Small incidents tarnish Goa | india | Hindustan Times
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Small incidents tarnish Goa

Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat of the Congress described the spate of rapes and murders in his state over the past year as small incidents common to many popular tourist destinations.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2010 01:27 IST
Shalini Singh

Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat of the Congress described the spate of rapes and murders in his state over the past year as small incidents common to many popular tourist destinations. He spoke to HT about his plans to provide safe, healthy and sustainable tourism. Excerpts:

Goa’s image has taken a battering because of crimes related to sex and drugs…
In any country where tourism has flourished, other things have also entered — whether it’s drugs or prostitution. Each country has to take precautions. In Goa, every year we get 25 lakh tourists, of whom 4 lakh are foreigners. There are good tourists who are confident about coming to Goa. Small incidents like these give the state a bad name. The policy is to provide healthy, sustainable tourism, where people feel safe and secure.

Does Goa need an image makeover?
Goa is an important world tourist destination. We don’t need to sell or market the state.

What role do casinos play in the state’s tourism plan?
The problem is there are many casinos along the Mandovi River. I say move them away so people won’t have an issue.

Your mining policy has also come under fire…
There must be a balance between mining and environment, with minimum damage to the latter. We are finalising a mining policy, which will spell it all out. (For the) next few years, there will be no new leases (for mining projects). The government has appointed a monitoring committee, which is visiting areas.

Why are so many village groups protesting land development?
Land development under the Regional Plan 2021 is under finalisation. We have articulated it to all panchayats, kept the plan open and received suggestions. (Development in) eco-sensitive areas such as forests, mangroves and cultivated land will not be permitted.