Dr Kamat rejects Miramar project

| 07 February 2002 22:07 IST

In a major blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Goa, the one-man commission headed by environmentalist Dr Nandkumar Kamat has totally rejected the pilot project of Miramar beach management privatisation in Panaji.

This was to follow further privatisation, on the same lines, of two other famous Goan beaches – Calangute in North Goa and Colva in South Goa – visited by millions tourists from all over the world.

As per the government plans, major portion of the Miramar beach was to be leased out to a private party to provide infrastructure and recreational facilities to the public. Many scientists belonging to the National Institute of Oceanography as well as several other NGOs and individuals had strongly objected to the project.

While rejecting the privatisation project or its further modification totally due to strong public views and fundamental flaws in the plan itself, Dr Kamat in his 300-page report has also stated that it would clear the way for better policy making and save other such projects on the drawing boards from getting into controversies.

Incidentally, chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who was strong proponent of the pilot project of Miramar, also represents the Panaji constituency. Sensing the public mood, he had lost interest in the project, stating that the local opposing NGOs will have to now take responsibility of saving the Miramar beach.

Stating that the government project only focussed on the techno-financial aspects and profit interests of the private party, Dr Kamat has drawn attention to other profound dimensions like spiritual, psychological, aesthetic, environmental, cultural, economic and educational, involved in beach beautification project.

The one-man commission has however also proposed ten-point action plan as a remedy to save Goan beaches from getting destroyed. It includes formulating state policy on privatisation and infrastructure development on the lines of Malaysia, enacting infrastructure development act on the lines of Gujarat and also the beach management act.

"Rejection of the report does not mean that the work for planning sustainable scientific management of the beach with the participation of local authorities and beneficiaries is over. It would begin the moment the government accepts the report", observes Dr Kamat.

Though Goa survives on beach tourism, its over-utilisation has also created several problems including dirty beaches, overcrowding, concrete constructions coming up along the beachline and total mismanagement by the concerned government authorities.

In fact, decent eco-friendly foreign tourists have been shying away from Goan beaches nowadays due to all kind of nuisance, affecting the tourism industry, on which survives more than half of Goa’s coastal population.

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