Shack owners gear up to take on govt with list of demands

Shack owners have turned on the heat on the government, ahead of the tourist season, with a list of demands, while also strongly insisting that shack owners themselves should furnish an affidavit stating that they do not hold dual citizenship.

Gearing up for the season, they have demanded for early allotment of shacks by September end, freezing of fee hike, lifting undue restriction of beach beds and non reduction in the number of shacks. They have also called for uniform shack sizes all along the beach belt, with adequate space for doing business.

Traditional Goa Shack Owners have strongly insisted that shack owners should furnish an affidavit stating that they do not hold dual citizenship, since they alleged that that many shack operators are applying for licenses inspite of possessing Portuguese passports.

The Association has demanded that shack allotment process should begin by September end. Last week, Shacks Owners Welfare Society had voiced strong opposition to moves to delay the shack allotment process upto mid October.

In a press communiqué, Traditional Goa Shack Owners have said that the shack allocation process should start by the end of September so as to give them adequate time to put up the shacks well ahead of the arrival of tourists to Goa.

The association has called on the government to freeze fees and deposits according to last year’s rates and expressed opposition to any hike as proposed for the year 2012-13.

Traditional Goa Shack Owners have also expressed their ire over the restriction of beach beds to five pairs, which they said is unrealistic and does not meet the demands of tourists.

“We feel that 12 pairs (of beach beds) are reasonable and the tourism department should revoke the licenses of those shack operators who put even one bed extra,” reads the statement from Traditional Goa Shack Owners.

The association further said that if at all the tourism department does not feel the need to increase the number of beds and provides strict policing, then they should not permit any beach beds on public property thereby putting an end to this reoccurring issue once and for all.

The shack owners have also opposed moves to reduce the number of shacks as they opine that there is more space available in view of the re-formation of the beach in Sinquerim and Candolim stretches following the removal of the River Princess.

In addition, the association has suggested that shack sizes should be uniform all over the beach belt and should be at least 10 x15mtrs, as the current 6 x 12 mtrs shack size is too small to carry out business.

Salvador Lobo,Vice president of Traditional Goa Shack Owners adds that the association will also meet Tourism minister and Chief Minister to discuss these issues and provide other relevant information which would help them formulate a just and logical policy for all the concerned people involved in the business. [H]