Panaji: A joint research conducted by the council for social justice and peace (CSJP) and Equations, a Bangalore-based NGO, with a focus on two coastal villages- Candolim and Agonda-found that though tourism has been promoted in Goa since 1984, the state still does not have a tourism policy.
The study's findings were revealed during a consultation on Monday organized by both the parties. Governance is being ignored and panchayats are content with raising revenue through taxes and issuing construction licenses. Though stress is laid on infrastructure upgradation, it is not in tune with the requirements of the village or potential growth in tourism, says the study. It points out that development in villages has been haphazard.
Though the study does not point fingers at anyone for the messy development in coastal villages, it cites allegations of gram sabha members and activists- who hold the nexus between village panchayat members, government departments and police responsible for the mess. Drug abuse, tourism promotion at the cost of the larger interest of the people, child exploitation, trafficking, unsolved garbage problem, traffic and parking problems, are the top issues plaguing the two villages, though social ill-effects of tourism are less evident in Agonda, as compared to Candolim, says the study. The situation is better in Agonda where the local community is aware and united.
The Church has also been able to play a greater role in influencing the community for sustainable development. Earmarking of entire Agonda beach as a turtle nesting site was possible due to the efforts of the Church which mobilized the community for environmental protection, observes the study. The situation was contrary in Candolim.
The study points out that efforts to address social issues are negligible and addresses the fallout of lack of regulation of resources. Inadequate regulation in transport, real estate and retail sectors has helped foreigners gain a hold on the businesses, affecting local people, especially in Candolim, says the study.
Allowing people to set up businesses in pedestrian areas, sub-letting shacks, issuing construction licences without amenities like garbage disposal and sewage are evidence of unregulated development in the coastal belt.