Not only is Vijay Sardesai's statement on Indian tourists in poor taste,
his sense of timing is even more poor. I am just back from Delhi where
Haryana has emerged as the number one State in the Khelo India Games. What
an irony! Mr. Vijay Sardesai is a Minister now and he must act and speak
responsibly. Not make statements which can have detrimental effects on
Tourism which is a major Industry in Goa and so many people make their
livelihoods out of it. What exactly does he mean when he says Goa needs
only high-end tourists? That only the rich should come to Goa and the rest
should stay out? While the rich will cater mostly to the Five star hotel
lobby, it is the rest which will benefit the locals in the industry. Has
Mr. Vijay been elected by only the high-end citizens of Fatorda and not the
rest? Mr. Sardesai must not make statements which are demeaning to a
certain class of people. Goa needs tourists of both kinds. Many lakhs of
tourists come to Goa, which is a destination known for its good
hospitality. Not everybody behaves badly. Perhaps a miniscule percentage
will, but a majority of them don’t. But when a responsible Minister makes a
statement like this, it creates a general distrust between the locals and
the outsiders at large which is unfair. Remember the rickshawallas in
Mumbai being beaten up while the Government did its own deals with the
Ambanis in Mumbai? Whenever Indians travel abroad, they will always act
responsibly. They will not dare to throw litter on the streets of London or
Singapore. Why? Because they know they will be penalised severely. Spare
the rod and spoil the child. Mr. Sardesai is a powerful Cabinet Minister
and he together with his other colleagues are now collectively responsible
for giving us good administration. If some sections of the tourists are
behaving irresponsibly and do not demonstrate good civic sense, it is
because the administration is allowing them to. Why not haul up the Police
force to ensure there is better Policing on the beaches? Why not impose
hefty fines on those who litter our streets and beaches or cook in the
open? Making headline statements will not solve our problems. Now that this
issue has come to the forefront, Vijay must let his actions speak louder
than words. Ensure through good governance measures that Goa remains clean
and beautiful.


Sandeep Heble


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