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PM to visit Goa amid quit state call to tourists

The anti-SEZ groups brush off possibilty of any stir during Manmohan's visit, saying they seek to discuss issue with him.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2007 00:34 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Goa on Thursday for a two-day visit in the shadow of a campaign by anti-SEZ activists who have asked tourists to leave the state by Friday.

The anti-SEZ groups however said on Wednesday there would not be any stir during Singh's visit. "We have sought appointment with the Prime Minister to discuss SEZ issue... We are waiting for the reply," Goa's Movement Against SEZs(GMAS) organising secretary Siddhanath Buyao told PTI this evening.

(GMAS) has already asked the tourists to leave the state by December 28 warning the protests may take an ugly turn. This has been met with a tough response from the state government which has filed a criminal case against GMAS convenor Mathany Saldanha for his appeal.

The call by the group has triggered fears in the tourism industry in Goa of a huge loss of revenue due to panic cancellations from domestic and foreign tourists especially when New Year festivities are round the corner.

"I have been receiving frantic calls from hotel owners who complain that tourists are avoiding Goa this New Year", said Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industries Vice President Manguirish Pai Raikar.

Chief Minister Digamber Kamat said there is nothing to worry and that the state has already summoned three companies of para-military forces(about 300 personnel) who will be assisting the 6,000-strong police force in the state.

Leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar appealed to the tourists to cooperate with anti-SEZ activists. Taking no chance, the state police force has increased security in and around Panaji city with policemen being posted at every nook and corner of the capital which is full with tourists, DGP BS Brar said. "There is absolutely no worry to come to Goa," tourism minister Fransisco Pacheco said.