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Goa Forward President, Vijai Sardesai, Demands Transparent and Inclusive Approach in Drafting Shack Policy to Uphold Traditional Stakeholders’ Interests



Panaji: Today, Goa Forward President Vijai Sardesai addressed the concerns raised by the Shack Owners’ Association regarding the draft Shack Policy during a crucial meeting. The association, representing traditional stakeholders from Goa’s fishing community, expressed their dissatisfaction with the Goa Tourism Department’s approach to policy formulation, which they believe overlooks their valuable input.

Sardesai emphasized the significance of traditional beach shacks in shaping Goa’s image as a premier tourist destination, highlighting the pivotal role played by shack owners in this regard. He firmly believes in the principle of Development by Consent, advocating for constructive engagement with stakeholders and the incorporation of their suggestions into policy decisions.

He criticized the government’s unilateral approach to drafting the shack policy, which excluded shack owners from the process and lacked transparency. Sardesai stressed that collaboration and meaningful consultation with affected stakeholders are essential.

Sardesai conveyed the concerns of the Shack Owners Association to the Chief Minister and pledged to follow up on these issues upon the Chief Minister’s return to Goa. He outlined his demands as follows:

  1. Participatory Stakeholder Engagement: Sardesai called for active involvement of stakeholders in the policy-making process to avoid opposition at every step.
  2. Age Limit Criterion: He criticized the imposition of an age limit for shack license eligibility, arguing that it is unjust and unconstitutional. Sardesai advocated for abolishing this restriction to allow native Goans the freedom to continue their livelihoods in the industry, even beyond the age of 60. He also suggested supporting the children of traditional shack operators to ensure the continuity of the business.
  3. Dilution of the 90:10 Ratio: Sardesai expressed concern about the proposed modification of the 90:10 ratio, which could disadvantage traditional Goan shack operators. He demanded clarity from the tourism department on this issue and urged a return to the original definition of existing operators.
  4. Shack Operators for Coastal Residents: Sardesai insisted that beach shacks should primarily be operated by individuals residing along the coastline. He emphasized the government’s moral obligation not to exclude native coastal Goans who transitioned from fishing to tourism as the industry developed.

Sardesai announced his intention to write a formal letter to the Chief Minister, urging a more transparent and inclusive policy-making process in the tourism sector. He stressed the importance of considering the interests of traditional stakeholders to advance Goa’s tourism industry.