While the Tourism Department has shown great vigour in demolishing illegal structures on its land at Calangute, it appears that the department does not carry the same resolve when it comes to clearing its land of the illegalities in Anjuna and Vagator.
The residents have alleged the department wakes up from its deep slumber once in a while and demolishes just a few structures as an eyewash, but till date most of the structures are still standing tall in the Tourism Department’s land at Anjuna and Vagator.
It may be recalled that two months back, the Tourism Minister, Mr Dilip Parulekar, who had visited Anjuna and Vagator beaches, had said that all encroachments existing on the Tourism Department’s land should go.
Mr Parulekar had also expressed his firm resolve to ensure that the Anjuna-Vagator stretch was kept clean so as to attract tourists, but till date all structures that have illegally flourished in the Tourism Department’s land are standing tall.
There is no basic infrastructure in place in Anjuna and Vagator; the department has also not shown any keenness in taking up constructive projects in its land here that could solve parking and other problems.
The Tourism Department’s land thus lying unused and unprotected has attracted people to set up shops, shacks and such other businesses.
A tourism official when contacted, speaking on a condition of anonymity, said that in a few cases, hearings, that were being conducted, were at different levels and as and when the orders were given only then the Tourism Department could act.
He, however, declined to comment when asked why the Tourism Department was not inspecting its land from time to time and not taking timely measures to evict any encroachers rather than allowing the situation to go out of hand and finally get stuck in the litigation.
On the other hand, the Anjuna panchayat members denied extending any support to anybody to undertake any activity in the Tourism Department’s land in Anjuna and Vagator.
Panch members who were contacted informed that if the land belonged to the Tourism Department then they should initiate action in keeping the land free of encroachers and they could even take up some useful and tourist-friendly projects in its land and added that a lot of tourism land was lying vacant and was being misused.
A senior panch member informed that unfortunately the Tourism Department did not know how to protect its land going by the fact that a lot of encroachments are existing with political support for the last many years and if the department really wanted to effectively use its land then it should not succumb to political pressure. [NT]