07 Jan 2018 06:00am IST
On New Year’s Eve much before midnight, most people heading towards the beach at Benaulim and Sernabatim were left celebrating New Year in the car or metres away from the beach as it was inaccessible all the way from Maria Hall, almost a km away because of lack of parking space and no police to man parking on the coastal belt.
“Fisheries Department is allotted land at Benaulim beach which nobody is allowed to use and is lying unutilised. The fishermen take their nets to Dando grounds to lay them and dry them and the fisheries land could have used for parking or at least for the fishermen while the panchayat could clear the sheds and gaddas in the current parking space but no initiative is taken to boost tourism along the coastal belt,” complains Salvador Fernandes who says how his shack business is suffering since people don’t venture to the beach as there’s no parking space.
While Joseph Dsouza who supplies desserts and pastries to shacks around Colva and Benaulim explains that a lot of Indians ventured into Goa for the music fests like Sunburn and Supersonic and then headed towards South Goa to spend the rest of their days but the lack of any music fests has also slowed down tourism.
But Banalkar’s are completely irked by the tourists coming in vans and coaches and cooking along the small beelines of their village and leaving behind bottles, garbage and empty plastic plates and glasses. The worst part is neither the panchayat nor the police crack down on these cheap tourists.
“I think tourism needs strict rules and a framework in place. Drinking on beaches is banned but foreign tourists take whiskey and rum bottles on the beach and drink openly. This affects the clientele of the shack owners. There are illegal tour operators who run private buses with foreign nationals as tour guides, taxi operators who charge Rs 200 per km to commute within Benaulim for a distance of two kms and all this hurts the industry. We’re poor people who run a bread and breakfast place in Sernabatim but there is hardly any tourist this season,” explains Joseph Dias.
Restaurant owners also complained of the sound restriction and how they’re forced to shut shop at 11pm as people leave because theirs is no sort of entertainment. Locals are unhappy that the law is not repealed.