We didn’t need the CAG to tell us that Tourism department has not met CAG standards. We all know how ineffective the tourism department is and has been. They want more tourists and have no intentions to doing their required bit.
The tourism ministry has been tom-tomming about increased tourist inflow but it failed to impress the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India.
The CAG has hauled up the tourism ministry for slackening off beach cleanliness, safety of tourists, as well as for bad planning. The CAG report for the year ending March 2015, was tabled in the assembly on Thursday.
“The follow-up audit of promotion of tourism in Goa shows that some action has been initiated by the department for implanting recommendations related to construction of sewerage and solid waste management projects and the commencement of tourism projects. The department is yet to implement recommendations regarding introduction of a new tourism policy. Cleanliness and amenities for tourists are still lacking,” the CAG report stated.
Picking on tourism authorities for not binding safeguards into multi-crore contracts awarded to beach cleaning contractors, the report said that performance was below par.
“We observed that the beach cleaning works by the contractors was unsatisfactory due to non-deployment of adequate manpower, non-placing of adequate dust bins and non-removal of garbage,” the report said.
The report stated that the ministry has not placed importance on the safety of around four million tourists who visit the state every year. Only 92 policemen of the India Reserve Battalian (IRB) were deployed at tourists placesand no action was initiated to create additional 500 posts required while the tourist security force continues to be under-staffed with the effective strength of only 14 wardens.
Safety apart, the CAG pointed out to a lack of promised facilities like parking lots, changing rooms and toilets on Goa’s beaches. , which account for most of the tourism footfalls.
“Except for the construction of a parking lot at Baga and toilets and changing rooms in Calangute, there were no changes in the infrastructure facilities like parking, toilets, changing rooms, access roads, etc” the report said.
“Seven beaches of 13 verified by the audit team along with department personnel did not have identified parking lots, eight did not have toilets and 12 were without changing rooms,” the report further says.
“Only five vehicles out of 12 were available were being utilised for patrolling,”the report said.