Coastal stretch in pathetic state, not ready to host tourists: Calangute locals

CALANGUTE: Issues regarding poor infrastructure, drug and prostitution menace were the highlights of the special gram sabha of Calangute on Sunday.

Villagers pointed out that the basic infrastructure was in mess and no proper facilities were available for tourists even though the tourist season has almost set in. They said the whole coastal stretch from Baga to Sinquerim was still not in a condition to host the tourist season, citing that some beach stretches have witnessed sand erosion, the roads are in pathetic state, that facilities like toilets for tourists are not made available, besides the prevailing garbage problem.

It was pointed out that mobile toilet facilities were needed to be in place keeping in mind hordes of low-budget tourists visiting the coastal stretch, spending nights in their vehicles and cooking along the roadsides. It was also highlighted that mobile toilet facilities would curb the menace of open defecation by such tourists.

Further the issue of drugs and prostitution was raised and it was alleged that the police was not acting on these illegalities the way it is supposed to and that is why the village was getting a bad name.

Deputy sarpanch Joseph Sequeira said that in the past he had written to the DIG on this issue.

It was informed that the panchayat also had a meeting with hoteliers asking them to create awareness on flesh trade and other nefarious activities going on in Calangute.

A villager pointed out that the garbage from the beach was not being collected regularly while another villager raised the issue of electricity citing that ornamental lights installed at the Calangute beach by the tourism department were not functioning and that due to poor lighting the people faced a lot of inconvenience during immersion of Ganesh idols.

The deputy sarpanch said that garbage and sanitation awareness programme would be carried out in the village soon.

Sarpanch Anny Fernandes alleged that the government did not allow the panchayat to carry out development as regards the Tinto area and section 144 was imposed and the work was stopped.

Fernandes further alleged that the panchayat was also facing hurdles in installing a statue for which the panchayat has spent Rs 1.40 lakh.

At the gram sabha, there was also a suggestion to revive the old Shigmotsav and carnival parades  and other festivities.  Meanwhile, the panchayat held prize distribution of Ganesh decoration competition wherein prizes were given to Siddesh Tuenkar, Narayan Malbari and Vitu Kalangutkar for first three places respectively.