"The beaches should be clean and there should not be any illegality on them. We have also stopped people drinking on the beaches. We will not mind arrested them, if required," said Manohar Ajgaonkar, the state's tourism minister in response to a question asked by Goa legislator Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco. "We will be amending the Tourist Trade Act, giving more powers… I have asked the tourist guards to be on the vigil against the sale of drugs. No one will be allowed to take law into their hands," he added.
The tourism minister also confirmed that police have previously taken disciplinary action against tourists found drinking on the beaches. In May, police in Goa were asked to arrest people drinking at beaches and in other public locations after citizens complained about public drinking at a meeting held in Calangute earlier that month.
In response to another question, chief minister Manohar Parrikar said that the state had refused to pull out of the contract with Drishti Lifesaving Private Ltd., the lifeguard agency that oversees the beaches. "The state government used to run lifeguard services in the past. But since the government could not run it in a satisfactory manner, it was outsourced to a private firm," said Parrikar. "So many lives have been saved by the lifeguards, who are attached to this agency. We need to save lives of people so that tourism thrives."
During the last five years, the Mumbai-based lifeguard firm, which is made up of 677 lifeguards, 83 percent of whom are Goans, has saved a total of 3,033 lives. Opposition legislators Jennifer Monserratte and Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco retorted by claiming that since the majority of lifeguards are Goans, the lifeguard services should be manned by a state-level company instead.
Ajgaonkar's response was simple: "If Goans are available to take over this contract, then they can come ahead. Let them participate in tendering process to win the contract."