Malpractice by Bus Operators
EVEN as thousands of devotees are flocking to Old Goa for the exposition of the sacred relics of St Francis Xavier, private bus operators on the Mumbai-Pune-Goa route have seized the opportunity to make a fast buck by overcharging passengers without qualms of conscience. At present the demand for a bus ticket to Goa is any one’s guess, as there is no fixed rate which ranges from Rs 800 for non-AC buses to Rs 1500-2000 for AC buses (single fare). This is criminal exploitation of the public, considering that the normal fares during the year are half the present charges during non-seasonal months. It appears that bus operators are given a freehand to hike bus fares as and when they feel, especially during Ganesh, Diwali, Christmas and New Year festivals, and whenever schools close for their vacations. This is daylight robbery, and it is time the RTO starts acting fast to stop this malpractice and the heavy burden on the common man who can ill-afford air travel, and has to depend on buses as the only mode of transport.
A F NAZARETH, Alto Porvorim
Rein in Water Sports Activities
TOURISM Minister Dilip Parulekar likes to travel all over the world in the name of promoting tourism in the state. He is so busy traveling at the cost of taxpayers’ money that his actual duty of seeing day-to-day affairs of his department has taken backseat. If one looks at water sports activities at Calangute one would accuse the tourism department of negligence. The department has not yet learnt a lesson from the boat tragedy in South Goa. It seems the beach belt of Goa is divided among various water sports operators, who pay scant regards to safety norms. Previously certain expanses of the sea were marked for water sports activities, but now there is no limit for them. In the years gone by, Goans used to throng to the sea to enjoy fresh air or the pleasant sea breeze. However, nowadays, when you walk on the beach the first thing that hit you is the nauseating toxic fumes given out by jet skis plying unchecked in the sea. It will be in the fitness of thing if the Tourism Minister brings some order in these activities instead of jumping on foreign jaunts at the drop of a hat.
VALENT MASCARENHAS, Calangute
Bad Roads Cry for Attention
The Miramar Dona Paula road was by and large in a good condition until it was dug up for some strange reasons; one of them being the proposed concretisation of the road. If I am not mistaken concretisation of roads has failed in many places where it has been tried. Some states have been exploring newer composite materials and technologies in partnership with institutions such as IITs. Almost a year later the work remains incomplete at Dona Paula, causing tremendous inconveniences to road users and residents of the area. On the other hand, several bad roads at different places like Taleigao, Raia, Zuari bridge approaches, or the road from Pilar to Old Goa via Neura, which are in urgent need of repairs, fail to attract the attention of the concerned authorities. Unfortunately, in our democratic setup, there is no mechanism or forum for citizens and taxpayers to seek a scientific and logical explanation from decision-makers and authorities. Why good roads are being dug up while bad roads continue to deteriorate without being repaired? Citizens must demand reliefs, if need be, by approaching the judiciary.
ROZARIO MENEZES, Vasco
Have a Relook at Tourism Priorities
Invariably, towards every year-end, Goa is blessed with a unique opportunity to showcase its tourism potential to the maximum. The X’mas and the New-Year festivities are events to look forward to which attracts crowds in hoards from different parts of the world. In fact this particular season is compared to some of the world’s best-known periods of gaiety where the influx of tourists is so tremendous that the authorities are their wits’ end managing the mad rush of visitors to their country. Now with the formal declaration of Goa as the permanent venue for the prestigious annual IFFI, the state has assured itself that it would be wearing a festival-look right through the end of the year much to the delight of the locals. Incidentally, with the decennial Exposition of the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier scheduled from November 22, this year, Goa would once again be throwing its doors open to global pilgrimage, where millions of devotees would throng the holy site to venerate Goencho Saib. With mining, the backbone of the state’s economy down in doldrums, and a serious cause of concern for all dependents, there should have been all-out efforts by the administration to prop up tourism as an immediate lifeline. In spite of various shortcomings, Goa continues to be touted as a global tourism destination. And with the series of back-to-back socio-cultural and religious activities that will see millions teeming to Goa, the state government should have been whole-heartedly promoting the state as ‘the happening place’ with various innovations thrown in to arouse the interest of visitors. Please spare us the discourses on the offshore casinos that proliferate the state on being novelties! Save for the seasonal foreign charters and the arrival of an occasional cruise liner, what do we have to show for high-end tourism in the state? If there is a political will, there abound ample opportunities to endorse even ordinary events in the state as tourism attractions. But the total disregard for tapping the natural resources to attract vacationers has never featured in our list of priorities. Even those places which once held the pride of place in the state’s tourism itinerary lie wasted today, with total negligence characterizing the attitude of the state’s tourism department.
PACHU MENON, MARGAO