So much has been going on in Goa this tourist season. And we’re not even referring to the hordes of tourists that landed in Goa between October and December. Or even the fact that many chose to camp on the streets and sidewalks of the state and use the area as their private toilets in the open air. Not even about the latest taxi strike even though parts of it may be related to the same. No, now it’s all about the foreigners, more specifically the Russians, that are stealing business from locals. Hawking, the taxi business and other jobs in between.
Foreigners vs. Locals
This season alone, 3 foreigners were caught for hawking in Arambol and Morjim. One was a couple, a husband and wife duo that were fined a total of Rs. 10000. The other was fined Rs. 20000.They were fined under Section 26 of the Goa, Daman, and Diu Regulation of Tourism and Trade Act. According to an official from the Tourism department, the quantum of the fine is based on the gravity of the violation.
Each year, there are many foreigners caught for illegal business activities in the state. In 2014, 4 foreigners on tourist visas were caught and fined Rs. 2000 each.
The next year, 9 more were nabbed and penalized, each having to pay hefty fines as well.
Sources say that the number of tourists indulging in business, which is usually of the illegal variety, is a high one. The authorities are unable to keep a tab on them.
Trouble in Pernem
The beaches in Pernem taluka, North Goa, are the most troubled. Arambol and Morjim have the most number of Russian and Kazakh tourists that get into business while in the state. Thanks to this, the locals say that they are losing business.
The police have investigated complaints that they keep receiving. Pernem PI Suresh Chodankar stated, “We write to the FRRO whenever foreigners are arrested for violations of visa conditions.”
Perhaps, at this point, the most common complaint from taxi operators in Pernem is that there are some Russians operating taxis of their own in an illegal capacity.
However, as the police say, it’s not easy to that it is not easy to prove such cases as there is no ban on either driving or riding by foreigners. “The complaints received, nonetheless, are investigated,” said Chodankar.
Other locals also complain that Russian tourists in Arambol and Morjim operate guesthouses.
“Russian tourists function in that fashion. It is an open secret,” said a local.
Information credit – TOI