With shack owners upset over the new shack policy, restricting individuals above the age of eighty from operating shacks, Goa's Tourism Department is having a re-think.
“There is no finality on the decision,” Director of Tourism, Sunil Kumar Anchipaka, told Gomantak Times Digital.
“I have been running a shack for long, and with the new policy, I will be out of business because I am over sixty, and there's no one in my family who is below sixty and capable of running a shack,” disclosed Anthony Fernandes who used to run a shack, called Café Roma.
Not in tune with the new shack policy, the Shack Owners Welfare Society has, in a memorandum to the government, suggested six changes. And, topping the list is the request to delete the clause on 'age of applicant.'
“We are going to meet the Director of Tourism tomorrow, and expect the government to consider our proposals,” stated President of the Shack Owners Welfare Society, Cruz Cardozo.
The other six points listed by the society are that ninety per cent of the shacks must be allotted to people with three years of experience, as was done during the last allotment, and just ten per cent should be allotted to people with one or two years of experience.
The memorandum that will be submitted to the government seeks clarity on unhygienic toilets and that the same should be clearly defined and that shacks should be allowed in Keri village.
“Those shack owners having POS machines should not be given other POS machines from the Department of Tourism. Shack owners want the government to retain the fees as prescribed in the previous policy,” he expressed.
For the past nine years, the government has been allotting shacks for a period of three years – it was one year previously – through a draw of lots.
“Seventeen shacks have been earmarked for Cavelossim beach and business is normally good. I had won the lot the last time, but did not put up my shack because we were just recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, and there was uncertainty,” stated Jack Rodrigues from Cavelossim.
“The restriction on age has shocked all of us. We thought experience comes with age, and if one thinks he is fit to work, why should he be stopped from earning a living ?” asked Cruz.
“I do not understand why the government wants to shift the goalpost all the time. There has to be some consistency in the policy. We can imagine some minor changes so as to be in tune with the times, but major changes should be avoided,” stated Dominic, who ran the Fat Willy's Beach Shack in South Goa.
Shacks, according to the proposed policy, are to be operational from September 1 till May 31 of the following year. The government has decided to geo tag all shacks.
Fees of ₹ 1,37,500 have been decided for ninety per cent of shacks which are to be allotted for those with experience, and ₹ 77,000 for newcomers.
The new policy stipulates that each shack must have portable toilets and that no shack can be sublet. Two speakers of 12.5 watts can be used by each shack till 10 pm.