There is a common practice when the cops see the vehicles registered outside the Goa moving around in the state, it is invariably stopped on the pretext of checking the documents and from thereon the real harassment of the tourists begins. Despite many reports in the media nothing much had been done in the past which led to depriving Goa of tourists. But now it looks like the CM of Goa Mr Pramod Sawant has taken cognisance of the same and issued new guidelines to reduce the harassment of the tourists by the cops.
Once the vehicle from other enters Goa, the journey of harassment begins with the vehicles with non-Goa registered vehicles stopping at every nook and corner on the pretext of checking documents. Forget about the traffic police, but even the local police of every police station come out on the road in a search of such vehicles as if that is the only task left for the day.
In the bargain, Tourists coming from the neighbouring states has to face the unnecessary harassments. Now to overcome that, Chief Minister of Goa ordered Goa Police to stick a sticker on each vehicle that passes from Goa border after verifying the required documents so that the same vehicles allowed to move freely in the state.
According to the report published in the local daily Heraldo, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that tourists should not be harassed. Vehicles coming from other states should be checked at the border for documents and if cleared there will be sticker affixed on the car which will be an insurance against any further checks while the vehicle is in Goa.
However, this will not be applicable for the self-driven vehicles used by the tourists in the state. According to the report, the number of self-driven cars in all likelihood, cater to less than fifty per cent of the transport requirement of tourists.
Most of the budget tourists choose two-wheelers over the four-wheelers due to the cost-effectiveness, and they are the major target of traffic police.
The report further says that due to political pressure the police is operating against one particular rent a bike/cab business in Calangute area which tourist is not aware of and when they pick up the bike or car from that particular vendor cops make sure to target them.
“In the ongoing tussle between tourist taxis and rent a cab, in Calangute, they managed to impress upon the local MLA about the so-called illegal cab business being conducted in the Calangute area. The tourists are not aware of the politics on the ground, and when they hire the taxis from the area they had to face the brunt of the police checking,” said the sources.
Although CM has issued the order of pasting the sticker on each car passing from the border of Goa how much that will become effective only time will tell. In the meanwhile coming back to the cars and bikes hired locally by the tourists does not come under the purview of stickers and that leaves wide gap open for the police to harras the tourists either to satisfy the local MLAs or filling their own pockets.
The videos of the harassment of tourists by the police are going viral on social media, especially from Calangute to Panjim and around Panjim circle. It is not uncommon to see touts and guides following tourist cars without a helmet. They are not fined but at every junction, tourists are harassed by cops especially the home Guards.
The question here is who are authorised to stop the vehicles for checking? Hawaldars, Constables or Home Guards? You must have seen the cops standing on the junction of the road, hiding in the corners, stopping cars, and bikes blocking the road access. Do they have the authority to do so?
There is no end to this and due to such mentality tourist inflow keeps reducing season by season and the same politicians cry on the policies that were never made to flourish the tourism in the state but many plans have been made to tarnish the image of Goa.