The shack owners have demanded the reinstatement of the old shack policy in force from 2013-23 for the upcoming tourist season while questioning the wisdom of the tourism officials to introduce a new policy without consulting them.
In a meeting with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday, the disgruntled shack owners, led by Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, urged for the return of the previous policy, which allocated 90 per cent of beach shacks to experienced operators and the remaining 10 per cent to newcomers without age restrictions.
The CM has asked the shack owners to identify three particularly ‘harsh clauses’ that needed amendment although stakeholders had numerous concerns about the policy, including higher security deposit and fines, etc.
President of the Goa Traditional Shack Owners Association Cruz Cardozo said that CM has assured to convene a meeting with all the concerned departments to address these issues. The meeting date has not been scheduled though.
In a bid to “encourage newcomers” in the business, the government’s 2023-26 policy relaxed the eligibility criteria for experience with 90 per cent shacks to be allotted to applicants having at least one year of experience running a shack and 10 per cent to those without experience. The age restriction limiting applicants between the ages of 18 and 60 years was lifted after the criticism.
Cardozo said that CM has agreed to maintain a no-age restriction for applicants, however, the stakeholders have a lot more issues to be resolved.
The Goan had first reported that the shack operators aka ambassadors of Goa tourism have criticised the new policy and among numerous policy decisions, objections are raised against substantial changes such as an increase in security deposit to Rs 2 lakh, higher annual fee licenses across all shack categories, and a five-fold penalty increase for subletting shacks, etc.
The association members asserted that its members were not consulted on any of these decisions.