Are fears towards proposed Jetty Policy true?

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Panaji: While fears linking Jetty Policy to the coal transport are being used to fuel the protests, the State Tourism Department has said that the policy is only for the tourism purpose.

 

The jetties, which are currently managed by Tourism Department, have become den of illegalities. These places are designed to become major tourist attraction specially with themed cruises giving experience of lifetime for the middle-class tourists. But the actual experience, sometimes, is horrifying.

 

The touts running their rackets, mismanagement on the jetties are order of the day. Tourism Department has clarified that the Jetty Policy, mainly, aims to correct these malpractices.

 

Tourism department has said “Themed Cruises including evening Boat cruises are one of the popular tourism related activities in the State, which are conducted using existing tourism jetties in the State such as Santa Monica Jetty (at Panaji), COP Jetty in Mandovi river (at Panaji), Britona Jetty, Betim Jetty and Old Goa Jetty. As on date, there are several issues in conducting tourism activities from these existing jetties, which are summarized as follows –  Promotion of illegal tout culture and cash sales leading to revenue leakages to State exchequer; Non-uniform ticket pricing for similar types of tourism related activities; Lack of basic amenities to the visitors like toilets, seating arrangement, waiting rooms, etc. which often leave them with bad experience; Lack of safety and surveillance on jetties for visitor protection like safety railings, frisking, CCTV cameras etc; Complaints from tourists regarding cheating and fleecing and poor service by some operators.”

 

Equating Jetty Policy to the promotion of Coal Trade seems to be a trigger for the protests around this policy. With no proper backing to the statements, some of the activists, have been raising the issue, trying to gather people under a banner.

 

 

While policy is currently under draft stage, the citizens can give suggestions and objections to it but the demands are that it should be entirely scrapped. Tweaking of the policy to ensure that all the apprehensions raised by the activists is addressed is a via-media solution to end this issue.

 

Largely, scrapping of entire policy, means going through the same procedure that was adopted by Jetty Management Committee. The positive side of the entire episode is that the State government has expressed its intensions to correct the wrong doings at the jetties.

 

Doubting intensions of the state government would mean that no such policy would be allowed in the future.

 

Tourism department has amply clarified that the Policy excludes fishing or coal handling etc. that do not cater to tourism and leisure segments.  The Policy does not envisage construction of any new Jetties nor does it extend any permission for construction of the same. Captain of Ports will remain the licensing Authority for construction of any new jetties in the state in future too.

 

As the scope of policy covers only tourism activities conducted from existing jetties and doesn’t deal approval for construction of jetty or introduction of any tourism activities, this policy, which is for the purposes of regulating the activities only, does not require prior environmental clearance.

 

The Jetty Management Committee (JMC), with COP as one of its members, via Jetty policy does not issue any permission for construction of any jetty on rivers and khazans of Goa. It only acts as an advisory body for evaluating the carrying capacity of a river, either by itself or through competent entities.

 

 

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