existing contract is outdated and old-fashioned,” adding on that after five years it does not apply to the changing scenario.The minister pointed out that plans are on to demarcate special swimming zones on the beaches, add on more equipment and other facilities in view of which the existing contract and old estimates would not fit within the new framework.
“It is not that we are unhappy with Drishti,” he explained, stating that the Tourism Ministry will hold a dialogue with Drishti on all these issues only after which it would invite global tenders.
He said, “We have just followed the procedure as per the contract of giving Drishti an intimation 180 prior to the lapse of the contract that the same is not being renewed.”
The news that Drishti’s contract will not continue after June 15, 2013 has rattled hundreds of lifeguards serving Goa’s coastline and at a time when the tourism season is at its peak. However, officials of the company were not keen on commenting on the developments.
BEACH CLEANING TENDERS: Parulekar also said that the ministry would also be inviting tenders for beach cleaning by the end of December.
TOURIST INFLOW INCREASING: Goa’s tourist inflow is terrific, said Parulekar, expecting foreign tourist arrivals to cross 5 lakh and domestic tourists to touch 30 lakh by the end of the season. Speaking to Herald, the minister said, “As per data available, till October, the arrival of domestic tourists was already 16.5 lakh, while foreign tourists were around 3 lakh. [H]