"The beaches should be clean and there should not be any illegality on them. We have also stopped people drinking on the beaches. We will not mind arresting them, if required," state tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar told the House.
The minister said that the police have already booked few cases in the past against the tourists caught drinking on the beaches. "We will be amending the Tourist Trade Act, giving more powers...I have asked the tourist guards to be on the vigil against the sale of drugs. No one will be allowed to take law into their hands," he said.
Mr Ajgaonkar was responding to a question tabled by Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco.
In May this year, police in the tourist state had asked its personnel to arrest people, found drinking in public places, including beaches. At a meeting held in Calangute that month, citizens had complained about drinking on beaches as well other public places and no action being taken against them.
Meanwhile, replying to another question, the state today refused to withdraw the contract signed with the lifeguard agency to man the beaches, claiming that the government could not run such services. "The state government used to run lifeguard services in the past. But since the government could not run it in a satisfactory manner, it was outsourced to a private firm," Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said.
Responding to the demand made by the opposition benches, the Chief Minister ruled out that the government end the services of the private agency.
Mr Ajgaonkar said that total 3,033 lives were saved during the last five years by the agency, which has 677 lifeguards on its roll of which 83 per cent are Goans.