Lobo lashes out at Parulekar

CALANGUTE: In an unexpected outburst, Calangute MLA Michael Lobo lashed out at his BJP colleague and Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar for his controversial decisions at Baga beach and accused the minister of “trying to kill tourism in the State.”

Calangute MLA Michael Lobo and Calangute Panch Joseph Sequeira voiced their anguish over the decision of Parulekar and the tourism department to erect a shack in the open space at Baga, thereby denying a place to locals and tourists to enjoy at Baga beach.

They also criticized the State government, especially the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), for its decision to evict locals living on GTDC land for many years.

Addressing a press conference at Baga beach, Lobo took offence to Parulekar’s alleged statements in the media that ‘coastal MLAs won’t have a say’.

“The utterances of the tourism minister are immature, as he is new in the field. The minister lacks thorough knowledge, else he would have not suggested a cable car, helicopter ride, balloon, etc for the State. What we, in fact, need is basic infrastructure like toilets, changing rooms for tourists and locals, besides a garbage treatment plant,” he said.

“I don’t understand the logic behind the minister’s statement on evicting locals from the beach land who have been living there for years together. No doubt, they have encroached further on government land, but the matter could be mutually decided,” stated Lobo.

“I also do not understand what the minister is up to and whether the government wants to encourage tourism or destroy tourism in the coastal belt of Calangute.”

“It is now almost 10 months since the BJP government is in power, but the tourism department and other departments have shown little or no interest in having the required infrastructure in place and this is why international and domestic tourists are skipping this world-famous tourist destination,” added Lobo.

“Instead of trying to put things in order, the tourism minister is trying to kill tourism in Goa,” claimed the visibly upset Lobo.

“We had planned a mini-park at the open place in Baga, including benches for the locals and tourists. But the tourism department has come up with a shack in the open space. If GTDC is so eager in earning from the plots, it should use the plot on the other side of the road,” said Lobo.

Sequeira also came down heavily on Parulekar and GTDC Chairman Nilesh Cabral for deciding to have a private shack in the open space at Baga beach.

“We have decided to wholeheartedly oppose the private shack in the open space. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had assured that nothing would come up in the open space at Baga. But if anything is set up on the open space at Baga, I will proceed on a strike at the site,” warned Sequeira.

“If Parulekar feels that the coastal MLAs have no say in the affairs affecting the villagers, then Lobo should be asked to resign as MLA,” he added.

Others who addressed the press conference included Albert Fernandes, Rajendra Korgaonkar, Peter Carvalho, John Lobo and Anthony Menezes. [H]