Strict action would be taken against water sports operators working illegally: Khaunte 

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Panaji: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Tuesday warned strict action against the water sports operators operating illegally in the state, risking the lives of the tourists.

Khaunte was reacting to the incident of Sunday in which a boat carrying 24 tourists and two crew members was stranded mid-waters due to fuel exhaustion and rough weather. The Indian Coast Guard had to rescue the passengers and crew members.

Police have arrested owner of the boat and a operator for endangering human lives.

The tourism minister said that many of the sports operators operate without taking No objection certificate from his department, which is mandatory. He also alleged that former Captain of Ports official had given permissions for the water sports to operate in absence of the NOC from the tourism department.

Khaunte said that the water sports operators have flooded the shorelines without leaving any space for the tourists to walk on the beach. He said that the water sports needs to be regulated by authorities.

Referring to the incident on Sunday, the tourism minister questioned who would have been held responsible if the boat had to capsize with all the tourists on it. “Should we have held former Captain of ports responsible?,” he questioned.

The minister said that he would be taking up the issue with chief minister Pramod Sawant. “We are warning all the water sports operators working without proper permissions to stop their activities or else they will have to face the worst ever action,” he said.

Khaunte also said that he would be calling for a meeting of all the Water Sports Associations to get data from them to get the clear picture of illegalities on the beaches.

He also said that the government will audit the beach carrying capacity through expert agency, which will help while giving NOCs for the next tourist season.

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