Private shack operators across the state have expressed their strong opposition to the government’s proposed fee structure, the economic crisis that has unfolded due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent reduction in tourist footfalls in the state.
The state government, through the Tourism department, had released draft rules and the shack owners have demanded that the government roll back the new proposed fee structures. They termed it ‘illogical, arbitrary, discriminatory and improper’.
The All Goa Private Shack/Hut Owners Association has written to the state government, expressing their displeasure as their previous representations to the government have yielded no proper logical results.
In the letter to the CM, they said, “With a deep sense of anguish, we are constrained to once again approach you to place on record our disappointment in the manner in which our concerns and earlier representations have been ignored and brushed aside, despite firm assurances.”
They have said that the government must show ‘empathy and sensitivity’ in the current situation, and if at all the government plans to revise the fee structures, it should be done during the next tourism season.
According to the organization, hotels, which are classified into categories, do not pay any deposit, while shacks, which are temporary, have to pay a registration fee of Rs25,000 for a 18x8m area. Dharmesh Saglani, President of the association said that this was very unfair.
Furthermore, the temporary shacks and huts cannot compete with hotels due to monetary issues, and the charges levied on hotels is far less.
The association in its letter has suggested reducing the fee to Rs10,000 per cluster of shacks, huts and tents for each registration.
The current pandemic has put the tourism sector complete off-track, and now, several shack owners have expressed their dissatisfaction with this move of the governments. Every year, Goa has around 400-500 temporary shacks erected every tourism season, which usually begins from October; however this year, everything remains uncertain due to the pandemic.