Goa: Will Khaunte restore pristine glory of Colva?

Khaunte’s visit was specifically related to sea erosion witnessed at Colva, which further threatens to erode large parts of the beach belt.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Tuesday, July 05, 2022, 12:45 PM IST
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Goa: Will Khaunte restore pristine glory of Colva? |

Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte’s weekend visit to the world-famous Colva beach has thrown up a simple question – will the new Tourism Minister walk the talk and restore Colva to its pristine glory?

Khaunte’s visit was specifically related to sea erosion witnessed at Colva, which further threatens to erode large parts of the beach belt. He even promised to put a beach development plan in place within a year to make Colva an iconic beach and the most preferred tourist destination.

He, however, was flooded with a host of issues, be it the illegal migrant hawkers, discharge of sewage into the Colva creek, the non-functioning lamps, the strays menace, uncleared garbage from the beach square et al.

While Tourism Director Nikhil Desai noted down the grievances of the stakeholders, including local MLA Venzy Viegas, Khaunte has a task cut out -- to walk the talk and bring about a turnaround and resolve the issue plaguing the world-famous beach.

Sewage discharge

The Tourism Minister reminded that restaurant and hotel owners are responsible for taking care of the sewage generated in their establishments. He, however, agreed to extend a helping hand to the owners if that helps to put an end to the sewage discharge in Colva creek and the contamination of the waters. As a purely temporary measure, Benaulim MLA Venzy suggested to the Tourism Minister to get the operator of the STP installed at the beach to accept the sewage generated by the restaurants. The operator has agreed, in principle, to accept the sewage on the condition that only washroom water will be accepted by the STP.

Migrant hawkers menace

When a group of migrant hawkers were spotted around on the beach, the Tourism Minister said he felt ashamed that the illegal hawkers were moving freely when hawkers and touts are barred from doing business on the beach belt. Locals pointed out that Khaunte’s predecessor Manohar Ajgaonkar too had issued repeated warnings to the hawkers and touts, but the fiat hardly had any impact on the ground.

“We only hope that the Tourism Minister walk the talk and get the Tourism police to crack a whip against the illegal hawkers,” remarked a resident.

Beach illumination

When the Tourism Minister’s attention was drawn to the illumination lamp poles sans lamps, Khaunte questioned his Tourism Director Nikhil Desai to explain the state of affairs. Someone sought to explain to him by replying that the lamps have all fallen after being hit by strong winds. Earlier, local MLA Venzy had alleged substandard works by the contractor. While Khaunte was not averse to ordering a probe into the beautification works executed at Colva beach, locals wondered whether the Minister would walk the talk and fix responsibility.

Stray cattle and dogs

When the Tourism Minister with Director Nikhil and others were on the beach to take stock of the sea erosion, strays made their presence felt right at the entrance, as if they were welcoming hordes of visitors to the beach.

While Khaunte made no mention of the strays as he promised to bring about a turnaround in the amenities, the issue of strays plaguing the Colva beach remains unresolved.

Culverts under strain

The two culverts that facilitate visitors to the Colva beach have come under strain. Khaunte had a close look at the crater on one of the culverts. The railings of the culvert have also given way. The moot question, however, remains unanswered – what had prevented the Tourism department to get the line departments to repair the culverts, more so when thousands of visitors walk over them to make it to the beach every day.

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