Dr Kamat to hear public on beach issue

| 29 November 2001 22:11 IST

In order to have a totally transparent decision on privatisation of beach management in the state, the government has appointed one-man committee for a public hearing on the pilot project of Miramar beach in Panaji.

Following this, the state plans to privatise beach management of Goa’s famous beach stretch of Candolim-Calangute-Baga in the north and Colva beach in the south.

The tourist state thus plans to release the concept paper on beach management one week prior to the beginning of the hearing, based on which objections or suggestions could be filed. The state cabinet has already approved the paper.

Dr Nandkumar Kamat, a renowned environmentalist, has been appointed to hear the public till 29 December and submit a report to the government with recommendations.

"The committee can either endorse our plan, modify it or recommend us to scrap it"; states chief minister Manohar Parrikar, adding that he will comply by the decision of the committee.

Since it is the first time in the country any state has mooted the idea of privatising beach management, there is lots of hue and cry over the issue. Besides opposition parties, fishermen of Caranzalem, the village next to Miramar, have planned a morcha in the city.

"All of them will have a right to know the concept and then raise objections", states Parrikar. He flays fears that the whole beach will be handed over to the private party by stopping free access to the beach or prohibiting traditional fishing activity.

The entire stretch from Miramar to Dona Paula is around 3.5 kms. Parrikar, who is also the Panaji MLA, however has proposed to privatise only 1.5 kms of it, the stretch which is widely used by the tourists coming down to Goa.

Pending release of the concept paper, he informs that the private parties will manage only facilities like parking, toilets, changing rooms and vendors in the area, by charging either the public for the facilities or the vendors for selling products.

As Parrikar publicly disclosed the rough idea without making any elaboration in detail, even local newspapers have vehemently criticised the idea, expressing fears that Goa’s famous beachline may also now go in the hands of private parties.

Without legally allowing privatisation, several beach resorts in the state have already ‘privatised’ the beaches, prohibiting the general public to enter. Some of these resorts have also been advertising about private beach availability, to attract tourists.

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