Goa government has finally formulated a policy to keep a check on erring water sports operators on its coastline, following a contempt order by the Bombay high court.
The state Cabinet, which met yesterday evening, passed a 'policy for regulation of water sports in Goa', that makes it mandatory for operators of this tourism trade to shut down business by 6.30 PM or before sunset, whichever is earlier.
State chief minister Manohar Parrikar said the policy aims to have concrete and time-bound measures to regulate water sports activity in Goa, with immediate effect.
The tourism season has already begun in the state with the first chartered flight arriving on Monday.
The high court, after passing an interim order in May had directed the state government to regulate water sports.
The court had issued contempt notice on August 31 when the government failed to comply with the directions.
The water sports policy, which was approved by the state Cabinet on Wednesday, has a provision to allow the activity only at designated places and not scattered everywhere.
The tourism department, in coordination with the Captain of Ports department, will identify specific areas from where water sports operators will operate their equipment, as per the safety standards prescribed.
Government will also set up ticket kiosks which will dispense tickets and ensure collection of fees at one point.
"The kiosks will also double up as police counters and information points for the tourists," the policy mentions.
Any water sports operator, who is found to be violating the system or operating the water sports equipment in unauthorised area shall be treated as nuisance under The Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act, 2001, and the violators shall be prosecuted under section 10 of the Act, according to the policy.
It also ensures that the state government has absolute right over the water sports activities carried out over various water bodies within the jurisdiction of the state, including the inland waterway dam reservoirs, lakes, rivers, ponds and coastal waters.