Asserting that Goan fishermen are responsible for introducing and promoting water sports in the State, water sports operators from South Goa on Saturday opposed tooth and nail Tourism department’s move to commission water sports single window counter through M/s Goa Electronics Limited (GEL).
Though the Tourism department had called only the water sports operators from Cavelossim village at the GEL office at the South Goa Collectorate building on Saturday, operators from across Salcete beach belt turned up at the Collectorate to say no to GEL in one voice.
Led by the president of South Goa water sports operators, Domingo Rodrigues, the water sports operators maintained they have already set up the water sports queue system along the beach belt and wondered what is the Tourism department trying to achieve by getting the operators registered with GEL. They also took exception to the letter sent by the Tourism officials to the operators to submit all details such as bank details, cancelled cheque and under sensitisation of the standard operating procedure.
Cavelossim-based water sports operator Roy Barretto and secretary of South Goa Water Sports Association, wondered what was the haste in calling the operators from Cavelossim to undergo the sensitisation programme at the GEL office at the district Collectorate. “We are not going to accept GEL. We will all fight. Water sports operations have been started and promoted by the traditional fishermen inhabiting the coastal belt. We see no reason why GEL is being involved in our activity. We are ready to carry out the operations as per the Tourism Trade Act, 1986,” he said, while disclosing plans to call on Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte to resolve the issue.
Roy pointed out that Tourism department cannot call for GST details, saying the matter falls in the domain of the commercial tax department. “Where was the Tourism department during the Covid-19 pandemic. The officials did not even bother to find out the fate of the operators and is now eying to displace us from the business,” he said.
Association President and Colva-based fisherman, Domingo Rodrigues said government had no idea of water sports when the fishermen inhabiting the coastal belt started the operations in the 90’s. Domingo added: “We fishermen had started water sports by taking the tourists for a ride on the country-made boats and then on the canoes. Today, we carry out the activity with fibre boats, but the government now wants to take over our business activity.”
Benaulim-based water sports operator Pele Fernandes reminded that 90 per cent of the 3,000 water sports operators are all fishermen and 100 per cent Goans. “We had recently called on Tourism Minister with a plea the activity run by Goans should not go to Delhi parties. He was kind enough in reassuring us that the government has no such plans. But, now the department has called the Cavelossim-based operators to register with GEL and to undergo training.”
Operators called for sensitisation on SOP
MARGAO: The Tourism department had called the Cavelossim-based water sports operators to the GEL office in the South Goa Collectorate to sensitise on the standard operating procedure in view of the commissioning of watersports single window counters at Cavelossim and Mobor Beach by M/s Goa Electronics Limited. A letter written by Tourism Deputy Director, Ganesh Teli informed that GEL will be commissioning the watersports single window counter at Mobor and Cavelossim beach stretch from December 12 in order to ensure smooth functioning of ‘Q’ system at Mobor & Cavelossim beaches.