Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte on Monday told the Goa Legislative Assembly that the government wanted to promote locals in water sports business and there were no plans to privatise water sports activities, as was rumoured in certain quarters.
Khaunte also said that the presence of touts was the biggest headache and the government wanted to bring discipline in the business with the use of technology.
“We want to encourage and promote the locals to run the water sports activity but in the right manner. Goa Electronic Limited (GEL) is a state owned subsidiary which is overlooking the activity only to ensure discipline and put technology to good use,” Khaunte said.
“Some of our own people are saying that we are privatising it, which is not right,” he added.
The Tourism Minister was responding to a query raised by Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas about concerns among the water sports operators who are being forcibly asked to follow a queue system sponsored by GEL.
Khaunte said that the tourism department wanted to eliminate the presence of touts which brought bad name to the tourism industry.
“During a surprise visit to the Calangute beach, I found a para-sailing operator charging a tourist Rs 3,000 when the actual rate was Rs 800. The particular operator was immediately suspended from the job,” he said.
He further informed that there was a deliberate campaign to misguide people that the government was planning to privatise the water sports activity.
“Let us stop this rumour mongering. Let’s not misguide people. My only appeal to coastal MLAs is, let us sit, discuss and find a solution to the issue,” he said.
Earlier, the Benaulim MLA raised the issue of introducing a queue system through the GEL to water sports operators.
He appealed to the government not to use GEL to digitally monitor the water sports activity and allow the old queue system adopted by the operators.
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