Tuesday 28 Jun 2022

Letting bad behaviour go unpunished has led to Vagator incident

THE GOAN NETWORK | JUNE 19, 2022, 11:34 PM IST

Social media was flooded with images of a driver swivelling his car on the Vagator beach with gay abandon until his merrymaking was brought to an abrupt halt by the uneven surface of the beach which resulted in his car -- quite predictably -- getting stuck in the sand unable to be removed, which resulted in him being booked and arrested for his misdemeanour.

Until that point, the bunch of tourists, who we later learnt, hailed from Delhi and had hired a local private car -- that was illegally let out to the tourists -- were having what they thought was the perfect beach day with little care for anything else except but their own adrenaline levels.

That they were allowed to continue with their joyride until the car got stuck without any intervention from any government agency or the police, raises serious questions of the policing along Goa’s beaches.

Very recently the Goa government launched the Beach Vigil app in the State that was meant to be an instrument that would help report and ensure quick response by the necessary government agency to redress the violation.

In this case, nothing of the sort appears to have happened. No one reported the issue and even if they didn’t the police didn’t respond quickly enough to bring transgression to a halt allowing the tourists to endanger not just their own lives but also the lives of other beach goers as well as the precious fauna and seaside life that calls the beach home.

The days are long past when we could expect tourists to behave properly or in a manner that is respectful of the place they are visiting. From the beaches to the roads to our monuments there are scores of examples that locals notice day in and day out in which tourists are seen endangering their own lives and lives of those around them with egregiously bad behaviour and lack of civic sense.

From blatantly driving on the wrong site in the opposite direction and right into oncoming traffic after realising they have made a wrong turn, to abruptly stopping in the middle of the road, to making dangerous trips into the sea, clambering over rocks and sometimes falling and drowning, to being disrespectful of the monuments they visit, the list of transgressions by tourists is ever increasing and is often a point of friction between locals and tourists.

While little can be done to immediately change the attitude of the boorish tourist, the government really needs to get its act together when it comes to policing the beaches, the roads and other places frequented by tourists with specific instructions to the police to crack down on dangerous behaviour like the one we witnessed at the Vagator beach as well as dangerous behaviour on the roads, instead of cracking down on lesser violations, which might be easier to catch but do not pose as much of a threat to others.

The beach vigil app too threatens to be reduced to just a namesake endeavour that will grab headlines but be of little practical use if the government doesn’t make it effective and setting up the responding agencies to quickly respond to any violation that has been flagged on the beach.

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