Tourists and locals will now have to pay $7 (Rs.500) as a cleanliness tax for taking pictures in Parra Village in India’s coastal state of Goa.
The “Cleanliness tax” or “photography tax” would be applied if people shoot video or take a photograph on the road of the village in this tourist destination.
However, the imposition of a new tax has faced severe opposition from locals who fear that the move might discourage tourists form visiting the iconic location.
The move by the local authorities of the village became moot after a video of tourists being charged in Parra Village went viral on social media. The video was recorded by Paul Fernandes, a local resident.
Speaking to Indian media agency ANI, Fernandes said he came to know about the new tax when his relatives were charged $7 (Rs. 500) by the Panchayat (local governing body). To pay Rs.500 for a photograph is seriously wrong, he opined.
He added that if the village continues charging tourists, the practice may soon spread to other villages also as there are many scenic places in Goa.
Former leader of the local government, Benedict D'Souza, said the local governing body has every right to charge people for commercial shoots, but imposing such taxes on tourists is wrong.
“This road has been featured in many Bollywood and international films. Many tourists come because of the scenic beauty here. It is wrong on the part of the Panchayat to charge, because it is a God-given beauty,” he said.
D'Souza added the Panchayat was harassing tourists in the guise of its "cleanliness tax", and that it can discourage tourists from visiting the village. “Both locals and the government earn revenue through the visit of tourists here,” he said.