PORVORIM; Marred with controversy over the involvement of GEL in running water sports counters, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte said that the tourism department will run the counters and let the concerned associations handle the operations of the activities.
He said that the Tourism dept will not interfere in the rates fixed by the Association but will act seriously if it comes across touts. He said that GEL IS a govt corporation which is helping the dept to develop the software.
The issue was raised by Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai, who questioned whether GEL runs the tourism department. He sought to know whether GEL has tourism expertise to handle its related activities, including watersports.
“GEL is providing services not only Tourist department but another department also. The queue system is introduced in Water Sports due to the HC order,” said Khaunte.He also ridiculed Vijai Sardesai’s allegations that GEL is a tout.
“We need to join the list of the states which offer its services online. The state’s people should have a good experience. 27 states have already taken their services online,” said Khaunte.
Some persons with vested interests were spreading rumours about such activities being privatised.
Touts were cheating tourists by overcharging them for water sports activities, and it was important to regulate the trade, he said.
“Goa Electronics Limited (GEL) has been assigned the task of introducing the online system in the trade. The water sports rate will be decided by respective associations, while GEL will charge Rs 50 per customer. GEL will run the counters and will provide the necessary technical support,” he told the House.
He further informed that there was a deliberate campaign to misguide people that the government was planning to privatise the water sports activity.
“Let us stop this rumour-mongering. Let’s not misguide people. My only appeal to coastal MLAs is, let us sit, discuss and find a solution to the issue,” he said.
Khaunte also said that Goa Tourism Board’s first meeting was held in 2021 and empowered committees were formed, and meetings have started taking place.
“Post-COVID things have started moving in different directions; the tourists want different experiences,’ he added.