despite promises by Tourism Minister to crack a whip against them, ground reality unchanged

| JULY 25, 2019, 02:40 AM IST

the goan I network


Declared iconic by the Centre, the Colva beach is not living upto its brand image. Reason: the hordes of domestic tourists entering the beach area are welcomed by migrant women, who pester them to get tattoos done on their bodies.  

Whether Tourism Minister Babu Ajgaonkar’s men have turned a blind eye to these women or Home Minister Pramod Sawant’s men-in-uniform have preferred to look the other way, the migrant women rule supreme on the Colva beach day in and out.  

In the past, local media had drawn attention of the Tourism Minister of the harassment meted by these migrant women hawkers on the beach. No doubt, Ajgaonkar has promised stern action, including arrest of the hawkers and seizure of their goods, but in vain.  

When The Goan team visited Colva beach on Wednesday evening, they came across a group of migrant women hawkers right at the entrance to the beach at the culverts pestering customers to paint tattoos. 

And, some of them were seen following the visitors on the beach, not ready to leave them alone even after their offer of painting tattoos was spurned.  

Interestingly, assurances and promises by the Tourism Minister to crack a whip against the migrant hawkers have not changed the ground reality, leaving the local residents to wonder whether the government only pays lip service to the issue of hawking banned on the beach belt by the government.  

A local resident pointed out that the migrant hawkers station themselves either around the coconut grove or right at the entrance to the beach. “They start their day early morning since Colva plays host to hundreds of tourists early mornings. And, they are found loitering on the beach till the last tourist bus leaves the beach,” a local resident informed, saying the migrants are further emboldened to carry out their illegal activities in the absence of tourism officials or the men-in-uniform.  

In the past, especially during the tourism season, the Colva police used to round up the migrant hawkers for meting out harassment to foreign tourists and confiscate their goods. Neither the men-in-uniform nor the tourism officials are seen around the beach during the monsoons even though desi tourists throng the world-famous beach, with the number of visitors only showing a rise with each passing year.  

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