The Goa Tourism Development Corporation has decided to start the process of clearing encroachments on many of its prime properties close to the beaches so that the same could be utilised to boost the infrastructure set-up on the State’s coastline.
Addressing a press conference after the 128th Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said one of the examples of encroachment on tourism land was in Baga where out of the 52,000 sqr mtrs of land, around 5,500 sqr mtrs was encroached.
Parulekar informed, “In 1,000 sqr mtrs of land ‘pakka’ houses have come up while on the rest 4,500 sqr mtrs one can see restaurants, huts and other structures. The department has not taken any action over these in all these years.
“More such encroachments are also seen in Benaulim and Colva. The CM is firm in his decision to clear all these and we too will act accordingly to see that these encroachments go,” the minister added.
He informed that a State Officer has been appointed to will deal with these illegalities. This officer has certain powers and his decisions can be challenged only in the High Court and district court, he added.
GTDC Chairman Nilesh Cabral said the major aim is to have at least 10 toilets on the beaches within the next four months. There will be changing rooms with locker facilities as well. Also, whatever encroached land we take back will help us set up extra infrastructure to build the images of the beaches, he stated.
“We seek to take the picture of GTDC properties to a different level by changing the face of the restaurants and the rooms in all the residencies and we should be able to achieve this probably in the next three years,” the GTDC Chairman observed.
Tourism Minister Parulekar informed that the Government has made a letter to the Union Tourism Minister for early completion of the Dabolim Airport’s expansion and to extend the visa on arrival facility for the State from this new building.
He said they would be meeting the Union Minister and press for Central funds for building up requisite infrastructure.
Answering a question on whether he was okay with the organization of the Sunburn event in Goa, the tourism minister said, “If stakeholders in the tourism industry feel Sunburn boosts their businesses then it is okay with me.
“I have never been to Sunburn but if people in the tourism sector are benefiting from it then I think it is okay to have it.” [H]