Budget’s Goa jubilee package evokes mixed reactionFebruary 27th, 2010 - 12:02 am ICT by IANS
Panaji, Feb 26 (IANS) The state tourism industry has welcomed the Rs.200 crore jubilee package to Goa in the 2010-11 union budget for preserving the natural greenery of the state and its beaches. Green activists, however, have termed as “utter nonsense” the central government concern to make Goa green.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Ralph de Souza told IANS that the allocation of funds for restoring Goa’s beaches was a case of better late than never.
“We, the tourism industry, have been demanding this for a long time now. There is also an extremely urgent need to restore our beaches, which are being affected by sand erosion,” de Souza said.
Scientific studies have shown that nearly 10 per cent of Goa’s 105-km long coastline is reeling under the threat of sand erosion.
Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) president Cesar Menezes said that along with the boost for Goa’s beaches and forests, the central government should have initiated a process for utilising the frozen land resources, which were acquired for special economic zones (SEZ) in the state.
“The state SEZ policy has been revoked. But the land, which is presently frozen, could still be put to industrial use. There is already pressure on the land resources of Goa,” Menezes said.
Green activist Sebastian Rodrigues, who has in the past led several anti-mining campaigns in the state’s hinterland, has called the central government efforts to preserve the greenery of Goa as “utter nonsense”.
“On the one hand, successive central ministers before present Envionment Minister Jairam Ramesh allowed unbridled mining concession and virtually ravaged the state’s forest cover. And now they are giving us the money to go green again. This is ridiculous,” he said.
Sebastian, who is facing a Rs.500 crore criminal defamation suit filed by a leading mining company, said the best way to ensure Goa preserved its greenery was by stopping mining in the state. “That will give us all the green cover we need. And cheap,” Sebastian said.
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Tags: chamber of commerce and industry, criminal defamation, defamation suit, economic zones, forest cover, gcci, government concern, government efforts, green travel, land resources, menezes, natural greenery, president ralph, rs 200, sand erosion, sebastian rodrigues, state tourism industry, tourism association, union budget, utter nonsense